Ready for kickoff

After plenty of time to prepare, Outback Bowl competitors ready to finally hit the field

TAMPA, Fla. — When there is this long to forecast a game, some themes inevitably repeat themselves. So it is with the Georgia Bulldogs and Wisconsin Badgers, who have not played a game in more than a month and have been talking about playing each other in the Outback Bowl for weeks.

Georgia last played Nov. 27, a 19-13 win over Georgia Tech. Wisconsin last took the field Nov. 20, a 30-7 loss to Iowa. By Saturday's 11 a.m. Eastern kickoff, 42 days will have passed since the Badgers' last game, 35 since the Bulldogs last played.

"It is time to get ready to play," Georgia coach Mark Richt said Friday. "Started feeling it yesterday. I think the players are beginning to realize that it's time for business."

Speed sequel

One of the consistent motifs this week has been comparisons between the Big Ten and the SEC. Those comparisons often lead to questions about Wisconsin's speed relative to the SEC and Georgia in particular.

During Friday's pre-game press conference, Badger coach Barry Alvarez had about had enough.

"Everybody wants to compare leagues and conferences and…I think just throwing the word speed around is overused," Alvarez said.

Alvarez compared Georgia's speed to that of the Auburn team Wisconsin faced in last year's Music City Bowl. That game was tied 14-14 before Auburn scored two rushing touchdowns in the final four minutes. That Auburn team finished 8-5 but is undefeated (12-0) and ranked No. 3 in the nation this year

"I really thought a year ago they were very close to being an elite team," Alvarez said. "I think the difference in their team from last year to this year is probably the play of the quarterback. But I didn't think that their speed had anything to do with that game. We didn't make plays down the stretch."

"I was disappointed we didn't win that game," Alvarez said. "I didn't think that speed was a factor. Our guys run pretty well too."

"I think it's overused," Alvarez said later in the press conference. "The word speed is overused. There is a lot of skill involved and being physical is important. It is not just the fast guys against the slow guys. It is not that simple."

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