Here is my seventh of 10 previews and predictions on the SEC bowl games in college football this season including the BCS National Championship.
Allstate Sugar Bowl
#3 Alabama (11-1) vs. #11 Oklahoma (10-2)
Jan. 2 / 8:30 p.m. / ESPN
Mercedes-Benz Superdome (74,000) / New Orleans, La.
Series History: Oklahoma leads, 2-1-1
Last Meeting: OU, 20-13 (2003 at Tuscaloosa)
VegasInsider Point Spread: Alabama -15
Vinny’s Vibe: The talent, depth and overall team standing clearly favors Alabama. The biggest question about Alabama will be its motivation. Many have cited the ugly performance by the Tide the last time it played in the Sugar Bowl in 2008, losing to Utah. What many don’t bring-up is the last time Alabama played in a bowl game where it was disappointed by not playing for a national championship. That was an absolute physical destruction of Michigan State three years ago in the Capital One Bowl.
Alabama thinks it is the best team in the country. I think the players will be plenty motivated.
Oklahoma has a good defense, especially against the pass. The biggest issue for Oklahoma’s defense has been stopping people in the redzone (115th). If Alabama cashes in with TDs in the redzone, it will be a long day for OU.
Another area that favors Alabama in a big way is special teams. Alabama is 4th in the nation in punt returns. Oklahoma has really struggled covering punts (117th). Alabama is #1 in the country in net punting. The Iron Bowl was brutal for Alabama’s placekickers, so it will be interesting to see if they’ve flushed that game.
Oklahoma’s quarterback position has been disappointing. You could see any one of three QBs for the Sooners. Inexperienced QBs facing a great Alabama defense with complex coverages and looks does not bode well for Oklahoma's offense or the Sooners chances to win the game.
Look for Alabama QB AJ McCarron, WR Amari Cooper, RB TJ Yeldon and LB CJ Mosley to all have big games for the Crimson Tide.
Bob Stoops is 1-4 vs. the SEC in bowl games. Plus, when you give Nick Saban and his staff a month to prepare it usually works out. It will be 1-5 vs. the SEC for Stoops after this one.
Alabama 41 Oklahoma 17
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