For Alabama the Capital One Bowl is a disappointment since they thought they were going to have a good chance at repeating as national champions. Three loses later and Alabama is not even in a BCS Bowl game, and are insistent that they there is no complacency in their preparations for this game. Does that mean they will not use the excuse they did not want to be there if they lose to Michigan State, such as when Alabama was destroyed by Utah in the 2009 Sugar Bowl.
Michigan State is also disappointed to be playing at the Capital One Bowl, because they tied for the Big 10 title with Wisconsin and Ohio State, and they beat Wisconsin head-to-head but the BCS standings was the tie breaker which means Wisconsin went to the Rose Bowl. Michigan State was passed over for Ohio State because of their higher ranking and that they travel very well to bowl games.
Players in today's game to watch for on the Alabama side are wide receiver Julio Jones who may be suiting up for the last time before he takes of to the NFL next year. The running back duo of 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson have not lived up to the standards of what Tide fans thought they could do, so they have one last chance this year to show their full potential.
Michigan State does most everything well, but nothing overly exceptional. Players to watch for Michigan State are running back Edwin Baker who rushed for 1,187 yards and 13 TDs, while quarterback Kirk Cousins was efficient passing 216-of-320 for 2,705 yards, 20 TDs and 9 INTs.
The line on this game has Alabama at a very large eight-point favorite and that is actually down from 11 points which is where the lined opened up at. Now onto what the experts think.
Rivals - Alabama is chosen by all four Rivals writers and 81 percent of the Yahoo users agree with the writers in taking Alabama.
CBS Sports - Four of the five pick Alabama over Michigan State.
USA Today - All eight writers make it a clean sweep by taking Alabama.
Fanhouse - Brett McMurphy makes his picks against the spread and takes Alabama to cover.
AccuScore - The computer takes Alabama to win 79 percent of the time and by an average score of 33.6 to 19.3.
The Capital One Bowl kicks off at 11 a.m. (MT) on ESPN.