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Crimson Tide begins practice ahead of the Sugar Bowl

Auburn Alabama Football
Vasha Hunt/AP
FR171624 AP
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) salutes the fans as he leaves the field following an NCAA college football game against Auburn, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

The Alabama Crimson Tide hits the practice field for the team’s first day of preparation for the upcoming Sugar Bowl. Alabama lost out on a shot at this year’s college football title following a regular season with losses to Tennessee and LSU. Instead, the Tide will face the Kansas State Wildcats in New Orleans. Alabama head coach Nick Saban says he hopes the team takes advantage of the opportunity to play against a good opponent.

“Well, we’re looking forward to it,” said Saban. “It’s exciting. It’s a challenge for us to prove against a really good team what kind of team we really are. I think our player will be excited about the challenge. It’s an honor for us to be in the Sugar Bowl.”

The Crimson Tide and newly crowned Big 12 champion Kansas State will meet for the first time at the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Eve. Alabama is headed to the Sugar Bowl for the seventeenth time after narrowly missing out on the four-team College Football Playoff because of losses at Tennessee and LSU on the last play of each game. The Tide came in at number five in final College Football Playoff ranking. Nick Saban says playing Kansas State will give the Tide a chance to prove what kind of team it really is.

“We’ve always had a lot of respect for Kansas State. They pay with a lot of toughness. They’re well coached. They’re a well-disciplined team. They’re ball hawkers. They attack the ball,” observed Saban. “I had a lot of respect for coach Snyder when he was there, and the great job he did for many many years.”

Observers are waiting for word on any star players for the Tide who may elect not to play in the Sugar Bowl. The Sugar Bowl could be the final college game for Alabama quarterback and 2021 Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young. He's eligible for the 2023 NFL draft and could even be the top player selected. Kansas State is 10-3 after handing TCU its first loss of the season in overtime of the Big 12 title game in Dallas.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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