Nov 30, 2013; Auburn, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide reciever Amari Cooper (9) celebrates with O.J. Howard (88) after catching a 99 yard touchdown in the forth quarter against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium. RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama is a 15.5 point favorite. The last time Alabama was a 15.5 favorite against a ranked opponent was … wait, seriously? Auburn? This year? Seriously? Oh, come on, Vegas! Real funny.
Alabama and Oklahoma have played four times, with the Sooners leading the series 2-1-1. Total points scored in those four games? 81 apiece. And what does that mean? I have no clue, but if ESPN doesn’t have some muddled graphic to present that stat right at the time where it can ignore an important replay during the Sugar Bowl, I will be shocked. And if you’re looking to go to the fifth matchup between the two teams, you can find Sugar Bowl tickets from Go Tickets still available.
Alabama’s one win and tie came when Bear Bryant was at the helm. The two losing coaches were Dennis Franchione and Mike Shula. This just in: Nick Saban is currently Alabama’s coach, so we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.
Alabama currently has 36 NFL players. Oklahoma has 23. Thus, Alabama is a 36 percent better program for recruits looking to get to the NFL. You can’t argue with math.
Oklahoma’s football program started 12 years before it was a state. That’s kind of impressive.
Alabama has made 13 Sugar Bowl appearances (8-5 record), and Oklahoma six (4-2). LSU has also made 13 appearances, but they have a 6-7 record in those appearances, and should be ashamed of themselves for having a losing record. The first two losses? To Santa Clara. Santa Clara, LSU? Really? I don’t care if it was the 1930s. You have no excuse. Florida and Georgia are tied for third place in appearances, with nine apiece. They have 3-6 and 4-5 records, respectively, and should also be embarrassed by that, although both teams have more pressing things to be embarrassed about right now.
Alabama has seven Sugar Bowl MVPs, and Oklahoma has four. Of those 11 MVPs, it would have been most fun to go hang out with Kenny Stabler following his MVP performance in the 34-7 trouncing of Nebraska in 1967.
Alabama’s last appearance in the Sugar Bowl was in 1993, when Bama won the national title against Miami. Contrary to some football historians, Alabama did not, in fact, play in the 2009 Sugar Bowl, when a group of well-organized pranksters stole Alabama’s uniforms and took the field against Utah, presenting an almost comical display of football ineptness. Authorities believe the same group pulled similar frauds against Alabama in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl and the second half of the 2010 Iron Bowl.
Nick Saban led LSU to the national title in 2004 with a 21-14 win over Bob Stoops’ Oklahoma squad. Expect this fact to be referenced about 63 gatrillion times, including seven times during announcer Todd Blackledge’s “Taste of the Town” segment as he chows down on a muffuletta and a beignet.
Smart phones have forever killed some awesome moments. In 1996, I was sitting in a bar in Orlando, arguing with another patron over who had more national titles, Alabama or Oklahoma. My Sooner fan friend was adamant that Oklahoma had more. Exasperated, I said, “Man, I wish I had a sports almanac right now.” At that moment, a hand reached around from the adjoining booth, and a complete stranger handed me one. You kids today can’t have these kind of bar miracles.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. He's a Bama grad in a family full of them, but still resides in the Palmetto State amidst Tigers, Gamecocks and Bulldogs. You can e-mail him at [email protected] or follow him @StandardMike.