2011 Capital One Bowl Preview
The Capital One Bowl will kick off at 1:00 pm EST in Orlando, Florida. Alabama is the defending national champion, but they enter the bowl game with an overall record of 9-3. The Crimson Tide went 5-3 in SEC play losing to South Carolina, LSU, and Auburn this year. The Michigan State Spartans had an outstanding season with an overall record of 11-1. The Spartans lone loss was a 37-6 defeat at Iowa on October 30th.
When Michigan State has the Ball
The Spartans were balanced on offense this season averaging 237.8 yards passing and 168.8 yards rushing per game. Kirk Cousins played well at quarterback for the Spartans throwing for 2705 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. Cousins has two reliable targets to throw to in Mark Dell (49 catches, 761 yards) and B.J. Cunningham (50 catches, 611 yards). Sophomore running back Edwin Baker was impressive averaging over 6 yards per carry on his way to 1187 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns.
The Crimson Tide defense was outstanding this season. Alabama ranked 5th in the country in scoring defense giving up only 14.1 points per game. The Crimson Tide are fast and athletic on defense and the secondary was 3rd in the nation with 21 interceptions. Corner back Robert Lester was a ball hawk this year intercepting 7 passes.
When Alabama has the Ball
Alabama also had a balanced offense this year with 260 yards passing and 175 yards rushing per game. Greg McElroy is extremely accurate completing 70% of his passes this year en route to 2767 yards and 19 touchdowns. McElroy has the luxury of throwing to Julio Jones, one of the best wide receivers in the country. Jones had 75 catches for 1084 yards and 7 touchdowns. Alabama is difficult to stop on the ground with 2009 Heisman winner Mark Ingram and electrifying sophomore Trent Richardson. Ingram had 816 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns while Richardson averaged 6.5 yards per carry on his way to 658 yards.
The Spartans played well defensively giving up an average of 20.1 points per game this season. The Spartans were not very successful at getting to the opposing quarterback with only 20 sacks this season. Michigan State will have their hands full trying to contain Julio Jones, Mark Ingram, and Trent Richardson.
2011 Capital Bowl Betting Lines and Prediction
The current line has Alabama favored by 10 points in the Capital One Bowl. 10 points is a lot to cover but Alabama has the a big advantage on offense and defense and I think they will win by at least 10. The over/under is set at 52 points. Alabama’s defense will stuff the Spartans and the Crimson Tide should be able to keep the ball on the ground in the fourth quarter, so I am taking the under.
Prediction: Alabama 35 – Michigan State 14