We’re a couple of days from kick-off and Tony Breland of Bama Hammer, the Alabama Crimson Tide site on Fansided, stopped by to answer a few questions concerning the 2014 Allstate Sugar Bowl. Here is what he had to say:
1. What match-up most interests you between the Sooners and Tide?
Breland: I’m interested in seeing who comes out at quarterback for Oklahoma. While the offense won’t change all that much, Trevor Knight brings a little added threat with his feet that might give Alabama some trouble. Alabama has to play its assignments well, and not get caught up in trying to find the football to be able to contain a running QB.
2. What are your thoughts on Bob Stoops’ SEC comments and do you think they’ll be addressed Thursday night?
Breland: I think the Stoops’ comments have more or less blown over (we covered it here), but if the media are itching for some controversy, they may pick it back up. There’s plenty to examine about this game without going back to what was basically a little gamesmanship by the OU coach.
3. Do you believe motivation (an Iron Bowl letdown) will be any factor for the Crimson Tide?
Breland: Alabama fans are pretty concerned about which Crimson Tide will take the field after losing their last game; will they come out motivated as they did against Michigan State, or flat like they did against Utah. I think this team is not going to look like that soft, entitled squad that lost to the Utes. Instead, Oklahoma should expect Alabama’s best game, with leadership on both sides of the ball making sure everyone plays to their potential.
4. What area of Oklahoma’s game concerns you the most, if any?
Breland: While Oklahoma has played it close to the vest on who will be under center, my concern is less with what the Sooners do than whether Alabama plays to its level. If Alabama’s front 7 can keep OU from getting their running game going, and the secondary can play above its head, points will be hard to come by for the Sooners.
On offense, AJ McCarron needs to play the game the way he has all year; staying within himself, making good decisions and letting the game come to him. Alabama has a very balanced attack that – if Alabama’s coaches don’t get stubborn and make the correct adjustments – should keep OU off balance.
5. How do you see this game ending?
Breland: I think Alabama will play conservative, open it up in the middle rounds, and play defense in the end to hold off the Sooners. I predict Alabama 31-17.