Orange Bowl: What to Know

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Orange Bowl
Heisman finalists Tua Tagovailoa and Kyler Murray pose together

In collaboration with M!KEDROPSPORTS

Capital One Orange Bowl

Alabama Crimson Tide (13-0) vs Oklahoma Sooners (12-1)

Date: Saturday, December 29 at 7 pm CT

Location: Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, FL

College Football Playoff history

In the five year history of the playoffs, this is Alabama’s fifth appearance. The Tide are 5-2 overall, with a 2-1 Championship Game record.

Oklahoma is 0-2, losing in 2015 to Clemson and 2018 to Georgia.

Orange Bowl history

Orange Bowl originated in 1935. Last year’s result saw Wisconsin beat Miami (FL), in a traditional non-playoff Orange Bowl.

Oklahoma will appear in their record 20th Orange Bowl (12-7) while Alabama will be appearing for the ninth time (4-4).

Oklahoma’s most recent appearance was in the CFB Playoffs in 2015, a loss to Clemson. Their last Orange Bowl win came in 2001 against Florida State in the BCS Championship Game.

Alabama has not appeared since 2000, which resulted in a loss to Michigan. Their last win in the Orange Bowl came in 1966.

Alabama bowl history

Alabama has the most bowl wins all-time (40) and second most losses (25). Oddly enough, they also have the most ties (3). 

The Tide have won two of the last three National Championships and are looking for their fourth straight championship game appearance. 

Nick Saban is 10-4 in bowl games at Alabama. The last time they played a bowl game in Miami, they beat Notre Dame in the 2012 BCS National Championship game.

Oklahoma bowl history

Since the last time these two teams met – a Sooners win over Alabama in the 2014 Sugar Bowl – Oklahoma has lost three of their last four bowl games. Those losses have come to Clemson (twice) as well as Georgia with a win versus Auburn. 

This is Oklahoma’s fourth consecutive New Year’s Six bowl game. Dating back to 1999, Bob Stoops first year, Oklahoma is 3-5 versus SEC teams in bowl games.

Series history

Oklahoma has beaten Alabama three out of five times, but Alabama has just one win in five meetings. These teams tied in the 1970 Bluebonnet Bowl. They split their other two bowl meetings with Alabama winning the first-ever game between the schools in the 1963 Orange Bowl. Oklahoma won the most recent meeting, 45-31 in the 2014 Sugar Bowl. Oklahoma won both “on-campus” games winning in Norman in 2002 as well as in Tuscaloosa in 2003.

Game Notes

Players to Watch 

The obvious answer for both teams is Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray, who won the Heisman along with Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa, who was the runner up. But because that’s obvious, we’ll focus on the top WRs of each star QB.

Latest From FPC on SportsCastr

Alabama: Jerry Jeudy, WR – Jeudy led the Tide with 12 touchdown receptions along with 1,103 yards on 59 catches.

Oklahoma: Marquise Brown, WR – Tied for the Sooners lead with 10 touchdown catches and caught 75 passes for 1,318 yards.

Alabama 2018 Season

Tide finished the regular season 12-0 and won a dramatic SEC Championship game vs Georgia, in a rematch of last year’s National Championship game. The Tide were barely tested for most of the year. LSU seemed like they would be the toughest challenger, and Alabama went on the road and beat them 29-0.

Alabama’s offense averaged 47.9 ppg, second most in the country behind Oklahoma, and the defense allowed just 14.8 ppg, fourth in the country.

Tagovailoa didn’t win the Heisman Trophy, but he was outstanding all year, throwing 37 touchdown passes and just 4 interceptions. He averaged 11.4 yards per attempt while completing 67% of his passes.

Oklahoma 2018 Season

For the second straight year, Oklahoma won the Big 12 Championship, and did so with one loss (finishing 12-1). That one loss came against Texas, but they would later avenge it by beating them in the Big 12 title game.

Oklahoma had the highest scoring offense in college football. After the loss to Texas, they would go on to score 50 points in five of their final six games. The issue that plagued the Sooners all year is that in those six games, their opponent broke 40 points in each of the last four games.

Kyler Murray became the second straight Oklahoma QB to win the Heisman Trophy, following up Baker Mayfield’s 2017 campaign. Murray threw for over 4,000 yards (4,053), 40 touchdown passes, 11 touchdown runs, and seven interceptions.

Final Analysis 

These are the two highest scoring offenses in football, both on a per game basis and in total points scored in 2018. The difference is the defense. Alabama’s is number four in points allowed, while Oklahoma’s is near the bottom of the FBS. Both teams can score in bunches and Alabama has proven they can slow down a hot offense, but if Oklahoma can’t get a stop, this game won’t be close.

For more college football talk, you can follow me at M!KEDROPSPORTS, on twitter @msschneid or instagram @mikedropsports

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