2011 Gator Bowl: Michigan vs. Mississippi State

With a 3-5 record in the Big Ten and loses in five of their last seven games, the University of Michigan (7-5) is fortunate to have earned a berth in the 2010 Gator Bowl versus #21 Mississippi State (8-4).

A seven-win season and a trip to a New Year’s Day Bowl might be cause for celebration at some programs but not Michigan where they had been accustomed to fighting for Big Ten championships rather than bowl eligibility. The mediocrity has put Rich Rodriguez on the hot seat and there have been rumors that he could be replaced by Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, an ex-Wolverine quarterback. Michigan’s current quarterback, Denard Robinson, is no slouch. He leads the team in both passing with over 2300 yards and 16 TDs and rushing with more than 1400 yards and 14 TDs. Take away Robinson, and you pretty much can beat Michigan.

Mississippi State out of the SEC has a defense that can possibly handle Robinson. Earlier in the season, the Bulldogs lost to Auburn and Cam Newton 17-14 so they have experience dealing with that type of quarterback. Mississippi State played a tough schedule with five ranked teams, going 1-4, but they did manage to beat Florida. The Bulldogs also possess a solid running game with Vick Ballard and quarterback Chris Relf running some himself.

Mississippi State is favored by -6 points.

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