After missing the national title game by one second and about 105 yards, Alabama returns to the field on Jan. 2 to face Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.
This isn’t the game that anyone in Tuscaloosa wanted, but it is a chance for the Crimson Tide to finish the season strong and give their exiting juniors and seniors a fitting sendoff. They have to treat it like any other game.
Recovering from the Iron Bowl loss that Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart called “surreal and sickening” takes time, and the Crimson Tide have had more than a month to recover. During that month, quarterback AJ McCarron won the Maxwell Award and came in second for the Heisman, linebacker C.J. Mosley won the Butkus Award, sources said Nick Saban was hired by Texas except he was given an extension and a raise by Alabama, and a few high school recruits committed, decommitted and said to wait until February. You know, a typical December in college football.
Now with a real life football game within reach, Alabama’s main mission against Oklahoma is caring about the game.