Gamecocks invited to prestigious Orlando-based game
At about 8:15 p.m. on Sunday, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier's cell phone rang. On the other end were representatives from the Capital One Bowl, calling to inform him his No. 10 Gamecocks were being invited to the game to face 21st-ranked Nebraska.
After that, Spurrier said the decision was pretty easy.
"We certainly accepted," he said. "We're excited to be going to this bowl.
"A lot of teams and coaches and players think this is one of the best bowl trips in the country, as far as the opportunity to go to Disney World and all the attractions in the Orlando area. So we'll look forward to it."
USC (10-2) will now pursue its school record 11th win of the season against the Cornhuskers on Jan. 2 in Orlando, Fla., in front of a national television on ESPN. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. at the Citrus Bowl.
"Of course, our team has a lot to play for," Spurrier said. "We may have as much to play for as any team in the country in going to a bowl game, with maybe the exception of the national championship game."
Nebraska (9-3) just completed its first season in the Big Ten. The Cornhuskers are the fourth-winningest college football program in history. b
"They're a tough bunch. We all know the history of Nebraska football," Spurrier said. "They're one of the really super tradition universities for college football in the nation. They will come to play. We know that."
USC quarterback Connor Shaw said the chance to play Nebraska is an exciting one.
"When you think of Nebraska, you think of tradition," he said. "They used to be a powerhouse, and still are. We're looking forward to it."
USC is 4-12 all-time in bowl games and 1-4 under Spurrier. The Gamecocks have lost three straight bowl games by a combined score of 77-34. But Carolina feels that, given the stakes of an 11th win as well as a greater sense of team maturity, it will be prepared for this postseason date.
"We have a lot to play for," Shaw said. "We'll be ready."