EAST LANSING, Mich. — For the second straight season, Michigan State was left out of the BCS picture despite an impressive record.

It was a painful reminder for the 12th-ranked Spartans (10-3) of how much work they still have to do to be viewed among the nation's elite teams. Michigan State tied for the Big Ten title in 2010 and went to the conference championship game this year.

After losing to Wisconsin with a Rose Bowl berth at stake, the Spartans must settle for a trip to the Outback Bowl and a matchup with No. 18 Georgia.

That game does give them an opportunity. A win over a Southeastern Conference team would certainly turn heads, especially after Michigan State lost 49-7 to Alabama in last season's Capital One Bowl.