The music blaring before Georgia’s first preseason scrimmage back in August was Will Smith singing, “I’m going to Miami,” appropriate for the Bulldogs’ national title focus.
Cue up “When You Wish Upon a Star,” from those Super Bowl commercials (and Pinocchio).
Georgia is going to the Capital One Bowl to play Big Ten runner-up Nebraska in Orlando.
Disney World and the other attractions beckon before the Jan 1 game.
A little more than 25 hours after Georgia came just five yards from getting to the national title game in the 32-28 loss to Alabama in the SEC title game, Bulldogs coach Mark Richt was on a bowl teleconference talking about the next game.
He reflected on the last one that will certainly linger.
“You know what? We spent ourselves in a worthy cause,” Richt said. “We of course wanted to play for the national championship. We knew we were just a couple of yards away, maybe a couple of seconds away or a tipped ball away or however you want to say it. We were at least in position to win it. It was heartbreaking, no doubt. We were all highly, highly hurt by it. …We just came up short. It’s one of those games where either team could have won. You’ve got to kind of get over the heartbreak of that and I’ve always had the ability to understand what the reality is and move on.”
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity put it this way: “I know we’re all still hurting a little bit right now, but the sun came up this morning and there’s nothing we can do about it, but learn from it and move forward.”
Richt said Georgia coaches are on the road recruiting and getting back to work.
“Now we know we’re going to be in Orlando at the Capital One Bowl, we’re going to play Nebraska so we’ve got a new goal in sight,” Richt said. “We’re excited to try to try and get 12 wins. That’s a big part of what we’re going to try to get done.”
Capital One Bowl CEO Steve Hogan said Nebraska wanted to return to the game for a second straight season. It lost to South Carolina last season 30-13.
He said athletic director Tom Osborne called and told the bowl that the Cornhuskers wanted another trip.
“Those guys want to play the best available and Georgia’s the best available you’re going to find pretty much anywhere in the country if you’re not one of the best two teams,” Hogan said.
Said Cornhuskers coach Bo Pelini: “I know they’re going to be athletic. I know they’re going to be physical and obviously they’re going to be well-coached. I think coach Richt does a great job. They’re going to challenge us across the board in every way. They’re a very talented team.”
Richt indicated Georgia will hold a “short, sweet” practice on Saturday morning during what’s a big recruiting weekend with the team’s annual banquet being held.
Bowl practices are expected to begin when final exams wrap up on Dec. 12.Georgiawill hold 12 to 15 total, including in Orlando after arriving on Dec. 26.
Pelini said Nebraska will practice a couple of times at the end of this week, break for finals and then resume practices on campus. It also will probably get to Orlando on Dec. 26.
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