Whether it's the host site of the BCS National Championship or not, the Sugar Bowl is always a must-watch event each January. Often hosting the SEC champion (or runner-up) and another at-large team of its choosing, the game always features a rowdy atmosphere at the Superdome in New Orleans.
As the College Football Playoff nears in 2015, this will be the final time the Sugar Bowl is a BCS bowl game. It'll look to feature the SEC and Big 12 champs going forward. This season will mark its 80th anniversary in the college football world.
Date and time, ET: Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, at 8:30 p.m. ET
TV channel: ESPN
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Stadium: Superdome; 72,000 capacity
Tickets: Find available seats here.
Last year's score: Louisville 33 - Florida 23
Last year's attendance: 54,178
Last year's TV rating: 6.4 Nielsen
Last year's payout for each school: $17 million per team
Team with the most all-time appearances: Alabama and LSU are currently tied with 13 appearances. This will be Alabama's 14th appearance.
Team with the most all-time wins: Alabama; 8-5
Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC)
The Crimson Tide seemed to be well on their way to yet another BCS National Championship appearance before being stunned in what some are calling the greatest finish in college football history. A 109-yard kick return from Auburn just about ended any chance Alabama had at playing for the title, instead sending the Tide to a BCS bowl game.
Now, as AJ McCarron plays his final college game, the Tide will look to go out with a bang. Other than Auburn, Alabama blew out just about every team it faced in 2013 with an average margin of victory of 30 points. Its defense ranked second nationally in points allowed despite being a bit inexperienced. That being said, the unit is still littered with future NFL players. The offense quietly put up nearly 39 points a week behind McCarron and one of the top rushing attacks in the country, led by T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake.
While its kicking woes are well-documented by now, this team remains one of the very best (if not the best) in all the land. And given how mad Alabama will probably be this bowl season after having its national title dreams shattered in Auburn, it would not surprise anyone if the Tide came out with a serious edge.
Last bowl game: 2013 BCS National Championship Game vs. Notre Dame, 42-14 win
Last year without a bowl: 2003
All-time bowl record: 35-22-3
Head coach's bowl record: Nick Saban, 8-6
Oklahoma (10-2, 7-2 Big 12)
The Sooners finished a strong regular season at 10-2, and while they did not end up winning the Big 12, they have to be at least somewhat satisfied with the results, thanks to a season-ending victory over rival Oklahoma State.
Falling against Texas in the Red River Rivalry was the only real misstep this season for Bob Stoops’ squad, as a 41-12 loss against eventual Big 12 champion Baylor can be somewhat excused. Considering that they accomplished those 10 wins with several different quarterbacks seeing time, and it’s a solid year, despite preseason hopes of another Big 12 championship.
On offense, running back Brennan Clay carries a good amount of the rushing responsibility, having run for a team-high 913 yards on the ground, to go with six touchdowns. Frank Shannon leads the Sooner defense with 85 tackles (7.0 for loss), with 6’4, 261-pound defensive end Charles Tapper keying the pass rush with 5.5 sacks on the year.
Last bowl game: 2013 Cotton Bowl vs. Texas A&M, 41-13 loss
Last year without a bowl: 1998
All-time bowl record: 27-18-1
Head coach's bowl record: Bob Stoops, 7-7