Sugar Bowl Capsule: No. 3 Alabama vs. No. 11 Oklahoma

Allstate Sugar Bowl
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La.
Jan. 2, 2014
Oklahoma vs. Alabama

An early look at the matchup: Hey, it's Oklahoma and Alabama. Two of college football's most recognizable programs. This is going to be a rock 'em, sock 'em slugfest, right?

Well, we're not optimistic. Starting next season, the Sugar Bowl is between teams from the Big 12 and SEC. The Sooners are behind the Oregon Ducks in the BCS standings, but the Sugar Bowl has the opportunity to get a head start on the matchup. Plus, Oklahoma is closer and easily driveable, and the bowl can count on more fans to make the trek. Alabama is close too, so it's going to be a house of crimson. But we're deprived of the opportunity of seeing Oregon's offense against Alabama's defense. If you're a neutral, isn't that the more intriguing game?

Oklahoma made a six spot jump in the BCS standings after beating Oklahoma State Saturday, and Alabama has been considered the best team in college football by the majority of the country for 14 of the season's 15 weeks. The Sooners give up 4.1 yards per game on the ground. Alabama runs for six yards a carry. This could be more TJ Yeldon's game than AJ McCarron's.

What we like about this game: Not only are these two programs recognizable, this game features two of the most prominent and entrenched coaches at his respective schools. How will Oklahoma's Bob Stoops scheme to counter Nick Saban's defense? If he's healthy, will Trevor Knight be the exclusive quarterback? Did Blake Bell earn another shot at the starting job because of his comeback against the Cowboys? Will Stoops keep the quarterback situation under wraps?

Big Game Bob is 7-7 in fourteen bowl appearances at Oklahoma. In six years at Alabama, Nick Saban is 5-1 and that lone loss came five years to the day of this game when Utah and Kyle Whittingham upset his Crimson Tide 31-17. Stoops can live up to his nickname if he outschemes Saban and gets it done.

Something you might not have known: This is the third time that Alabama and Oklahoma have met in a bowl game. The last time it happened? December 31, 1970 in the Bluebonnet Bowl. The winner of that game was... no one. The teams tied 24-24. After Alabama went up 24-21 late on a Scott Hunter touchdown catch from Johnny Musso, Oklahoma's Bruce Derr hit a field goal in the fourth quarter for the tie.

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Nick Bromberg

is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!