Tampa, FL - The Michigan State Spartans and Georgia Bulldogs will square-off in the Outback Bowl on Monday, January 2nd at 1:00 p.m. EST at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Big East's USF Bulls. It is a matchup of two 10-win division champions from two of the most prestigious conferences in college football, the SEC and Big Ten. The Spartans were No. 17 in the final BCS Standings released December 4 while the Bulldogs were No. 16.
The 10-3 Bulldogs lost to LSU in the SEC Championship game and the 10-3 Spartans lost to Wisconsin in the inaugural Big Ten Championship game.
Outback Bowl Chairman Dale Dignum said, "These teams feature exceptional talent, including two of the best quarterbacks in the nation, who should put on an exciting show on January 2nd. We look forward to hosting the Bulldogs once again, including Tampa’s own Aaron Murray and Orson Charles, and to welcoming the Spartans team and fans to their first-ever Outback Bowl.
"I’m really excited for our team and especially our seniors with the opportunity to play in Tampa which is one of the premier January bowl games," said UGA head coach Mark Richt. "We were fortunate to play in this game back in 2005 and had a terrific experience. This will be the first time the members of our team have the opportunity to play in Tampa and playing a top quality opponent like Michigan State will be a challenge we’ll look forward to."
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said, "Our focus is on winning our last football game, the bowl game. It’s important for our seniors, the winningest four-year class in Spartan history, to add a bowl victory to its long list of accomplishments."
"Obviously, we have a great deal of respect for Mark Richt and his football program. Georgia put together an impressive 10-game winning streak this season. This Outback Bowl game features two of the nation’s top defensive teams (Georgia and MSU rank third and fifth, respectively, in total defense among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams). Offensively, Aaron Murray is a talented, young quarterback who directs an offensive attack that averages more than 400 total yards and 32 points per game.
"Three years ago, we played Georgia in the Capital One Bowl and that game went down to the wire, so fans can expect another close contest. We’re excited for this opportunity."
The last time the Spartans faced an SEC team they were blown out 49-7 by Alabama at last year's Capital One Bowl in Orlando.
Georgia opened the 2011 season with back-to-back losses and closed with a loss, but reeled off 10 straight wins in between.
The computer favors Michigan State by 4.32 points.