Bowl Game Upgrade: Capital One

Michigan State earned a bid to play in the Capital One Bowl, widely considered the most prestigious non-BCS bowl game. The Spartans will face off against an SEC-tested Georgia Bulldog team with plenty of talent.

EAST LANSING — Michigan State football upgraded.

The Spartans (9-3) will be heading to sunny Orlando, Fla., once again, but this year, they'll play on New Year's Day in the Capital One Bowl. Last season, the Spartans played in the Dec. 28 Champs Sports Bowl.

MSU faces off against Georgia, who also finished 9-3 overall. The teams met once previously, in the 1989 Gator Bowl.

The Capital One Bowl is regarded by many as the most premier game outside of the BCS rotation. It certainly pays the best of the non-BCS contests, allotting $4.25 to each team.

Michigan State Athletic Director Mark Hollis said head coach Mark Dantonio has done a "tremendous job" in his second year of service to get the team to a Jan. 1 bowl game.

"We're very fortunate to have this," Hollis said tonight. "We feel like we've earned it."

Dantonio highlighted his seniors as a key to the team's successful season. He called the Capital One Bowl, "one of the finest bowls in America," and rememberd his time there in 1999-2000 as a great family experience.

He said he's excited to face a tested Georgia team that he thinks is heading in the right direction. Dantonio sees Georgia as a mirror for how he'd like his own program to grow.

Dantiono and the players who spoke tonight all mentioned the rancid taste left in their mouths after a final game whooping by Penn State.

Running back and Doak Walker Award finalist Javon Ringer said the team figured they might play the Bulldogs and so they've already watched some film.

"We pretty much figured we'd play Georgia," he said.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer wants to erase the sting of the Penn State loss, but he's also looking for redemption in the same stadium he struggled in last year against Boston College.

The challenge of Georgia will be in its speed, Hoyer said.

"Very athletic, everything you would think about and SEC team," he said. "It's a good test for us."

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