It would seem like one of these teams would be much more excited about playing in the Sugar Bowl than the other.
Alabama would rather be playing in one of the two national semifinals and it will be interesting to watch how many players opt out of the bowl game to begin preparations for the NFL Draft. There have already been a large number of Alabama players entering the transfer portal. Kansas State was not expected to win the Big 12 title game so this will be a reward for a tremendous season for the Wildcats.
Alabama is 9-7 in previous Sugar Bowl appearances. The most memorable one came following the 1992 season when Alabama, listed by the college football betting lines as a heavy underdog against a Miami team on a 29-game winning streak, rolled to a 34-13 win. The win gave the Crimson Tide the national championship.
Kansas State has won three of its last four bowl games. It is the first of the major bowl games for the Wildcats since the 2013 Fiesta Bowl.
Alabama is fifth and Kansas State is ninth in the College Football Playoff rankings. Alabama is fifth in both national polls while Kansas State is ninth in the American Football Coaches Association poll and 11th in the AP poll.
Alabama is currently listed by the Las Vegas odds as a four-point favorite.
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Alabama vs Kansas State Game Information
- When: Saturday, Dec. 31, Noon ET
- Where: Sugar Bowl, Caesars Superdome, New Orleans
- Line: Alabama -4
- Moneyline: Kansas State +163, Alabama -190
- Total: 54½
- Record: 10-2
- Record Against the Spread: 5-6-1
- Head coach: Nick Saban, 16th season
- Head coaching record: 188-27 at Alabama, 279-61-1 college coaching record
Scoop on Free Play from the Locker Room
Saban said he didn’t know about the status of the players rated as high picks for the upcoming NFL Draft.
Quarterback Bryce Young, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, and linebacker Will Anderson Jr. are being touted as contenders to be the No. 1 overall pick while running back Jahmyr Gibbs and defensive back Jordan Battle are other potential first-round picks with decisions to make.
Alabama players saw receivers Jameson Williams and John Metchie suffer serious injuries in the CFP national title game and SEC Championship Game, respectively, last season. So that might factor into the decision for some of the NFL-bound Crimson Tide stars.
Alabama is four points away from a perfect season – a three-point loss at Tennessee and a one-point loss at Louisiana State kept Alabama out of the SEC title game and out of the College Football Playoff field.
This is the first time since 2007 that Alabama’s season will end in December instead of January.
Eleven of the 20 players with reception are either freshmen or sophomores while three freshmen had at least 20 tackles, so there are plenty of young players for Alabama to turn to.
Alabama is 1-5-1 against the college football betting lines in its last seven games.
- Record: 10-3
- Record Against the Spread: 9-3-1
- Head coach: Chris Klieman, fourth season
- Head coaching record: 30-19 at Kansas State, 102-32 college coaching record
Kansas State wasn’t far away from being in the College Football Playoffs, losing to Tulane and Texas by seven points and squandering an 18-point lead in a loss to Texas Christian. Still, there is plenty of momentum coming from the Big 12 title game victory.
It will never get old pic.twitter.com/54y8EMfwop
— K-State Football (@KStateFB) December 5, 2022
Kansas State doesn’t have as many potential first-round picks as Alabama. However, the decision of whether to play in the game and risk injury or sit the bowl game out will have to be addressed.
Receiver Malik Knowles and quarterback Adrian Martinez are both questionable for the game. Martinez missed the Big 12 title game while Knowles was injured during the overtime win over playoff-bound TCU.
Alabama’s Gibbs might have been touted more as a Heisman candidate during the season, but Kansas State’s Deuce Vaughn had the better season.
Vaughn ran for 1,425 yards and was second on the team with 42 catches, 19 of them coming in the three losses.
Felix Anudike-Uzomah combined for 14.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss to lead a defense that was tied for the Big 12 lead with 16 interceptions and second with 28 sacks.
Kansas State covered against the college football odds in each of its last four games.
Road to the Sugar Bowl
Both teams could easily be playing in the national semifinals. Will Howard finished the season in impressive fashion with 13 touchdowns and one interception in the last five games won by Kansas State. Young didn’t have a bad season, but it wasn’t quite what he accomplished during his Heisman Trophy-winning campaign.
Coming out of two of the top conferences in the country with just five losses between them proves that there is plenty of talent that will be on the field in New Orleans.