The Sugar Bowl: The Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Utah (12-0) vs. Alabama (12-1)
Jan. 2, 2009, 8 EST
The Line: Alabama -9
The Superdome will truly be electric for the third BCS bowl game of the college football season. This one has all of the makings of a legendary game.
We have the Goliath in the legendary Alabama program. We have the David in the BCS party-crashing Utah Utes. We have the Alabama coach returning to the site of his career-defining victory in Alabama's Nick Saban. We have a team going for a perfect season and the chance to show the world that they belong on the same stage with the national elite.
Utah makes its second BCS Bowl game appearance, but this time is much different from the first. While the Utes walked away from the Fiesta Bowl a few years back with a win, it wasn't so convincing and didn't prove much, as they beat a Pittsburgh team who wasn't ranked and who wouldn't have qualified for a BCS Bowl game by the current standards.
While Utah doesn't play in a BCS conference, they have been tested and have never been ones to shy away in the scheduling department. While they had hoped their win at Michigan would be more meaningful, it actually has less significance than their win against Oregon State, which came the week after the Beavers solidly defeated USC.
The Utes have played exceptional football, as no matter what conference a team is in, running the table isn't common.
The Utes will certainly have their hands full in this game. Alabama was supposed to be in a rebuilding mode this year but quickly showed the world they were way ahead of schedule when they pounded Clemson in their opener and won a few weeks later between the hedges against Georgia.
While Alabama hasn't been spectacular on offense, they have been steady, and many questions in this surround offensive tackle Andre Smith and how much effect his suspension will have on Alabama's chances of winning the game. Of course, Smith's absence isn't going to slow the Alabama defense down any.
See Mitch's Sugar Bowl pick against the spread.