The Capital One Bowl promises to be one of the most competitive bowl games of the season this year when the Michigan State Spartans meet the Alabama Crimson Tide in Orlando on January 1st.
For the Crimson Tide, this has to be a disappointing conclusion to a season in which anything less than a BCS bowl berth was going to be considered a failure. Alabama, who started the season at the No. 1 ranking, could not win the close games this season, losing three games to SEC opponents South Carolina, LSU and Auburn.
Michigan State, on the other hand, was surprised by a season that found the Spartans in a three-way tie atop the Big Ten with the Ohio State Buckeyes and Wisconsin Badgers. Unfortunately for the Spartans, Wisconsin and Ohio State were chosen as representatives from the Big Ten in the BCS bowl games (the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl). Still, considering Michigan State started the season unranked, the season must be considered a great success and the Capital One Bowl a terrific achievement.
Here are 10 things to know about the first bowl game of 2011: