College football: Are the Big 12 champions too hot for Alabama to handle in the Sugar Bowl?
New Orleans, Louisiana - After missing out on the College Football Playoff for the second time since 2014, the Alabama Crimson Tide will take on Big 12 champions Kansas State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
We've seen this scenario in the Sugar Bowl before! A Big 12 champion comes in with high hopes against an SEC team that has failed to make the CFP for the national title hunt.
Motivation will play a key role between Alabama and Kansas State, as their motives may be polar opposites.
Alabama expects to win the national championship every season, or to at least make the playoffs. Following a two-loss campaign, the Crimson Tide likely now just wants to get the 2022 season over with.
Kansas State, however, just knocked off an undefeated TCU team to claim the Big 12 Championship, and is hungrier for an even bigger win: a New Year's Six bowl title.
The Wildcats will face an Alabama team that the college football world has never seen before.
With 12 Crimson Tide players entering the transfer portal – the most of any program – coach Nick Saban is unsure who will play in the bowl game.
NCAA transfer portal and draft will affect Sugar Bowl rosters
Without these two powerhouse players mixed with the slew of athletes that opted to enter the transfer portal, including experienced receiver Traeshon Holden, the Sugar Bowl showdown for Alabama is expected to be the least anticipated game for the Crimson Tide under Saban's tenure.
Led by Henry To'oTo'o, Alabama's defense will need to be strong to stop the rough and tough Wildcats' offense that includes Deuce Vaughn, who is one of the most entertaining rushers in college football.
Standing at only 5-foot-6, the dynamic running back had eight 100-yard games, including last weekend's 130 rushing yards and a touchdown score in the Big 12 championship win over TCU.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl is set for December 31 at noon EST.
Cover photo: Collage: TIM HEITMAN / KEVIN C. COX / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP