What does sugar bowl mean for alabama

Sugar Bowl would be interesting for the same reason.

Feel free to read it again.

The fact that the 11 a.m. date on New Year’s Eve in Alabama doesn’t come with the typical bets obviously drained some of the December juice. However, a degree of freedom is not possible in the semifinals.

Main story subplots emerge, even after Bryce Young and Will Anderson announce they will play in the 2022 Finals with Kansas State. How long will he play? And Ty Simpson will catch a glimpse with Jalen Milroe as the 2023 QB Derby gets a head start.

The Citrus Bowl after the 2019 season provided a degree of foreshadowing in this similar scenario. The quarterback was no questions asked after Tua Tagovailoa went down with a season-ending hip injury and Mack Jones took advantage of the afternoon in Orlando to make his case at the 2020 Opening Ceremony.

What about the motivation level of a team that finished one point out of the playoffs? The Citrus Bowl win over Michigan was a stepping stone to a national title the following season, as was the 2010 win over Michigan State in the same bowl. Alabama has been flat twice in Sugar Bowls with convincing losses to Utah (2008) and Oklahoma (2013).

Nick Saban said Friday that he loved the mentality he saw from his team after their first Tuscaloosa bowl practice.

He said, “This is not something unimportant to us.” “We have a lot to prove in this match.”

“Even though it’s not a playoff game, it’s still a huge game for us,” Alabama fullback Brian Branch said. “We follow the same mentality as we did in the previous game. I feel like it’s more time for us in this game and we have to work hard.”

Philosophically speaking, this could go in any number of directions.

Some teams use bowling as a semi-preseason game where the young players get more reps than the veterans.

Asked Tuesday about the young players impressing in training, Jahmir Gibbs named guard Tyler Booker and receivers Isaiah Bond, Kendrick Law and Kobe Prentice.

Getting four receivers and five offensive linemen into the transfer gate has limited depth in those situations. Only one of them, attacking guard Javon Cohen, has been a regular starter and Booker has been taking turns there, so the top five is still close to attacking up front.

“It gave the guys a chance to step up and see what they can show,” said starting center Seth McLaughlin. “A lot of guys have left, and I wish the best for them. They had to make up their own minds, and I love all of those guys. These are my brothers, so I’m excited to see these guys step up and see how they do it.

Gibbs, a rookie who was projected to be an early NFL prospect, said he never considered sitting out a bowl game because he had never played in one. The transfer from Georgia Tech endured three-win seasons before coming to Alabama.

“It hasn’t gone as well as we wanted this season,” Gibbs said Tuesday. “So, we’re trying to finish the season right.”

Other NFL draft prospects like Branch, Jordan Battle, and Henry To’o To’o chose to play rather than watch.

The only two people to shut down in this era came in the Citrus Bowl after the 2019 season when Trevon Diggs and Terrell Lewis started the draft early. Diggs’ absence opened the door for Josh Jobe to grab first-team snaps in the 35-16 win over Michigan and the cornerback would keep the job for all 13 games the following season.

Alabama’s high school is likely to look a lot different next season with DeMarcco Hellams graduating and upcoming NFL decisions for Battle, Branch, and possibly Eli Ricks.

“I feel like next year is probably going to be better than high school this year,” said Branch. “More teammates will be more comfortable and I expect great things.”

The help comes in the secondary from the #1 ranked recruiting class but no one can help in the Sugar Bowl. The Tide will be without 12 players who were on the list this season but entered the transfer window.

Saban took an “as is” approach to transfers. It feels like a challenge for Saban’s pride as she continues to train Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in Tuscaloosa before taking a break and heading to New Orleans on December 26th.

“We’re going to play with a really good team that is not short of the old standard, strong, very disciplined, well trained – so there’s just no way it’s going to be easy to prepare for a team like that,” said Saban. “So for us to have the right mindset and a good respect for what it takes to be successful against such a good team – I think it’s essential and how we go about trying to prepare for this game.”

Michael Casagrande is a reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @employee or on Facebook.

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