Predictions 101 — Outback Bowl


No. 12 Michigan State vs. No. 18 Georgia
Jan. 2, 1 p.m. ET, ABC
At Tampa, Fla.

It’s tough to pick which of these teams is in more dire need of bowl redemption.

On one hand you have the Spartans, who got annihilated by Alabama, 49-7, in last season’s Capital One Bowl. Further down the postseason pecking order, but no less embarrassing, you’ve got the Bulldogs’ 10-6 Liberty Bowl loss to UCF. Yikes.

Georgia (10-3) also has to deal with the unceremonious way LSU brought a halt to its 10-game winning streak with a second-half thumping and 42-10 defeat in the SEC championship game.

For its part, Michigan State (10-3) has to overcome the heartbreak of its 42-39 loss to Wisconsin in the inaugural Big Ten championship game, which meant that the Spartans were tantalizingly close to a BCS berth for the second consecutive year.

It’s also difficult to choose between the the two defenses, which each excel collectively and have standout individuals. But it’s an SEC world, so we’re rolling with the fourth best team in that league over the second best in the Big Ten.

We just keep envisioning Bulldog outside linebacker Jarvis Jones chasing Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins all over the yard.

Opening point spread: Georgia by 3

The pick: Georgia 26-20

Click HERE to get predictions for the remaining bowl games.

Alabama’s Anderson repeats as Bronko Nagurski award winner

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Alabama outside linebacker Will Anderson Jr. has become the second two-time winner of the Bronko Nagurski Award given to the nation’s top collegiate defensive player.

Anderson was presented the award on Monday night by the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

The 6-foot-4, 243-pound Anderson had 10 sacks for the No. 5-ranked Crimson Tide this season. He also won the award last year after recording 17 1/2 sacks.

Anderson, a junior, had two sacks in Alabama’s regular-season win finale against rival Auburn and had his first touchdown when he returned an interception 25 yards against Louisiana-Monroe.

Anderson joins former Northwestern linebacker Pat Fitzgerald as the only two-time winner of the award. Fitzgerald won the award in 1995 and 1996 and later went on to become the head coach at Northwestern.

It’s unclear if Anderson will enter the NFL draft or return to Alabama next season.

FSU standout QB Jordan Travis returning for senior season

Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat / USA TODAY NETWORK

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis, the fourth player in school history to account for 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in a single season, is staying in school for his senior year.

Travis made the announcement Monday, the same day hundreds of players across the nation entered the NCAA transfer portal or declared for the NFL draft. Travis chose a different path and could be an early favorite in next year’s Heisman Trophy race.

“So many memories have been made on this field and we’re not done yet,” Travis said in a highlight video posted on social media. “See y’all in 2023.”

A fourth-year junior, Travis has 22 touchdown passes to go along with seven rushing scores, one receiving and just four interceptions. He has led the 13th-ranked Seminoles (9-3) to five consecutive wins as they prepare to play Oklahoma (6-6) in the Cheez-It Bowl on Dec. 29 in Orlando.

Travis joined FSU’s three Heisman Trophy winners – Charlie Ward in 1993, Chris Weinke in 2000 and Jameis Winston in 2013 – to account for 3,000 yards and 30 TDs in a season. He is one of six QBs in Power Five conferences with at least 20 TD passes and four or fewer interceptions.