Capital One Bowl Preview: Michigan State Vs. Georgia

Jason FunkContributor IDecember 22, 2008

The college football bowl season is underway, and there are many intriguing games to come, but I would like to focus on the Capital One Bowl.

Michigan State and Georgia will travel to Orlando to battle for the Capital One Bowl. Neither team expected to be in this bowl in August.

Michigan State was not at all expecting a New Year’s Day bowl, and Georgia had National title hopes, as the Bulldogs were a preseason number one.

Let's take a look at all of the matchups that will take place.



Both teams have good quarterbacks, but only one team has a great quarterback, and it's Georgia.

Matthew Stafford has been the man in Georgia for three seasons now. This season was his best yet.

He threw for 3,209 yards and 22 touchdowns with an incredible 153.2 passer rating.

Michigan State's Brian Hoyer gets far fewer attempts than Stafford but has thrown eight interceptions compared to Stafford's nine. Hoyer also has a mediocre 113.9 passer rating.

No contest, Georgia wins this one.


Running Backs

This is probably the most interesting matchup on the field with two of the nation's best backs squaring off.

Knowshon Moreno and Javon Ringer are both well-rounded backs. They both have incredible speed, while both can still put their shoulder down and run between the tackles.

The thing that sets them apart is the number of carries Ringer has gotten. Ringer averages almost 31 carries per game, while Moreno gets the ball 19 times per game.

If this game is close late in the game, Ringer is going to be able to give Michigan State more solid carries in the fourth quarter, so the Spartans take this one.



Georgia has so many weapons on the outside, they could start a nuclear war.

Their speed is sure to be unmatched by the Spartans. A.J. Green and Mohamed Massaquoi both had over 900 yards receiving and nine touchdowns each.

Michigan State just doesn't have the talent of Georgia. Blair White and Mark Dell have been good targets for Hoyer, but they lack the big play ability that Georgia has.

Georgia takes another one.



In these SEC vs. Big Ten bowl games, everyone wants to talk about the speed disparity in favor of the SEC.

Michigan State's defense can run with Georgia. Their front seven is one of the most athletic in the country, with a very fast linebacker corps.

Georgia's defense had the opportunity to play against far superior offenses this year than the offenses Michigan State faced.

Michigan State played stingy defense against lower competition, but against the powers of the Big Ten (Ohio State and Penn State), they gave up an average of 47 points in those games.

Georgia appears to have a better offense than those teams, so it will be interesting to see if the Spartan defense will be up to the challenge.

Georgia gets the nod on defense.


The Pick

Michigan State has had a very good year and has shown that the program is headed in the right direction, but still hasn’t proven that they can hang with the big dogs.

Georgia is a big dog. They have the tools to carve up the Spartans, and I expect them to.

Georgia wins 38-17.