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Alabama's Will Anderson and Bryce Young appear set to play in the Sugar Bowl

Alabama stars Bryce Young and Will Anderson appear to be bucking the trend of potential top-10 picks skipping bowl games.

Alabama coach Nick Saban told ESPN that he isn’t expecting any players to opt out of the Crimson Tide’s Dec. 31 Sugar Bowl matchup against Kansas State. That means that Young and Anderson are set to play. Both are widely expected to be among the first off the board in the 2023 NFL draft.

It’s obvious why many star players have chosen to skip non-College Football Playoff games in recent years with the potential of NFL contracts on the horizon. For many players, the risk of getting injured in a game that’s basically an exhibition isn’t worth it. It’s also fun to see players like Young and Anderson also choose to play in the game so we can watch them play one last college football game.

Young, the 2021 Heisman winner, has already missed a game due to injury this season. He injured his right throwing shoulder against Arkansas and missed the team’s subsequent game against Texas A&M in early October.

Young has been the Crimson Tide’s best offensive player again in 2022 and has thrown for 3,007 yards and 27 TDs while rushing for four more in 11 games.

Anderson was one of the most dominant defensive players in college football in 2021, with 31 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks across 15 games as Alabama lost to Georgia in the national championship game. With more teams focusing their offensive game plans around stopping him in 2022, Anderson has 17 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in 2022.

A win for Alabama over Kansas State would give the Crimson Tide 11 wins on the season. Alabama has won at least 11 games in 11 consecutive seasons since finishing 10-3 in 2010. Alabama last failed to win 10 games in 2007 when it went 7-6. That was Saban’s first season in Tuscaloosa.

FILE - Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) during warm ups before the start of an NCAA college football game against Auburn on Nov. 27, 2021, in Auburn, Ala. Alabama is banking on Young and Will Anderson Jr. to lead the team back to a national championship after a tantalizingly close call last season. Both are high on the lists of preseason Heisman Trophy candidates and potential No. 1 NFL draft picks. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)
Alabama QB Bryce Young looks set to play in the Sugar Bowl. (AP Photo/Butch Dill, File)