Nick Saban said his gig as head coach at Michigan State was the job that jump-started his rise in the coaching world and he will always have deep feelings for that school and the team there.
Bobby Williams, Alabama's assistant coach, got his first head coaching job when he became the head coach after Saban left. Williams said he too will always be grateful for the job and that opportunity.
Jim McElwain, Alabama's offensive coordinator, also served as an assistant at Michigan State and has warm feelings about his time there.
All three know coaches that are roaming the Michigan State Spartan sidelines and are still friendly with several of the school's administration.
All three have said things similar to, "When you're a coach, you know that you can't always control how long you'll stay at one place, but friendships you make go beyond the job."
And if you ask any of the three coaches, all feel that Mark Dantonio has done an excellent job with his team and are glad to get to be in a game with the co-champions of the Big Ten.
Then there's Mark Ingram, whose mother and father both attended Michigan State, as did his grandfather, where both his father and grandfather were on the Spartan football team.
What will it be for Ingram to play against play against his ex-favorite team?
"I still cheer for them when I see them on Saturdays, especially in basketball. It'll be exciting to go up against a childhood favorite," said Ingram.
And who will his mother cheer for?
"Well, Alabama of course!" said Mrs. Ingram.
In a game with this many Michigan State connections, with this many physical and philosophical similarities as they share, this should indeed be an interesting bowl to watch.