JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—A Happy 2014 to you from EverBank Field, where we’re pretty sure that Will Muschamp won’t lose today. I know, cheap shot.
Yes, it’s strange to be here for something other than Georgia-Florida.
The Bulldogs start the new year with Nebraska. Just like 2013.
It will be interesting to see how many fans are in the stands for this Gator Bowl. Not much tailgating outside when I arrived, but there was some light rain in the area.
The setup is like it is for a Jaguars game, which means a smaller capacity than for the Cocktail Party. The “Georgia” paint job in one end zone didn’t quite cover up the “Jacksonville Jaguars” below it.
Rain was in the forecast, but that looks better now.
The forecast calls for a 15 percent chance of rain starting at 2 p.m., but it looks like the wet stuff will hold off until about 4 p.m.
You might be tired from too much partying last night or maybe you were woken up, too, by in the early morning by someone yelling in a hotel hallway: “Go Big Red!”
Georgia seems to have gotten over the disappointment of playing Nebraska for the second straight bowl.
“It’s kind of nice to play in a stadium you’re familiar with,” tight end Arthur Lynch said. “The atmosphere is always great here in Jacksonville. Obviously it’s different when you play Georgia-Florida, but we’re playing in a professional stadium against a team we’re somewhat familiar with from last year. It’s a kind of rematch I’m excited for and I think everyone else is as well.”
Safety Corey Moore said: “We’re pretty used to the field. I’m pretty pumped because I’ve never played against Nebraska and Nebraska’s going to come in with a chip on their shoulder.”
Receiver Michael Bennett said: “I love playing against the Gators there every year. The biggest cocktail party. There’s not a better atmosphere.”
—-Some pregame items:
–The officiating crew working the game is from the Pac-12 conference. Feel free to chime in if you know the work of referee Mike Batlan and company.
–What’s the motivation for Georgia? Good question. Here’s what defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said: “Like I was telling them we’ve got a chance to win 31 games for these seniors over the last three years, which I don’t think’s been done very much and send them off the right way.”
–Garrison Smith threw some praise the way of Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah: “He’s muscular, a rock solid dude, a really tough physical runner….He’s got great vision, he can cut back. It’s just going to be a challenge trying to face him. We’ve got our hands full. We’ve got to bring our A game.”
–According to the Gator Bowl’s Twitter feed, looks like Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be doing the coin flip. His tie-in is sponsorship from TaxSlayer.com.
–As expected. Chris Conley looks good to go after spraining an ankle during bowl practices in Jacksonville.
–Aaron Murray, who wasn’t at the Georgia Tech game the same weeks as his ACL surgery, is on the field during pregame, wearning jeans and a jacket.
–The rain is coming down now at 11:40. We’ll see how long that lasts. More probably coming later.
–Check back for more leading up to kickoff.
–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer