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January 1, 2011

College Football Bowl Picks - Capital One Bowl:

Capital One Bowl

Michigan State (11-1) vs. Alabama (9-3)


1 PM, ESPN, Dec. 1, Orlando, FL

Why Watch: The Spartans wanted a BCS Bowl, they didn’t get it. They did however get the other best team not playing in a BCS game and last year’s National Champion. There’s no shortage of talent or players capable of winning a big game on Alabama’s roster and a 9-3 record greatly under-showcases the ability of this Tide team. Michigan State has struggled down the stretch to end 2010, but they’re not alone, the Tide is fresh off of blowing a 24 point lead to rival Auburn.

Who to Watch: For Michigan State to win the game, they’re going to have to get their bread and butter going; their rushing game. In the early half of the season, running backs Edwin Baker and Le’Veon Bell carried the Spartans to wins. In the later half, they seemed to abandon the run. Baker, a sophomore, brought in over 1,100 yards and 13 scores on the year. For Alabama, whose roster is basically a first round wish list, watch defensive lineman Marcell Dareus. A future first round pick, Dareus is the clog to the ‘Bama defense and takes up a lot of blockers in the running game. He can also rush the passer very well.

How it’s Going Down: The game feels more unevenly matched than it really is. The Alabama name overlaps Michigan State, without a doubt, but make no mistake about it, the Spartans are a hell of a good football team this season. Kirk Cousins will have his work cut out for him if the Tide shuts down the Spartans ground game, though. Struggling against Northwestern, Purdue and Iowa is a lot different than struggling against Alabama in a bowl game. I just don’t know if MSU has enough mustard to hang with the Tide. They’re on their way, though. Pick: Alabama 33 – Michigan State 23

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