Spartans take on Alabama in Citrus Bowl

The Michigan State Spartans and Alabama Crimson Tide meet in the Citrus Bowl, which may be the most intriguing non-BCS bowl match up.  

Most experts say it has the feel of a BCS bowl.

Many people are frustrated with the BCS because the 11-1 Spartans were not given a BCS bowl bid and the 8-4 UConn Huskies were.  

There is also a legitimate gripe about Wisconsin getting a Rose Bowl bid over the Spartans, who beat the Badgers and have the same record as Wisconsin does.

However, the Alabama Crimson Tide offers a good match up for Michigan State.  Alabama lost by one point to Auburn and it cost them a chance to play in the SEC Championship.

The Spartans will face two good running backs in Heisman winner Mark Ingram and a faster running back in Trent Richardson.  

Crimson Tide quarterback Greg McElroy is an underrated part of Alabama’s offense.  He has passed for 2,767 yards.

The biggest storyline in this matchup is Nick Saban facing off against a team he left at the curb in 1999. After a 9-2 season, he abandoned his team for Louisiana State.

Michigan State and Alabama followed very different paths this season. Alabama started out being ranked No. 1 in the country, while Michigan State did not receive a single vote in the first AP poll.

Alabama started out the season 5-0, before losing to South Carolina.  They lost two more games during the season to No. 11 LSU and No. 1 Auburn by a total of four points.

Michigan State’s season was defined by two trick plays named “The Little Giants” and “Mousetrap”

“The little Giants” was used against the Fighting Irish in overtime to clinch the victory.

Then one hour after the game, coach Mark Dantonio had a heart attack and had to sit out two games, but MSU pulled out a victory in both games.

After beating Michigan and Illinois they had to play their first game outside the state of Michigan and they struggled mightily, but the fake punt named “The Mouse Trap” helped them clinch a victory.

After winning their first eight games they had a devastating 37-6 loss at Iowa, but unlike previous Spartan teams, they responded and finished off the rest of the teams on their schedule to go 11-1.

While it is not what most Alabama fans wanted at the beginning of the season, or what Michigan State fans wanted after a successful season, it will still be one of the most interesting games in the bowl season.