Alabama vs. Oklahoma: 2014 BCS Sugar Bowl preview and prediction

The 2014 Sugar Bowl pits two traditional powerhouse programs entering the game with very different mindsets.

Alabama was one second away from potentially playing in its third consecutive BCS National Championship Game. The Tide’s dominant season was derailed by one of the wildest plays in football history.

Oklahoma, on the other hand, is fortunate to be in a BCS game. The Sooners had an inconsistent season and made the Sugar Bowl due in large part to their dramatic Bedlam victory.

Let’s take a look at the important matchups between two programs sharing a combined 22 national championships.

Defense wins … Sugar Bowls

Each team is built similarly, with run-heavy offenses and staunch defense.

Oklahoma led the Big 12 in passing and total defense. The Sooners also gave up slightly over 21 points per game. Considering they played Baylor’s top-flight offense, OK State’s 15th-ranked offense, and a pass-happy Texas Tech squad, that’s not too bad.

Alabama was the SEC’s leader in all defensive categories. They also rank No. 2 nationally in points allowed (11.3) and in the top five for passing and total defense.

The Mouth vs. The South

Bob Stoops is on record for thinking the SEC is overrated. Now he gets to put his playbook where his mouth is. The Big 12’s best coach gets to face off against the premier coach in the country, Nick Saban. If Oklahoma knocks off a stacked Alabama team, there will be a lot less eye-rolling the next time Stoops starts his annual offseason SEC bashing.

Game Plan

Aside from Xs and Os, bowl games usually come down to motivation. Alabama’s players, regardless of what they say publicly, are disappointed to be playing on Jan. 2 instead of Jan. 6. How they respond to being in a lesser bowl will determine this game’s outcome.

Can Saban escape the drama of his new contract and heartbreak of the Iron Bowl to motivate his players? Having a leader like A.J. McCarron playing his final game will go a long way in motivating the Tide to play a full 60 minutes.

On the other hand, there is Bob Stoops. Big Game Bob has faltered quite a bit in bowl games of late. However, it’s often due to his team being the favorite and less than enthused to be competing in a perceived lesser bowl (see above). This time, the Sooners enter as spoilers. They can give the oft-maligned Big 12 bragging rights by defeating one of the top teams in the country.

This game features two of the best coaches in the nation playing similar games. Look for each defense to exploit the passing game. Also, be mindful of the crowd. Tide fans will make the short drive to NOLA in order to send McCarron off in style, and thank their coach for not chasing Texas oil money.

It’s time to settle it. Who wins the Sugar Bowl clash between these powerhouse programs?

[poll id=”289″]

  • PharohMan

    This one ain’t even close!

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  • Jon Humphrey


    Oklahoma Sooners (10 – 2) @ Alabama Crimson Tide (11 – 1)
    Thursday January 2, 5:45 PM EST
    Superdome, New Orleans, LA

    The Crimson Tide come into the Sugar Bowl as a big 15.5 point favorite against
    the Sooners. The total is set at 51.5.

    All season long Alabama was ranked at the top of the BCS
    standings until an unlikely loss to Auburn dropped them to #3 in the BCS and
    landed them in the Sugar Bowl. Alabama comes into the Sugar Bowl as a huge two TD+ favorite and deservedly so over the Sooners who come in off a huge win over their Oklahoma State rivals.

    Let’s face it, Alabama is the best team in the country and everybody including us was hoping for a Florida State/Alabama National Championship but Auburn’s running game got hot and landed them in the Title Game. Not to take anything away from Auburn but we think Alabama would beat them 7 out of 10 times if they were to play again.

    Alabama boasts the second best defense in the country allowing a measly 11.3 points per game. The Tide’s offense is efficient. Led by QB AJ McCarron they possess the ball for over 33 minutes a game. The Tide mixes in the pass and run very well and should be able to move the chains against a stingy Sooners defense.

    Oklahoma’s defensive strength is in the secondary and pass rush. They played well against some potent quick tempo Big 12 offenses but their struggles in this game will come on offense as they’ll find it extremely difficult to move the ball against an angry Alabama defense which boasts at least 5 future NFL players including top ILB prospect CJ Mosley.

    Alabama will be able to control the game and the clock fairly easily and should do most of the scoring.

    PREDICTION: Alabama 35, Oklahoma 13

    Play UNDER 51.5

    • dachamp123

      Sorry Alabama is definitely not the best team in the nation they are not even the best in the SEC Please wake up and except it they got beat

  • Scott bama

    Bama 49 Oklahoma 0