Alabama Crimson Tide
(9-3, 7-5 ATS)
Michigan State Spartans
(11-1, 7-5 ATS)
The Michigan State Spartans had an absolutely fantastic season this year, and though they aren’t rewarded with a BCS bowl game this year, they are going to get a BCS atmosphere in the Capital One Bowl against the defending BCS National Champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide on New Year’s Day.
The Spartans were just fantastic all season long, and it’s hard to think that this team committed the blunder of losing to the Iowa Hawkeyes, or they would be in Pasadena right now. Still, hanging out in the Sunshine State just a few miles away from Disney isn’t all that bad. The offense really isn’t all that fantastic, but it is definitely well rounded. QB Kirk Cousins threw for 2,705 yards and 20 TDs this year, while RB Edwin Baker made for a fantastic power rusher with 1,187 yards and 13 TDs. Head Coach Mark Dantonio really pulled out the stops all season long. Who could forget the “Little Giants” play in which he faked a field goal in overtime against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to come up with the win? We can’t forget about the defense either, as this unit held teams to just 329.8 yards and 20.1 points per game this year, respectable numbers, especially considering how rugged the Big Ten schedule really was this year. Only three foes scored in the 30s all year on this defense, and this unit kept teams like the Michigan Wolverines (17), Illinois Fighting Illini (6), and Wisconsin Badgers (24) in check.
The Crimson Tide are still the champs of college football until January 10th, and they are going to try to carry that moniker well into the Capital One Bowl in spite of the fact that they had a disappointing season by their standards. This is still an offense that has the talent to play with any team in the country. We have to remember that this was a team that jumped out on top of the Auburn Tigers and absolutely posted one of the more dominating halves of football that we have ever seen in the Iron Bowl. QB Greg McElroy threw for 2,767 yards and 19 TDs this year, and he did a fantastic job hooking up with WR Julio Jones all season long. Jones had 75 catches for 1,084 yards and seven TDs, and he was one of the best receivers that the SEC had to offer. We still have talked about the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, RB Mark Ingram, who rumbled for 816 yards and visited the end zone 11 times in an injury plagued campaign. The defense was shoddy at times, but when push came to shove, the Tide only allowed 14.1 points per game, good enough to rank No. 5 in the land.
Michigan State knows that this is a winnable game, but it also knows that it can get trampled if it isn’t careful. The Spartans might keep this one close for awhile, but when push really comes to shove, they aren’t going to be able to hang within double digits as long as the Crimson Tide really have the desire to show up in full force in this one.
Capital One Bowl Free Pick: Alabama Crimson Tide -10