Nick Saban is in his first season at Alabama and in his 14th season overall with a record of 112-65-1 (.632). The Crimson Tide's offensive coordinator is Major Applewhite and the defensive coordinator is Kevin Steele.
Dan Hawkins is in his second season at Colorado with a record of 7-16 (.304) and in his 12th season overall with a record of 99-39-1 (.760). The Buffaloes' offensive coordinator is Mark Helfrich and the defensive coordinator is Ron Collins.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN ALABAMA HAS THE BALL
Andre Smith won the SEC Jacob's Trophy, presented to the league's best blocker. Smith is the only UA offensive lineman to start all 12 games at the same position this season. During his senior season, Hall surpassed nearly every career receiving record on the books at Alabama with 63 catches for 947 yards and 6 touchdowns in the regular season. Keith Brown played in 11 of 12 games and grabbed 21 catches for 321 yards and four touchdowns. Freshman Terry Grant ran for 891 yards and eight touchdowns.
Senior inside linebacker Jordon Dizon was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and Butkus Award runner-up. Dizon had 160 tackles, which ranked him second in the nation, though was first in solo stops (120). He also set a school record with 19 third down stops and tied for the team lead with 11 tackles for loss, which included four sacks. Dizon was also joined by senior cornerback Terrence Wheatley and junior defensive tackle George Hypolite as first-team all-Big 12 Conference selections.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN COLORADO HAS THE BALL
Wallace Gilberry recorded 9 sacks during the regular season and was second on the team in tackles with 72 including an astounding 22 tackles for loss and 15 quarterback hurries. Simeon Castille recorded 61 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and two interceptions. All-SEC First-Teamer Rashad Johnson leads the Tide with 81 tackles, including 5.5 TFLs and a team-high six interceptions.
Hugh Charles finished his CU career with 2,659 rushing yards, passing James Mayberry into sixth place all-time (1975-78; 2,544) and just shy of fifth place. He became the second player in school history to rush for 2,500 and catch 500 in passes in a CU career. In his last game versus Nebraksa, he had 327 all-purpose yards, the sixth most in school history; he had a career-high 33 carries for 169 yards (second most single game yards; 102 of them came post-contact), his 11th 100-yard game and sixth this season.
Leigh Tiffin was 22-31 on field goal attempts, including a long of 51 yards. P.J. Fitzgerald punted 60 times for a 38.2 yard average, downing 19 inside the 20 yard line. Javier Arenas is a danger in the return game, averaging 15.4 yards per punt return and 24.2 yards every kickoff return.
Matt DiLallo punted 61 times for a 40.11 average. He has six punts over 50 yards and places 22 inside the 20 yard line. Kevin Eberhart was 15-23 on field goal attempts, also nailing a 54 yarder. Wheatly averages 24.8 per kick return, while Charles averages 26.0 yards per return.
Record: Tied, 1-1 • Last: UA, 30-25 (1991 at Blockbuster Bowl)
The Crimson Tide will be making their NCAA-record 55th bowl appearance ...Alabama is bowling for the fourth consecutive season, something that has not happened since the Tide played in 10 straight bowl games from 1985-94...The Tide is playing in the same bowl game in consecutive seasons for the first time since making back-to-back Cotton Bowl appearances in 1981-82...Alabama will also be making its third appearance in the PetroSun Independence Bowl.