8:30 PM ET, January 2, 2014
MERCEDES-BENZ SUPERDOME, NEW ORLEANS, LA
The Alabama Crimson Tide football program was worried about the possibility of head coach Nick Saban leaving for Texas. However, Saban has decided to star and Alabama now needs to worry about impressing YouWager fans tonight in their post-New Year’s game versus the Oklahoma Sooners.
It wont be easy for Alabama after its BCS championship hopes ended. A month ago the Tide suffered a terrible defeat in the regular-season finale that’s left them looking for consolation in this Sugar Bowl showdown with No. 11 Sonners tonight.
Saban has a lot to prove, however he said he plans to retire in Tuscaloosa after agreeing to a contract extension Dec. 13 that will pay him a reported $7 million a year. After that, there were months of speculation that he would go to coach the Texas Longhorns, which are in the market for a high-profile coach after Mack Brown’s resignation.
While a chance to face the Sooners (10-2) in a BCS bowl would be the end of a successful season for most programs, it’s not what online sports betting fans had in mind for Alabama.
The Tide were on the cusp of punching their SEC championship game ticket before giving up 13 points in the final 32 seconds and losing 34-28 versus the Auburn Tigers on Nov. 30 on Chris Davis’ 100-yard return of Adam Griffith’s missed 57-yard field goal attempt.
Now, the rival Auburn team will play for the national championship in Pasadena instead of the Crimson Tide chasing their third straight BCS title and fourth in five years.
This is the Sooners’ first trip to the Sugar Bowl since 2004, when they lost versus Saban’s LSU Tigers team that earned a split of the national title.
This college football game will mark the college finale for AJ McCarron, who threw for 20 touchdowns and just two interceptions after September in winning the Maxwell Award and finishing as the Heisman Trophy runner-up.
Both quarterbacks are truly capable of providing a running threat, especially Blake Bell, who averaged 7.1 yards on his 62 carries.
Alabama had a hard time versus a pair of prominent dual-threat QBs this season, giving up 296 rushing yards in the defeat to Nick Marshall and Auburn and allowing Johnny Manziel to throw for 464 and run for 96 in a September win over Texas A&M Aggies.
It was Manziel who put an end to Oklahoma’s three-game bowl winning streak last season, leading Texas A&M to a 41-13 rout of Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl.
If the Sooners want to have a chance, they need to focus on slowing Yeldon and that rushing attack. The Tide are 42-1 with McCarron as the starter when it runs for at least 125 yards, and 4-5 when they don’t.
This is only the fifth meeting for these popular team, and first since a 20-13 Oklahoma win at Tuscaloosa in 2003. They’ve met twice in the postseason — a 24-all tie in the 1970 Bluebonnet Bowl and a 17-0 Alabama win in the 1963 Orange Bowl.