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A new year, a new start


February 20. 2013 12:21AM
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ORLANDO, Fla. — No. 6 Georgia and No. 23 Nebraska will both be trying to outrun their recent past during their matchup in the New Year's Day Capital One Bowl.


The Bulldogs know they can't erase the sting of their disappointing SEC championship game loss to Alabama with a victory over the Cornhuskers today.


Likewise, the Cornhuskers know they won't be able to get over their lopsided 70-31 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game with just a single postseason victory.


Georgia coach Mark Richt says he wants the game to be a celebration for a senior class that has a chance to become only the third team in program history to record 12 victories.


Nebraska is trying for its first 11-win season since 2001, as both teams try to snap two-game bowl losing streaks.


Orange Bowl

MIAMI — Florida State's biggest weakness heading into their Orange Bowl game against Northern Illinois might be Midwestern geography.


The Seminoles concede they'd be hard-pressed to locate their opponent in an atlas.


Cue the cliche: A victory Tuesday night would put Northern Illinois on the map. The No. 16-ranked Huskies have been widely derided as unworthy of a BCS bowl berth, which makes them eager for validation when they face No. 13 Florida State.


Northern Illinois (12-1) is the first Mid-American Conference team to play in the Bowl Championship Series. The Huskies made it when they cracked the top 16 in the final standings by 0.0404 points.


Until kickoff, it's impossible to know how seriously Florida State (11-2) will take a supposedly unimposing opponent.


Rose Bowl

PASADENA, Calif. — Seven years after Barry Alvarez left the Wisconsin sideline, he's getting one more shot at the Rose Bowl.


The longtime Badgers coach says he can't provide any master game plan to beat No. 8 Stanford (11-2) in Wisconsin's third straight trip to Pasadena.


Instead, Alvarez's players say he offers perspective, inspiration and even a little swagger while he bridges Wisconsin's one-game gap between Bret Bielema and Gary Andersen.


The Badgers (8-5) hope it's enough to knock off the favored Cardinal.


Alvarez built Wisconsin's long-mediocre program into a consistent winner, exactly what Stanford coach David Shaw is accomplishing in the Bay Area.


The Cardinal won the Pac-12 title to advance to their third straight BCS bowl, a once-unthinkable feat at the academic-minded school. Stanford hasn't won the Rose Bowl since 1972.


Gator Bowl

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Just getting to a bowl game no longer matters to Northwestern.


The 21st-ranked Wildcats want to win one and end a decades-long losing streak.


Northwestern (9-3) hasn't won a bowl since beating Cal in the 1949 Rose Bowl. The Wildcats have dropped nine in a row since, matching the longest streak in NCAA history.


They get a chance to avoid extending the mark Tuesday against Mississippi State (8-4) in the Gator Bowl.


Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald says winning a bowl game is the next step in where we want to go as a program.


Northwestern has come close the last four years, losing twice in overtime and once by a touchdown.


The Bulldogs, meanwhile, have won five consecutive bowls — the longest current streak in the country.


Outback Bowl

TAMPA, Fla. — South Carolina's Connor Shaw and Michigan's Devin Gardner will start at quarterback in the Outback Bowl, however that doesn't mean Dylan Thompson and Denard Robinson won't play meaningful roles in the New Year's Day matchup.


Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier reiterated Monday that Shaw will be under center after sitting out his team's regular season finale against Clemson, a game in which Thompson made his second career start and showed he's more than capable of running the offense and winning games.


Wolverines coach Brady Hoke, meanwhile, is sticking with the plan Michigan has followed since Robinson injured his right elbow in late October, with Gardner playing quarterback instead of receiver and Robinson primarily contributing in ways that doesn't require him to throw the ball.


Today's Bowl Schedule


Heart of Dallas Bowl


Purdue (6-6) vs. Oklahoma State (7-5), Noon (ESPNU)



Gator Bowl


Mississippi State (8-4) vs. Northwestern (9-3), Noon (ESPN2)



Capital One Bowl


Georgia (11-2) vs. Nebraska (10-3), 1 p.m. (ABC)



Outback Bowl


South Carolina (10-2) vs. Michigan (8-4), 1 p.m. (ESPN)



Rose Bowl


Stanford (11-2) vs. Wisconsin (8-5), 5 p.m. (ESPN)



Orange Bowl


Northern Illinois (12-1) vs. Florida State (11-2), 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)





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