Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Georgia vs Michigan State Preview and Prediction


Capital One Bowl
Georgia vs Michigan State

New Years Day 1PM ABC
Orlando, FL

Line: Georgia –7.5

Overview

A pair of Doak Walker Finalists, Knowshon Moreno and Javon Ringer, headline this SEC vs Big 10 clash in Orlando. Georgia is coming off a close loss to in-state rival Georgia Tech while Michigan State got thumped by Penn State in their final outing. The Bulldogs and Spartans will both be aiming for 10 win seasons in a bowl the Big 10 has won the last 4 years.

Keys to the Game:

1. One Trick Pony

Michigan State’s offense has been called a one trick pony by some, but that one trick is a pretty good one with Ringer. Some will look at the rushing yards amassed by Georgia Tech against Georgia and assume Ringer will have a big day. But the Ga Tech style of running is much different from the conventional style of the Spartans. However, tackling will be key for a banged up Bulldog defense that failed miserably in this category last time out. Ringer is the key to the entire Michigan State offense. As he goes, so goes Sparty.

2. Michigan State Pass Defense

Georgia arguably has their best trio of QB and starting WRs in their history. Both AJ Green and Mohamed Massaquoi could go over 1,000 yards receiving in this game. Last time out, QB Matt Stafford had the best game of his career passing for 407 yards against Georgia Tech. Michigan State ranks just 61st against the pass in a league known for running the ball. The Spartans can't play nickel mostly and leave out an extra defender against Knowshon Moreno, so expect to see a lot of man coverage from Mark Dantonio's club.

3. How Much Does Georgia Want This Game?

I am being serious here. I look at the talent level and see a clear advantage for Georgia. The 3 best teams Michigan State played all year they lost to and Ohio State and Penn State were blowouts. If Georgia shows up to play I think a rout could be on. If they are not prepared, then Michigan State will make it close.

Motivation

I already covered this one above. Georgia may be sulking a little after a disappointing season where they thought they would be playing for a BCS Championship. Michigan State is ecstatic to be in this game. I think Mark Richt remembers the last time his team was not ready to play (vs WV in 2006 Sugar) and that is still fresh enough in his mind to not let that happen this year.

Prediction

Pretty simple in this one I think. Javon Ringer has not fared very well against good teams . If Georgia shows up and doesn’t turn the ball over 4+ times, I think they win this one easily.

Georgia 34 Michigan State 14
Georgia Covers -7.5

Confidence Ranking (of 34): 34
My confidence ranking of a Georgia win.


Bowls: 3-3 ATS, 3-3 SU
Season: 34-33-3 ATS, 44-26 SU


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