When the 2013 bowl matchups were first released, many experts pointed to this game as a potential blowout. The Alabama Crimson Tide, a 16-point favorite, will battle the Oklahoma Sooners on January 2nd in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. While there's a reason you play every game, I don't expect this one to be any different than it looks on paper. Below are my top 5 reasons why 'Bama will top OU in this BCS game.
5. A.J. McCarron
Simply put, McCarron is the best player on the field in this game. The senior QB for Alabama is having another stellar season, posting a 26-5 TD-INT ratio. The unquestioned leader for this Crimson Tide team, A.J. will guide this club to victory, especially considering how hungry he must be after the Iron Bowl loss to Auburn. McCarron will throw for over 250 yards and two scores, with no interceptions.
4. Bob Stoops in BCS Games
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has appeared in a bowl game each of his first 15 seasons. Problem? He's only 7-7 so far, including a 3-5 mark in BCS games. This just isn't good enough for an Oklahoma squad that is loaded with talent every year. Stoops has lost less meaningful games with better teams than this. Stoops will again get stomped in a big game. An embarrassing loss, like last year's 41-13 shalacking to Johnny Football in the Cotton Bowl, could just cost Stoops his job. Who knows? Crazier things have happened.
3. Oklahoma's Offense on 3rd Down
The Sooners come in to this game with just a 38.9% conversion rate on 3rd down. That ranks them 76th in the country. OU won't win this game with mediocre 3rd down numbers, considering Alabama is a top-tier defense in any ranking. If the Tide's defense can get off the field on a regular basis, it'll be a long day for the Sooners.
2. Oklahoma's TD Efficiency in the Red Zone
OU's 3rd down struggles are only compounded by their woeful red zone touchdown efficiency. The Sooners rank 110th in this stat, scoring a touchdown on an even 50% of all red zone trips. This is simply embarrassing for a program like Oklahoma. OU ranks third in field goals in the red zone, which is great, if they're playing Pitt. Unfortunately, the Sooners won't be able to beat Alabama 15-14, so they better find a way to punch the ball into the endzone. My guess? They won't.
1. Nick Saban in BCS Games
For as mediocre as Bob Stoops is in BCS games, Alabama coach Nick Saban is equally brilliant. The Tide's head man is 5-1 in BCS bowls, with the last 3 contests being national title victories. Saban is the ultimate schemist, gameplanner, and adjuster. Nothing Oklahoma throws at him will cause problems for his Alabama squad. Now, with a huge extension signed, look for Nick Saban to punish the Sooners in this one.
PREDICTION: ALABAMA 30, OKLAHOMA 6