Neb fans on Georgia rematch: Been there, done that

The Gator Bowl appears to be a tough sell to Nebraska fans.

A season that fell short of expectations will end New Year’s Day

in Jacksonville, Fla., with a game against No. 23 Georgia, the same

team that beat the Cornhuskers a year ago in the Capital One

Bowl.

The matchup has elicited little more than a shrug.

”Everybody is looking forward to next year,” said Steve Glenn,

a walk-on offensive lineman for the Huskers in the 1970s who now

runs a Lincoln travel agency. ”I think people are ready to be done

with this season.”

Glenn is selling a Gator Bowl package that includes a 137-seat

charter flight. As of Tuesday, he said, fewer than a dozen seats

had been filled.

Folks in the travel business used to be inundated with calls in

the 24 hours after the bowl matchup was announced. The annual Big

Red migration has slowed considerably since the Huskers began

slipping in the college football hierarchy.

Mike’l Severe, who co-hosts an afternoon sports radio show in

Omaha, said the Gator Bowl didn’t generate much discussion Monday,

a day after the bowl lineup was rolled out. The listeners he heard

from were unhappy the Huskers had to play the same opponent. They

also had hoped to go to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe,

Ariz., where the Huskers would have played old Big 12 rival Kansas

State.

The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl picked ahead of the Gator Bowl and

chose a Michigan team that lost to Nebraska and had one fewer

win.

It’s been a rocky year for the Huskers, who went 8-4 against

what was supposed to be a favorable schedule. Injuries to

quarterback Taylor Martinez and the offensive line took a toll, and

coach Bo Pelini was dogged by speculation that his job was in

jeopardy.

Georgia, like Nebraska, went 8-4 and struggled with injuries.

Aaron Murray, who threw for more than 400 yards and five touchdowns

in a 45-31 win over Nebraska last year, won’t play because of a

knee injury.

The Peach State’s reaction to the matchup also was less than

enthusiastic, said David Johnston, who hosts a morning sports radio

show in Athens, Ga.

”It’s good it’s a New Year’s Day bowl game,” Johnston said,

”but there was more of an interest in playing Nebraska last

year.”

Each school has a ticket allotment of 12,750, about the same as

for the Capital One Bowl last year. Nebraska sold about 4,000

tickets for that game and Georgia more than 10,000.

The Nebraska Alumni Association is selling a Gator Bowl package

that covers hotel, game ticket, ground transportation and

activities. No air transportation will be provided for the first

time since the 2007 Cotton Bowl because of the high cost, said

Shannon Sherman, senior director for communications.

Sherman said she expects alumni from Florida, Georgia and South

Carolina to show up in high numbers.

The Georgia Alumni Association is not offering a travel package

but will be coordinating ”watch parties” across the nation, said

assistant director of communications Elizabeth Elmore.

Bulldogs fans already know their way around Jacksonville. They

travel there en masse every year for the game against Florida,

dubbed the ”World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” Mary Daniel,

president of the 1,000-member Georgia Bulldog Club of Jacksonville,

said if the annual Florida game registers a 10 on the excitement

scale, the needle for the rematch with Nebraska sits at a 6 or

7.

”I think it’ll raise up to an 8 once we let it sink in,”

Daniel said. ”It’s not what we thought it would be, but it’s a

bowl game. You hear teasing around here that Florida would take the

Gator Bowl all day long.”