Orange Bowl Preview

Source: College Football News

Miami:

Two of the most storied College Football programs are set to face off in an epic College Football Playoff battle. The SEC Champion Alabama Crimson Tide will go to war with the Big 12 Champion Oklahoma Sooners. This matchup in the Orange Bowl between the Sooners and Crimson Tide has been one of the most anticipated College Football Playoff games in the history of the Playoffs since making the switch from the BCS Championship era.

Alabama and Oklahoma will be meeting for the first time since 2014 where the Sooners defeated the Crismon Tide 45-31 in the Sugar Bowl. This will be the 6th meeting between the two teams with the Sooners leading the all-time series with an impressive 3-1 advantage over the Crimson Tide. Oklahoma has won the past three games with the Crimson Tide and will look to push that streak to four straight games over the Crimson Tide.

This game will see an epic battle between the Alabama defense and the Oklahoma offense. These two units are by far the best of the best in every aspect of the game. The Crimson Tide have the advantage in this matchup, however, with arguably one of the best defenses that Nick Saban has ever had in his coaching tenure. With that being said Alabama will have their hands full with Heisman winner Kyler Murray who threw for 4,053 yards and 40 touchdowns on the season for the Sooners.

Alabama will look to dual-threat quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to lead the Crimson Tide to a win over the Sooners. Tagovailoa comes into the game with an impressive 3,353 yards, and 37 touchdowns so far on the season. Which is impressive considering Tua only played partial games all season because of Alabama’s margin of victory over their opponents this season.

Here’s what both coaches had to say about the game-

Nick Saban:

“Thank you so much. It’s certainly an honor and a privilege for our team, our players, our coaches, the people involved in our organization to be involved in the College Football Playoff this year. I’d, first of all, like to congratulate the coaches here with me for the great team and the great year that their teams were able to have.

We certainly have a tremendous challenge in playing Coach Riley and the Oklahoma Sooners, who have a great tradition and a great program, and certainly one of the most prolific offensive teams that I’ve seen in recent times, and their defense has certainly made a lot of plays in critical times in the games that have helped them win some close ones.

This is a tremendous privilege. We’ve been here before, and this is one of the great venues in sports to be a part of, and we feel very proud to be here with some other very, very good programs that have great traditions.”

Lincoln Riley on the game with Alabama:

“Yeah, it’s a great honor to be back here. I think the guys here, we all realize how hard it is just to get to this point, the College Football Playoff. It’s a dream for everyone at the start of the season, but the fact is there can only be four, and it takes a lot of people, a lot of hard work. Very, very proud of our players, our staff, everybody involved with Oklahoma football to get back here and have another chance here in the College Football Playoff.

Certainly looking forward to playing Alabama. They’ve had a historic run with one of the greatest coaches of all time here in Coach Saban. We couldn’t possibly have any more respect for them, the way they play, and it’ll certainly be a great challenge but one that we’re very much looking forward to. Thank you so much for having us.”

This game between the Sooners and Crimson Tide will likely be won in the trenches and with that, the advantage goes to the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Orange Bowl will kickoff at 7:00 Central time on ESPN. With the winner advancing to the National Championship game to face the winner of Notre Dame and Clemson.

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