The stat trotted out most often during bowl season, regardless of the school, is a program’s record in bowls. Whether or not the Huskers won the 1962 Gotham Bowl, a game played five years before Bo Pelini was even born, has no effect on this year’s game.
But not all bowl history is relegated to trivia and tailgate trash talk. Recent bowl history, especially when the current players and coaches are involved, can indicate how the players might perform on January 1.
With this year’s seniors, Pelini is 1-2, having won the 2009 Holiday Bowl before dropping the 2010 Holiday Bowl and last season’s Capital One Bowl. RB Rex Burkhead is looking to end his Husker career on a high note and rewrite the bad memories of last year’s loss, despite having a game-high 89 yards against South Carolina. He is coming of a limited but strong Big Ten Championship Game effort where he averaged 5.5 yards per carry.
For Martinez, bowl games have been a frustrating experience. The junior signal caller is 0-2 in the postseason, and has struggled to have much of an impact in either loss. Still, 2012 has been a breakout year for Martinez. While he struggled statistically in the Big Ten Championship Game, he still managed to be a significant bright spot in an otherwise dismal game for Nebraska. If he can ride that momentum to a big performance, the Huskers could surprise SEC fans.
Overall, Bo Pelini is 3-2 in bowl games, but has lost the last two. Both losses have been close games, at least until late. Last year’s loss to South Carolina could worry Huskers fans after being outscored 14-0 in the second half, but Pelini will have his team prepared for their second appearance in Orlando.
All things considered, recent history says the Huskers are due. Even recent Capital One Bowl history says the Big Ten is due, with the last two (or last three, skipping Penn State’s forfeited 2010 win) going to the SEC. Still, the game isn’t played on paper or in the history books. We won’t know for sure until the final whistle blows on January 1, 2013. Until then, chin up, Nebraska fan. You’ve got a darn good shot at this one.
By the way, Nebraska won the 1962 Gotham Bowl. Husker fans, don’t forget to use that one when bragging at the tailgate.