If Michigan State beats Georgia in the Capital One Bowl the Spartans will have beaten a coach whose record is one of the best in the nation. Mark Richt is listed as fourth in terms of winning percentage for active coaches. He is 81-22 since taking over in Athens in 2001. And that year the Bulldogs were 8-4, their worst record under Richt. They have an impressive 30-4 road record over his tenure and they've won seven straight road games dating back to a loss at Tennessee early in the 2007 season. Richt is 5-2 in bowl games since coming from Florida State where he was an assistant to Bobby Bowden for a couple of seasons.
The Spartans have sold 10,500 tickets for the Capital One Bowl and their allotment is 12,000. They'll sell a few more but they will pass the test for a Big Ten school that travels well. Only Penn State among other Big Ten schools in bowl games has sold its allotment-- and the Nittany Lions sold 25,000 Rose Bowl tickets for the New Year's Day game against USC. Even Ohio State is battling to sell its 17,500 ticket allotment for the BCS Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix. The MSU people think their reputation among Big Ten schools will be fine considering what everyone else in the league is selling. The tough economic times may well take a toll on bowl attendance this season. Four bowl games will be played Saturday and one more Sunday and their could be some scanty crowds at some of the venues. The MSU team and travel party will leave for Orlando Christmas night and spend eight nights at the bowl.