2018 Orange Bowl: Everything You Need To Know About Alabama-Oklahoma Before Kickoff
The top two offenses in college football will square off on Saturday night in the second semifinal of the 2018 College Football Playoff.
SEC Champion and top-ranked Alabama will face Big XII Champion Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl in what should be a highly entertaining matchup. The game will feature both the top two scoring offenses in the nation along with the two top Heisman Trophy finishers this year. All eyes will be on Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray and Alabama signal-caller Tua Tagovailoa, but it might end up being the defense that determines the outcome in this one.
Will it be Alabama advancing to its fourth straight national championship game or Oklahoma knocking off the kings of college football and earning a spot in Santa Clara on January 7? Here's all you need to know before these two blueblood programs meet.
No. 1 Alabama (13-0, SEC Champions) vs No. 4 Oklahoma (12-1, Big XII Champions)
When: Saturday, December 29 at 7:00 p.m.
Where: Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL
Weather: It won't feel anything like winter at the game on Saturday. Temperatures are expected to reach 83 but humidity will make it feel about 90 degrees. By kickoff it will be in the upper 70s and stay there until the game ends.
TV: ESPN (Play-by-play: Chris Fowler, analyst: Kirk Herbstreit, sideline reporters: Laura Rutledge, Maria Taylor)
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (Play-by-play: Eli Gold, color analyst: John Parker Wilson, sideline reporter: Rashad Johnson). Listen on 95.3 the Bear and Tide 102.9/100.9 in Tuscaloosa or download the station apps to stream the game for free.
Spread: The Crimson Tide opened as a 14-point favorite and it's stayed there all week.. The total for this game opened at 79 and moved into the 80s, but we've seen it drop back down and settle in around 77.5 Alabama finished the year with an 8-5 record against the spread while these two teams combined to over the total 19 times in 26 combined games.
Series History: Alabama and Oklahoma are meeting for the sixth time in school history. The Sooners own a 3-1-1 record against the Tide in a series that dates back to 1963. In that first meeting, Bear Bryant's team won the Orange Bowl, 17-0, over No. 8 Oklahoma to finish the year 10-1.
Last Meeting: Saturday's game will be the first matchup for these two teams since the College Football Playoff was introduced. Alabama had been ranked No. 1 all season and were chasing a three-peat before an Iron Bowl loss derailed those goals. Nick Saban's team landed in the Sugar Bowl to face 11th-ranked Oklahoma. Vegas made Alabama a 17.5-point favorite as the Tide was expected to roll. Bob Stoops had different ideas. His team fell behind 7-0 early but would control the game the rest of the way. Quarterback Trevor Knight threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Sooners to a 45-31 win.
Last Game: Alabama and Georgia played another classic in the SEC Championship Game on December 1 but this time the script was flipped from earlier in the year. Tua Tagovailoa injured his ankle on the first drive of the game before throwing an interception. The sophomore didn't look like his normal self as he dealt with the injury although some drops didn't help. He would later have his other ankle rolled up on which forced him out of the game. Enter Jalen Hurts. The junior finished off the perfect Hollywood script by leading Alabama to a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns and a 35-28 comeback victory to keep the undefeated season alive.
Oklahoma got the chance to avenge its lone loss of the season in the Big XII Championship Game against Texas. The Sooners answered some questions about its defense by limiting the Longhorns to 27 points. Quarterback Kyler Murray threw for three touchdowns in a performance that likely won him the Heisman Trophy. Oklahoma outscored Texas 12-0 in the final quarter to win 39-27 and earn a spot in the College Football Playoff.