Tide Vs. Spartans In Capital One

The 15th-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide will face the seventh-ranked Michigan State Spartans in the 2011 Capital One Bowl on Saturday, January 1, 2011, at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. The game will be televised by ESPN and will kick off at 12 noon (CST.



Alabama (9-3 overall, 5-3 in the Southeastern Conference) is making its first appearance in the Capital One Bowl, although the Crimson Tide defeated Ohio State, 24-17, in the 1995 Florida Citrus Bowl following the 1994 season. Michigan State (11-1 overall, 7-1 in the Big Ten) earned a share of the Big Ten Conference title with Wisconsin and Ohio State.   

"It is going to be exciting for us to go to Orlando and play in a New Year's Day bowl game," said Alabama junior running back Mark Ingram, a Flint, Michigan, native. "I grew up a Michigan State fan, so it will be very exciting for me and my family just to go out, play in the game and for them to watch it. But they (Michigan State) are the other team now."

This will be the first football meeting between Alabama and Michigan State.  

  The Crimson Tide is making its fourth consecutive bowl appearance under head coach Nick Saban and the seventh straight for the school. Saban is 2-1 in bowl games at Alabama, defeating Texas in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game and knocking off Colorado in the 2007 Independence Bowl. The Tide's bowl loss under Saban came in the 2009 Sugar Bowl against Utah.   

Alabama has played in more bowl games (57) than any other college. No team has more bowl victories than the Crimson Tide, which has an overall 31-22-3 bowl record (not including a Cotton Bowl victory over Texas Tech that was vacated).

The selection on Sunday was somewhat late in being announced. The Capital One had first choice of SEC teams following the BCS selections. Although the Capital One ordinarily takes the highest ranked SEC team available, the bowl passed on LSU, which is ranked 11th and which defeated Alabama head to head, but it was almost certainly mutually agreeable to the Capital One and to LSU.

Mitigating circumstances were that LSU played in the Capital One Bowl last year. Additionally, it was known that the Cotton Bowl wanted LSU to play Texas A&M. Those teams have considerable history. Moreover, LSU recruits the state of Texas heavily.

LSU will play in the Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M January 7.

There is more than the Ingram connection with the Alabama-Michigan State pairing.

Alabama vs. Michigan State pits Saban against the school that gave him his first job as head coach at a major university. And it has Saban going against Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio, who was an assistant under Saban with the Spartans.

Bowl selections were completed Sunday.

In addition to Auburn meeting Oregon in the BCS National Championship Game on January 10, as expected Arkansas is in a BCS Bowl, meeting Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl on January 4.

Meanwhile, other bowl games involving SEC teams fell into place after the Outback Bowl in something of a surprise selected Florida instead of South Carolina. The Gators will play Penn State in Tampa on January 1.

South Carolina got shuttled to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta to play Florida State on December 31, and the final domino is that Mississippi State will be in the Gator Bowl on January 1 against Michigan.

Tennessee had faint hopes of being in the Gator, but the Vols will play North Carolina in the Music City Bowl on December 30.

Georgia is in the Liberty Bowl on December 31 against UCF (Central Florida) and Kentucky plays in the Birmingham Bowl on January 8 against Pittsburgh.

Vanderbilt and Ole Miss are the only SEC teams not playing in bowl games.

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