Dec. 7, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Alabama football team has accepted an invitation to play in the 2009 Allstate Sugar Bowl, it was announced Sunday. Alabama will be playing in its NCAA-leading 56th bowl game and second BCS bowl.
Alabama (12-1 overall, 8-0 in the Southeastern Conference) will meet the Utah Utes (12-0 overall, 8-0 Mountain West Conference) in the 2009 Sugar Bowl on Friday, January 2, 2009, with kickoff time schedule for 7 p.m. Central Time at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, La. The game will be nationally televised by FOX Sports and will mark UA's 10th national television appearance this year.
"First of all, let me thank everyone on the Sugar Bowl Committee, the City of New Orleans, and anyone that supports the Allstate Sugar Bowl for inviting the University of Alabama," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said Sunday night. "Our players are excited about coming. Our fans are excited about coming. This is a great opportunity for us to take part in a great event that has tremendous tradition. Personally, I've been involved here twice before, event thought it's a different school. There is no question this is a first-class event with first-class people and a great game.
"I'd also like to congratulate Utah and their team and Coach (Kyle) Whittingham on their season. They have done an outstanding job this season in all that they have accomplished. It's not easy to win 12 games in a season and go undefeated and it happens less and less. Certainly, their team has done an outstanding job and is a fantastic opponent for us. It's going to be a very competitive game and we are certainly looking forward to it."
Alabama will be playing in its 13th Sugar Bowl, more than any other bowl in school history. The Crimson Tide has posted an 8-4 record in its previous 12 Sugar Bowl and clinched national championships with Sugar Bowl wins in 1962, 1979, 1980 and 1993. Alabama's last Sugar Bowl appearance came on January 1, 1993, when the Crimson Tide knocked off No. 1 Miami, 34-13, to earn the school's 12th national championship following a perfect 13-0 season in 1992.
"We can't be more excited than with the matchup we've been able to put together here," Paul Hoolahan, Sugar Bowl Chief Executive Officer, said. "This is a dream come true. This is the 75th anniversary of the (first) playing of the Sugar Bowl Classic and to be able to bring back a school with the history and tradition and the long-term association with the Sugar Bowl that Alabama has had is just a remarkable occurrence for us. It's a gift from heaven as far as we're concerned. It's a great, great situation to a have such a highly ranked team and such a deserving team. Needless to say, we're equally as impressed with the opponent, another highly ranked team."
Alabama has played in more bowl games (56) and earned more bowl wins (31) than any team in college football history. The Crimson Tide has posted a 31-21-3 (.590) all-time bowl record and has made 34 of its 56 appearances in the Sugar (13), Orange (8), Cotton (7) and Rose (6) bowls. Alabama's only other BCS bowl appearance was a 35-34 overtime loss to Michigan in the 2000 FedEx Orange Bowl in Miami.