>Alabama vs. Michigan State
A share of its first conference championship in 20 years and a school record for wins apparently wasn’t good enough for Michigan State (11-1) earn the program’s first BCS invitation, finishing behind fellow Big Ten champions Ohio State and Wisconsin. So who better to play to see if you belong up there than last year’s national champ, right?
Kirk Cousins comes in with some gaudy stats but will have some challenges in this game. While he has thrown for 2,705 yards and 20 touchdowns. But five of his nine interceptions have come in the last four games. Leading receiver B.J. Cunningham is out after breaking his foot in practice Dec. 18. Cunningham led the team with 50 receptions for 611 yards and nine touchdowns. Michigan State does have other options, though. Mark Dell caught 49 passes for 761 yards, and Keshawn Martin added 29 catches.
Running back Edwin Baker ranked third in the Big Ten with 1,187 yards, rushed for 6.1 yards per carry and 13 touchdowns.
Alabama will counter with wide receiver and second-team All-American Julio Jones, who set school records with 75 receptions and 1,084 yards this season. Jones caught seven of Greg McElroy’s 19 touchdown passes. McElroy has thrown for 2,767 yards.
However, last season’s Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, who missed two games due to injury, has been held to less than 100 yards in eight straight contests after eclipsing that mark nine times in 2009. He has rushed for just over 800 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season.
Prediction: Alabama 24-21