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January 2, 2012

College Football Report - 2011 Bowl Picks - Outback Bowl:

Outback Bowl

#17 Michigan State (10-3) vs. #16 Georgia (10-3)

V S.

1 PM, ABC, Monday, Jan. 2, Tampa, FL

Why Watch: Watch as both the Spartans and Bulldogs look to slap the nasty taste of embarrassing bowl losses from last season out of their mouths. The Spartans are chasing back-to-back 11 win seasons, while the Bulldogs go after their first 11 win season since 2007. MSU and Georgia hold two top five nationally ranked defenses.

Who to Watch: The Bulldogs were able to rip off 10 straight wins before meeting LSU in the SEC title game, thanks much in part to the maturing and stellar play of quarterback Aaron Murray. The sophomore single caller has been helped along by the maturation of another Bulldog, junior tight end Orson Charles. A top recruit out of high school, Charles hit his stride this season, bringing in 44 catches for 572 yards and five scores. After the loss of linebackers Greg Jones and Eric Gordon, linebacker wasn’t supposed to be a strong point of this Spartans team. Denicos Allen changed that notion, though. The 5-foot-10 sophomore finished second on the team with 78 stops, including 17 behind the line. Allen also led the team with 10 sacks.

How it’s Going Down: Expect a lot of fire and passion out of each team early, and possibly some mistakes because of it. When things settle down, the nation will get a chance to see two of the best defenses in the country. The Bulldogs, ranked No. 3 in total defense, have shut opponents down to 268 yards a game. The Spartans, who hold the No. 5 ranked total defense nationally, surrender just 17 points an outing. Neither team will really give the other an inch to breath offensively. When it comes down to it, however, the Spartans have been able to put up points against some top defensive units, including 30 plus twice against Wisconsin, 37 against Iowa and 28 against Michigan. Led by senior quarterback Kirk Cousins, MSU will find a way to piece things together in a gritty, and unglamorous, game. Pick: Michigan State 23 – Georgia 19

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