Capital One Bowl Preview: Georgia vs. Michigan State

The Dead Guy SECAnalyst IDecember 30, 2008

(#16, #17) Georgia (9-3) vs (#19,#19) Michigan State (9-3)
Capital One Bowl
Orlando, FL
January 1, 11:00 AM

All Time Series: Georgia 1-0
All Time Bowl Records: Georgia 24-16-3, Michigan State 7-11
Monday’s Line: Georgia -7.5

Total Offense, Scoring Offense (National Rank):
Michigan State: 352.4 ypg (67th), 26.2 ppg (56th)
Georgia: 433.9ypg (20th), 32.1 ppg (29th)

Total Defense, Scoring Defense (National Rank):
Michigan State: 357.9 ypg (61st), 21.9 ppg (40th)
Georgia: 318.3 ypg (28th), 25.6 ppg (63rd)

We’re four games into the SEC Bowl slate and finally a favorable matchup for the SEC. While Georgia certainly has fallen short of preseason expectations, this is still a remarkably talented team that’s capable of beating anyone in the country on any given day.

Michigan State is a something of a surprise to be here, but rode workhorse RB Javon Ringer to an impressive 9-3 record, albeit in the Big 10.

Nothing about this MSU team really jumps out at you besides Ringer, who’s rushed for nearly 1,600 yds and 21 TDs. The defense is average and the passing game certainly leaves something to be desired. They’ve been beaten by a combined 94-25 against the other two ranked teams they’ve faced this year.

Sure, the ‘Dawgs run D was gouged for 409 yards last time out against Georgia Tech, but the Spartans feature a more basic, pro-style run game with Ringer.

There’s a much smaller likelihood that the UGA defenders will repeatedly get caught so far out position play after play like they did against GTU. They’ll also know where the ball is going as Ringer has carried the ball close to 350 times this season already.

Despite the (lack of) effort against GTU, UGA still ranks in the top 40 rush defenses in the country, allowing 129.5 ypg on the ground. Before the GTU debacle, the Dawgs were allowing just over 100 ypg.

They’ll bounce back with a solid effort against Ringer who’ll come nowhere near his self-described perfect game of “25 carries, 200 yards, 3 TDs, and win”. The only one of those stats he’ll approach will be the carries.

This Michigan State team is good, but certainly not great. If the ‘Dawgs show up to play, this one won’t be close.

There’s too much offensive firepower for an average Sparty D to try and contend with and Ringer will struggle to consistently produce against the 8 and 9-man boxes he’ll be facing.

This may or may not be the swan song for Stafford and Moreno in a UGA uniform, but they’ll end this season as big winners.

Georgia 34, Michigan State 17