Two very similar, evenly matched teams are meeting Monday in the Outback Bowl’s pairing of conference runners-up, which is why Georgia’s favored by a slim 3.5 points.
Both teams are strong defensively, with Georgia ranked third in the nation and Michigan State ranked fifth. Both teams have capable passing games but also have been productive on the ground. The Spartans have the more experienced QB in senior Kirk Cousins, but Georgia’s Aaron Murray looks to be more mobile. MSU has ace receiver B.J. Cunningham while Georgia has Orson Charles and Malcolm Mitchell. Georgia would seem to have a slight edge in the ground game if Isaiah Crowell holds up, and the Dogs tend to play better a) on the road and b) in bowl games.
Still, it’ll likely come down to which defense forces a turnover or two. I think Jarvis Jones and company will make the difference and get Georgia’s 2012 off to a great start.