Don’t laugh as you read this – this year’s Cap One Bowl is a big game for Georgia. Lose to Nebraska and all that momentum that’s been building since the Cocktail Party – even through the SECCG loss – dissipates like a fart in the wind.
On paper, Georgia is the better team. But as we’ve seen with this program, paper isn’t what bowl games are won on. They’re won on being the more motivated squad. That’s Mark Richt’s Job One over the next three weeks. The good news is that he sounds aware of it.
“I will be challenging our leadership to finish better than we did a year ago and to solidify the job that they’ve done, because I think they’ve done an outstanding job to this point. I think they need to put an exclamation point on it or at least finish strong in a manner worthy of the way they led the entire offseason from January until now. That will be a big part of it.”
The Alabama game was both a blessing and a curse. It let these players and coaches know that the program once again had the mental and emotional backbone to stand up and play an Alabama group that’s been the class of college football over the past four years to a virtual dead heat. But the way that game ended had to take some wind out of their
sales sails. Somehow, they’ve all got to find a way to put the disappointment behind them – easier said than done, I know – and recognize what they’ve got left to play for in the bowl game.
Win it, and win it convincingly, and you can point to yourself as a legitimate, elite program. You’re back. In that sense, it’s the bookend to the 2006 Sugar Bowl loss, when we first started getting a real vibe that there was slippage under Richt. Lose this game, or even win a sloppy struggle and that message is muddied at best and disregarded at worst.
“Me, personally, I just want to win a bowl game,” Murray said with a laugh. “I haven’t won one as a starter, so I know I’m going to be working extremely hard to win this game. And this senior class has just meant so much for this program, for bringing us back to where Georgia needs to be. I know myself and all the other underclassmen want to send them off on the right note.”
Said senior linebacker Christian Robinson: “Yeah, we were five yards away from being somewhere else. But let’s not show that we’re not worthy of it by not finishing.”
It’s a big game.