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Georgia Vs. Michigan State Odds, 2011 Outback Bowl: Bulldogs Early Two-Point Favorites

In a match-up of two teams coming off losses in their respective conference championship games, the No. 18 Georgia Bulldogs are two-point favorites over the No. 13 Michigan State Spartans in the Outback Bowl.

Georgia's offense, which averages 32.2 points a game, will be tested by Michigan State's defense, which gave up only 17.5 points, 9th best in the nation. 

Of course, most of that defensive success came in Big Ten play, as the Spartans only non-conference opponent of note, Notre Dame, defeated them 31-13.

The Outback Bowl will be the latest in a long-running feud between fans of the Big Ten and the SEC, the two most popular conferences in college football. Many Southern fans believe that players from the Midwest can't compete with the team speed in the SEC, an idea that gained weight after Florida's stunning upset of Ohio State in the 2006 national championship game.

Offensively, Michigan State is led by senior QB Kirk Cousins, a 6'3 205 senior who completed 65% of his passes for 3,016 yards, 34 TD's an 7 INT's. 

Cousins, a three-year starter, will try to reverse the Spartans' recent bowl history under coach Mike Dantonio. Michigan State has lost four consecutive bowl games, including a 49-7 drubbing to Alabama in last year's Capital One Bowl.

The Bulldogs' young defense, after giving up 35 points to Boise State and 45 to South Carolina in their first two games, has improved as the season has progressed. They are currently ranked 17th in total defense, giving up an average of 19.2 points a game. 

However, they haven't faced a passing attack as potent as the Spartans since those first two games, as SEC powers like Florida, Tennessee and Auburn went through down seasons that featured turmoil at the QB position.

After going through a two-year down-swing, this is the first post New Year's Day Bowl for Georgia since the 2008 Capital One Bowl, when they beat the Spartans 24-12 in Matthew Stafford's last college game.

For the latest news and analysis on Georgia football, check out Dawg Sports, and for more on Michigan State, head over to The Only Colors.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.