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December 8, 2013

Alabama to face Oklahoma in 2014 Sugar Bowl

It's not what the Crimson Tide wanted, but it's a heck of a consolation prize. The University of Alabama (No. 3, 11-1) was paired with Oklahoma (No. 11, 10-2) for the Jan. 2, 2014, Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, it was announced Sunday night during the BCS bowl selection show.

The Crimson Tide and Sooners are among a small handful of teams which could make an argument laying claim to being one of the best programs in the nation. Both are old money, so to speak, a pair of blue bloods.

And although it's not a chance at a history-making third national championship in a row the team sought, compared to some of the alternatives, New Orleans in January against one of the marquee teams in the history of college football isn't a bad runner-up prize.

"We're very, very excited to have the opportunity to play in the Allstate Sugar Bowl this year," UA coach Nick Saban said from the team banquet Sunday evening. "We've had a great standing tradition with the Sugar Bowl and the University of Alabama and it's been a wonderful experience for our players and our team. To play someone that has a tradition and respect that we have for the University of Oklahoma is a real honor for our team. Coach Bob Stoops is obviously done a fantastic job there. He's a good friend and we really respect all that he's done, so this should be a great game for the city of New Orleans and for the Allstate Sugar Bowl. We're certainly excited about having the opportunity to be a part of it."

It's the fifth BCS bowl Saban has led Alabama to in his seven seasons as head coach, three of which will have been played in New Orleans (2009 Sugar Bowl, 2011 BCS National Championship Game and 2014 Sugar Bowl). The Crimson Tide is 2-1 in those games and 5-1 in bowl games under Saban.

The teams have met four times through the years, including two bowl games with Alabama winning the 1963 Orange Bowl 17-0 and tying the 1970 Bluebonnet Bowl 24-24. Oklahoma holds a 2-1-1 advantage win the Sooners taking home-and-home series wins over the Crimson Tide in 2002 in Norman, Okla., (37-27) and 2003 in Tuscaloosa (20-13).

Clinton-Dix injury update
Junior free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix recently had surgery to correct a knee injury, but the All-American candidate is expected to be available as the team begins bowl practice.

"Ha Ha will be fine," Saban said. "You know, he had a scope, which probably in two weeks he'll be ready to practice and go in. It will be two weeks from the time of his surgery until we start practice again. We're not going to rush him back, but I certainly think he's going to be OK."

In 10 games, Clinton-Dix has 46 tackles in 2013 with two interceptions, four pass break-ups and six passes defended.

Reach Aaron Suttles at aaron@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0229.


Reach Aaron Suttles at aaron.suttles@tuscaloosanews.com or 205.722.0229.

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