Mich St-Alabama headlines non-BCS bowls

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EAST LANSING, MICH. (AP) - Michigan State received a nice consolation prize after being left out of the Bowl Championship Series.

For Boise State, the drop was a bit steeper.

Michigan State accepted a bid to the Capital One Bowl to face Alabama in what should be one of the most anticipated non-BCS bowls this season. Not everyone was so lucky, however. Boise State, which is ranked 10th in the country, fell all the way to the MAACO Bowl in Las Vegas after its undefeated season ended in an overtime loss to Nevada the night after Thanksgiving.

In other intriguing non-BCS matchups, Notre Dame and Miami will renew their rivalry earlier than expected when they meet in the Sun Bowl. The teams are planning to start their spirited regular-season series again in 2012.

Michigan will play its first postseason game under embattled coach Rich Rodriguez in the Gator Bowl against No. 21 Mississippi State, and in another SEC-Big Ten matchup, Florida will face Penn State in the Outback Bowl.

Michigan State finished in a three-way tie for the Big Ten title, then watched as fellow co-champions Wisconsin and Ohio State snapped up BCS bids. The seventh-ranked Spartans will settle for a New Year’s Day game against former Michigan State coach Nick Saban and 15th-ranked Alabama.

“I know the TV sets are going to turn on,” Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said. “I would estimate that this game will rival, if not win out over most of the BCS ratings when it’s all said and done.”

Michigan State went to the Capital One Bowl _ which was then called the Citrus Bowl _ at the end of the 1999 season. Saban didn’t coach the Spartans in the postseason, though. He’d left to take over at LSU after the regular season.

“This is a place that we have a lot of fond memories of,” Saban said. “When you compete, you don’t have to be friends. I’m sure that they’ve got a great team, and hopefully our team will play our best game of the year.”

Boise State, college football’s most successful outsider in recent years, was hoping to crash the BCS title game or at least earn a spot in the Rose Bowl, but the Broncos’ late-season loss changed all that.

Now, their season will end Dec. 22, although they’ll at least have a chance to play another ranked team. Boise State will take on No. 20 Utah in Las Vegas.

“We’re really, really excited about it,” Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. “It fits very much with what we were hoping for. To cap it off, we have a very, very good opponent. That may be the most important thing.”

No. 13 Nevada, the team that spoiled Boise State’s run, will play Boston College in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Jan. 9, the night before the BCS championship game.

With invitations going out all over the country, the Football Bowl Association announced a national online advertising campaign aimed at promoting the virtues of the existing bowl system, which the organization worries would fade away if a playoff were instituted.

But critics remained, even with 35 bowls allowing 70 teams to play a postseason game. Temple won eight games and beat Fiesta Bowl-bound Connecticut, yet was preparing to stay home.

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