#19 Wisconsin (9-3, 6-2 B1G) vs #9 South Carolina (10-2, 6-2 SEC)
The Capital One Bowl is one of the oldest and most prestigious of the non-BCS bowls. Originally known as the Tangerine Bowl, the game was first played in 1947 in front of a crowd of about 9,000 (which seems like about the number of people who watch some of the lesser bowls we have today such as the Idaho Potato Bowl). The bowl didn’t start out very prestigious, originally featuring matchups between schools in the South, the game often featured the Ohio Valley Conference champion and other small colleges though major schools would occasionally feature in the game. Being in the South, the bowl followed along the racist trends of the region at that time and prohibited African Americans from participating in the game. This resulted in boycotts of the game by Hillsdale in 1955 and Buffalo in 1958; Morgan State would become the first historically black college to play in the game in 1966.
From 1968 to 1975 the Tangerine Bowl featured the MAC champion versus the champion of the Southern Conference or the SEC. As time went on the game began to feature more prestigious matchups as the major conference began to allow more of their teams to play in bowl games. Renamed the Citrus Bowl in 1983, the game jumped a lot in prestige as it signed an agreement to pit the ACC champion against an at-large opponent from 1987 to 1991. Its prestige grew even more after the 1991 game which saw Georgia Tech defeat Nebraska to finish 11-0-1 and be named the national champion by UPI.
Renamed as the Capital One Bowl in 2003, marking the start of the bowls completely selling out on naming rights, the game now features a matchup between the Big Ten and the SEC, earning the first pick of teams from each conference after the BCS games. The game is played at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando. Over the past decade the stadium has drawn a lot of criticism due to its poor condition and lack of modern facilities which likely resulted in it not being included in the upcoming college football playoff system. After years of delays and debate, the stadium will finally undergo an almost complete reconstruction in 2014.
The cavalcade of college football continues with our newest besties from Lincoln.
The Basics: Tuesday, January 2, 2012, 1:00 PM EST on ESPN, from Orlando. Nebraska (9-3, 5-3 B1G) and South Carolina (10-2, 6-2 SEC).
History: If this is finally the Capital One bowl, can we get the “Capital One Bowl Week” commercials to stop now? This SEC/BIG matchup has seen PSU/LSU in 2009 and MSU/Bama in 2010… and now those two SEC teams are now in the BCS game. Proud.
South Carolina: The year started out with high expectations, but the loss of running back Marcus Lattimore derailed that a bit- although they’re still averaging 198 yards per game on the ground. Their defense is only giving up 18.8 points a game, thanks in part to the most awesome high school athlete I’ve ever seen being a freshman on the Gamecock defensive line. They barely lost to Auburn, were blown out by Arkansas, and ended the season with a huge victory over Clemson. Oh, and they’re also currently under NCAA investigation and stuff; but I’m guessing you’ll never hear anything about that on eSECpn’s coverage of this match up.
Nebraska: We’re all too familiar with the Children of the Corn, although this version will be somewhat different since Carl Pelini now is a big fan of the state of Florida. Big Red is 14th in the country in rushing yardage, thanks to the two headed attack of Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead… however, Martinez’ leadership has only accounted for 166.6 yards of total offense. Their biggest win, unfortunately, was against the Buckeyes… they were blown out in Ann Arbor. Work with me, won’t you?
Fun Facts. We’re not going to talk about the last time each team met Ohio State… instead, let’s remind everyone that this game culminates the super awesome Capital One Mascot Challenge, which is probably more exciting to some folks than to others. While we’re at it, can we also acknowledge who the most talented member of Capital One’s commercial campaign is?
Who we got?