This season, pick who you think will win the Capital One Bowl Game of the Week and WIN! Answer the question on the Capital One Bowl Facebook page before Saturday’s game. If you pick correctly, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win two tickets to the Capital One Bowl on January 2, 2012!
Georgia leads series 1-0 (last meeting: Sept. 3, 2005: Georgia 48, Boise State 13)
The 2011-12 college football season kicks off this Saturday, and Atlanta’s Georgia Dome hosts one of the most intriguing games of the opening weekend and one of only two that pair Top 25 teams according to the preseason USA Today Coaches’ Poll. The no. 7 Boise State Broncos make a cross-country trek to meet the no. 22 Georgia Bulldogs, who travel just up the road from Athens, in the fourth annual Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.
Last year, Boise State took a similar long-distance trip to Washington D.C. to play Virginia Tech, and the thrilling 33-30 win sparked the team to make a run at being the first non-automatic qualifier to play for a national championship in the BCS era. A Thanksgiving overtime loss at Nevada dashed those hopes, but Boise returns with the same hope (and the same hype) in 2011, thanks to Heisman contender Kellen Moore. The senior quarterback led the nation in passer rating in 2010 (besting future Heisman winner and #1 overall draft pick Cam Newton), completing 71.3% of his passes with 35 touchdowns against six interceptions. Moore was just as good on the road as he was on Boise’s trademark blue turf, and head coach Chris Petersen will rely on his leadership to pick up a critical win in a hostile environment.
The Bulldogs will trot out a star quarterback of their own on Saturday, as redshirt sophomore Aaron Murray begins his second season under center. Alphabetically, Murray sits just one spot below Moore on many preseason watch lists, including the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award and Manning Award. He’ll be looking to lead Georgia to a hotter start than last season, when the team sputtered to 1-4 out of the gate and finished with a losing record (6-7) for the first time in Mark Richt’s decade as head coach. With #12 South Carolina visiting Athens a week later to open SEC play, the Dawgs need to build momentum to contend in the SEC East this season.
The game will fall six years to the day from their only previous meeting, when then-no. 18 Boise State stepped “between the hedges” at Sanford Stadium and was summarily thumped by then-no. 13 Georgia. It was the first national spotlight game for the Broncos, but the program was a world away from the revered underdog that will take the field in Nike Pro Combat uniforms this weekend.
Extra Points: The Bulldogs (who will be sporting some fancy Nike duds of their own) have appeared in the Capital One Bowl twice during Richt’s tenure (2003 and 2008) and they opened both seasons with a win.
Ready to make your pick? Head over to the Capital One Bowl Facebook page, answer the latest Question and you could win two tickets to the game!