It is official, the Dawgs will head to Memphis to take on Conference USA Champion Central Florida in the Liberty Bowl. For the second straight season, a team with the same record whom Georgia beat is getting a better bowl game (this year, it is Tennessee getting picked for the Music City. Last year, it was Auburn in the Outback). But a chance to play a conference champion may actually be a better stepping stone for Georgia headed into next season. Beating a 10-3 conference champion (as opposed to a 7-5 North Carolina team) and following that up with an opening game victory over Boise State next fall could definitely help point Georgia back in the right direction.
As we all know, Central Florida (or UCF as they preferred to be called) is coached by former Georgia Tech coach George O'Leary. The same O'Leary who was hired to coach Notre Dame and was fired a few days later for lying on his resume. O'Leary has done a good job in Orlando, taking a team that has only been in Division I for 15 years to conference championships in two of the last four seasons.
While short on history, Central Florida has had a few memorable players come through in recent years. Their most famous alum is Daunte Culpepper, who broke the NFL single season total yards record in 2004 with 5,123 yards. Asante Samuel and Brandon Marshall also played at UCF during the early 2000's. The Knights' most recent star was current Detroit Lions running back Kevin Smith, who in 2007 rushed for 2566 yards, just 62 yards shy of Barry Sanders' single season NCAA record.
Over the next few weeks, we will look deeper at the Black Knights as we preview Georgia's 2010 bowl game.