Alabama Football: Crimson Tide QBs and the Sugar Bowl

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

After the regular season ended, there was some expectation Bryce Young would make a reasonable business decision and not play in the Sugar Bowl. Instead, he made a decision from the heart. Opting-out, on his Alabama football teammates, was a decision Bryce could not make.

The welcome decision changed much about the upcoming Sugar Bowl. Many Alabama football fans were thinking the 2023 Jalen Milroe vs. Ty Simpson competition would begin against Kansas State.

It could be Milroe and Simpson will get some valuable snaps against the KSU Wildcats. More likely Bryce Young will not give way until the Alabama Crimson Tide has the game firmly in hand.

That might take a while. Alabama Football will get KSU’s best shot, just as it does every time it takes the field. Kansas State leads the Big 12 conference in Scoring Defense, at just 20.1 points per game. Against ranked teams, the Wildcats slide to No. 3 in the Big 12, at a still respectable 29.3 points per game.

To go along with a strong defense, Kansas State does little to beat itself. The Wildcats excel in turnover margin, to lead the Big 12 and be ranked No. 5 among all FBS teams. KSU also stands out as a disciplined team, averaging only 43.2 penalty yards per game.

Alabama Football and Kansas State Opt-Outs

Like the Crimson Tide, Kansas State is expected to have no opt-outs for the Sugar Bowl game. Alabama will, of course, be short-handed due to Transfer Portal players.

Kansas State star running back, Deuce Vaughn may use the Sugar Bowl to determine whether to leave Manhatten after three seasons and move on to the NFL. The former 3-Star recruit is an explosive player, whose speed is used in rushing and receiving. He has over 4,700 combined rushing and receiving yards in his KSU career and was No. 3 among Big 12 running backs in 2022, at 109.62 rushing yards per game. Vaughn led all Big 12 running backs in 2022, receiving yards per game.

Vaughn is not the only KSU over-achiever (based on recruit rankings). The same can be said about many Kansas State players. Alabama will have a decided advantage in elite talent. But Chris Kleiman’s Wildcats are capable of giving the Crimson Tide a tussle. The game could be close into the second half. It could also not be close at all, with the Crimson Tide focused on a statement win to finish its Playoff-less season.

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Alabama football fans will gladly take a win and another opportunity to see some Bryce Young magic. A quarterback competition can wait until spring.