Michigan State and Georgia both made the championship games in their respective conferences and now look to finish the season on a positive note after losing to Wisconsin and LSU respectively. It’s another Big 10-SEC showdown which normally would take place on January 1, but has been bumped to Jan 2, at 1:00 thanks to the NFL which has claimed January 1. This game should be a good one between to quality programs and teams, and here’s what I think will happen.
Bowl Breakdown: The Outback bowl will be the anti-Alamo bowl. Both these two teams feature hard-hitting defenses that ranked in the top 5 in yards allowed per game. Georgia started the year wil back-to-back losses to Boise State and South Carolina, but then went on to win their next 10 in a row. The Georgia offense was rolling along until it hit the LSU defense in the SEC championship game. The Georgia offense is led by sophomore QB Aaron Murray who threw for 33 TDs this year and 4 or more TDs in 3 of his last 5 games. Murray struggled against LSU though, only managing 163 yards despite hrowing 40 passes. While Michigan State’s D isn’t quite on that level, the Spartans defense does rank #5 in the country in total yards, 15th in interceptions, 18th in tackles for loss, and 4th in sacks. The MSU defense it lead by Jerel Worthy who was a first team All America selection (more on him below). Worthy is just one of 3 first team selections in this game with the other 2 anchoring the Georgia defense are LB Javaris Jones and safety Bacarri Rambo (which is an awesome name for a hard-hitting safety). The Bulldogs #3 ranked D will be ready to go against a Spartans offense featuring the winningest QB in school history Kirk Cousins and the school’s all-time leader in receiving yards B J Cunningham (more on them below as well). Michigan State was edged in their conference championship by Wisconsin 42-39 thanks in part to a late penalty by the Spartans that took away their chance at the Rose Bowl. They’ll be looking to avenge a 2009 Capital One Bowl loss to the Bulldogs and trying to get their first bowl win in 6 tries. I think they’ll get it done, and that the playmakers for the Spartans will continue their excellent form as they edge out Georgia in a highly entertaining day-after-New-Year’s-Day Bowl.
Pro Prospects:Kirk Cousins-MSU-QB: Cousins has vastly improved his draft stock this year and is moving up into the 3rd or 4th round right on the edge of the top 10 QBs. He’s a good devlopemental pick in the 3rd or 4th round and will have plenty of opportunity to excel at Sr. Bowls and the combine to move up boards even more…Edwin Baker-MSU-RB: Baker may return for one more season, but if he declares he’ll go in the 4th or 5th round as a rotation back. He seems tentative sometimes behind the line and needs to use his speed and power to hit the hole hard. He also needs to improve reeiving an blocking so I think he’ll go back for another year. B.J. Cunningham-MSU-WR: Cunningham is a 3rd rounder who may fall into the early 4th. He’s a big target and has great body control, but doesn’t have elite speed. He’s a possession receiver that will be a solid #2 or slot addition to a team with a stretch-the-field #1. He could have an instant impact depending on where he ends up… KeShawn Martin-MSU-WR: Martin is the complement to Cunningham as he is pure speed. He’s a versatile threat and a good return man who will probably go in the late rounds of the draft to a team that can use a potential burner in their receiving corps and help in the return game…Jerel Worthy-MSU-DT: Worthy is a big, powerful DT who will probably go in the mid-to-late first round. He knows how to collapse the pocket and has great explosion off the snap. He led the team with 8.0 tackles for losses (42 yards) and also had a team-best 4.0 sacks. He could return for one more year, but most think he’s going pro…Johnny Adams-MSU-CB: Adams is a solid zone CB with good ball skills, but needs to bulk up before jumping to the NFL and will probably return for another season at MSU. If he did come out he’d probably go in the 5th or 6th round…Trenton Robinson-MSU-S: Robinson is all over the field for the Spartans D and constantly making plays on the ball and ball-carriers. He’s a little under-sized to play S at the next level and may be moved around depending on the system he lands in. He’s probably a 4th or 5th round pick…Aaron Murray-GA-QB: Murray is a red-shirt sophomore and could declare for the NFL draft, but will probably wait and continue to develop on the college level. He’ll be a prospect to watch in the coming years…Cordy Glenn-GA-OT: Glenn is a huge LT and is probably too big to play there in the NFL. He will be a good addition to the interior of an NFL line though and can play the RT spot as well. Due to his versatility and upside, he’ll probably go mid-2nd round to a team that needs O-line help…Ben Jones-GA-C: Jones is one of the better C prospects in the draft. He’s definitely behind OSU’s Michael Brewster but could be the 2nd (or 3rd if Peter Knoz declares) center off the board. He’s probably a late 2nd or early 3rd round pick…Orson Charles-GA-TE-Charles is slightly undersized for a TE but could become a nice receiver due to his great hands and impressive speed…Jarvis Jones-GA-OLB-Jones is an elite talent at the Linebacker position and should go off the board first in a weak 3-4 OLB class. He could go in the middle of the first round or hang around to the playoff teams at the end. He transferred from USC and is in his first year of starting at Georgia but his production has been remarkable. His draft stock depends on his medicals as well as he had a neck injury that resulted in the transfer out of USC…Brandon Boykin-GA-CB: Boykin is a great athlete and is a major factor in the return game for the Bulldogs. His strength isn’t great, but his speed makes it possible for him to keep up with any receiver he’s covering. He struggles against the run, but has decent ball skills. The depth of this year’s CB class will probably drop him into the 3rd round where he’ll be a solid selction for a team looking to reinforce their CB depth.
Editor’s Note: This article is part of our ongoing series for our Bowl Mania. You can find the same type of analysis for the Capital One, TicketCity, Gator, Chick-fil-A, Liberty, Kraft Fight Hunger, Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, and the Sun Bowls. Or check out the Full entry page to see how accurate each breakdown was for the games that have already taken place.