(#4, #4)Alabama (12-1) vs (#7, #9) Utah (12-0)
New Orleans, LA
January 2, 7:00 PM
All Time Series: First Meeting
All Time Bowl Records: Alabama 31-21-3, Utah 10-3
Monday’s Line: Alabama -9.5
Total Offense, Scoring Offense (National Rank):
Utah: 403.6 ypg, (32nd), 37.4 ppg (15th)
Alabama: 367.2 ypg (56th), 31.2 ppg (30th)
Total Defense, Scoring Defense (National Rank):
Utah: 295.9 ypg (17th), 17.3 ppg (12th)
Alabama: 256.9 ypg (3rd), 13.0 ppg (6th)
The Crimson tide will wrap up another memorable season in its long, storied history Friday night with its 13th appearance in the Sugar Bowl. They’ll take on an undefeated Utah Utes team that first crashed the BCS in 2005, spanking Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl.
Much of the news this week has focused on the suspension of All-America LT Andre Smith. The Outland Trophy award winner violated unspecified team rules and will miss the final game of the season, and possibly his career. This puts added pressure on QB John Parker Wilson to make smart, accurate throws to prevent the Utes from stacking the box to take away the Tide’s power running game.
Smith’s absence won’t affect the Tide’s defensive gameplan though. That’s where the Tide have excelled all season, ranking in the top 6 in both total defense and scoring defense. And while the Utes certainly present a new set of challenges, some of what they run is similar to Florida’s attack, just without Tebow at the helm. Utah senior QB Brian Johnson is certainly no slouch though, throwing for 2600+ yds and 24 TDs on the season.
There’s no doubt that Andre Smith will be missed, but his absence won’t be enough to derail the Tide. This Alabama team is too sound and too disciplined to have a hiccup against a team that is not more talented. Saban will have the Tide ready to play and the SEC will continue its BCS dominance.
Alabama 24, Utah 14