Alabama Football: How much will roster attrition hurt Sugar Bowl showing?

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama football is slated to play Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl on New Years Eve. The Crimson Tide are expected to be more vulnerable to “opt-outs” than the Wildcats, whether those be from NFL draft entrants or transfer portal departures.

A pair of contributors in wide receiver Traeshon Holden and starting offensive guard Javion Cohen have already announced their intentions to enter the NCAA transfer portal. Projected first round draft picks such as Bryce Young, Will Anderson Jr., and perhaps others should not be expected to suit up for the Sugar Bowl. Seniors that will be drafted, such as safety Jordan Battle, linebacker Henry To’o To’o, and offensive guard Emil Ekiyor Jr. may choose to sit out as well.

This could quickly become a difficult game for Alabama football if it is missing a large number of key players and starters. Another concerning factor is the difference in perception of the game’s importance between the two teams.

To college football traditionalists, the Sugar Bowl is one of the biggest and most prestigious bowl games a team can have the honor of playing in. Unfortunately, today’s college athletes don’t always see it that way.

An Alabama football team that has a national championship standard, and is disappointed to have missed the College Football Playoff, may view the Sugar Bowl as a meaningless consolation prize. Having grown accustomed to preparing for the giants and bluebloods of the sport this time of year, the Crimson Tide may have a hard time getting motivated to play the Kansas State Wildcats.

Conversely, this will be one of the biggest games in Kansas State’s history. The Wildcats will view a Sugar Bowl appearance against Alabama as their own national championship, and an opportunity to announce themselves to the world. Given that Kansas State has far fewer NFL prospects, the Wildcats are also liable to have their full roster, or close to it.

Alabama would do well to approach this game as one of importance. If it truly believes it was snubbed from the College Football Playoff, it should treat the Sugar Bowl as an opportunity to prove that it belonged.

Over the next few weeks, Alabama football fans will gradually find out how many players the Crimson Tide will be missing in New Orleans.

Next. Did Alabama lean too heavily on Bryce Young?. dark

If Nick Saban can achieve the difficult task of convincing this team to make the Sugar Bowl a statement game, it could be the perfect springboard into 2023.