There are all sorts of interesting statistics worth perusing when trying to predict the winner of this year's Cotton Bowl.

For example, both Alabama and Michigan State are among the nation's best in run defense: the Crimson Tide is No. 1 surrendering a paltry 74 yards per game; the Spartans are ninth at 113 yards per game.

Or how about Michigan State's third-down conversion rate, which is fifth-best in the country at 50.5 percent?

There's Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry of Alabama, who averages 153 yards per game and nearly 6 yards per carry. He's eclipsed the 200-yard mark running the ball in four games this season.

And what about Michigan State's +16  turnover differential, which is only bested by three other teams this season?

But all those stats are just noise. In the gallery above you'll find three key things to consider about this College Football Playoff matchup that ultimately show the Spartans will emerge victorious tonight.