Alabama vs. Michigan State preview notes

Capital one Bowl Preview Notes (courtesy of UA Media Relations)
Alabama (9-3, 5-3 SEC) vs. Michigan St. (11-1, 7-1 Big Ten) Saturday, January 1, 2011 • 12 p.m. (CT) • ESPN Citrus Bowl (65,438) • Orlando, Fla.

THE GAME: Alabama makes its NCAA-record 58th bowl game appearance in the 2011 Capital One Bowl against the Michigan State Spartans. The No. 15/18 Crimson Tide square off with the No. 7/7 Michigan State Spartans at 12 p.m. (CT) on Saturday, January, 1, 2011, at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla. It is the first meeting on the football field between the Crimson Tide and Spartans. The game will be televised by ESPN. Eli Gold and Phil Savage will handle the radio call on the Crimson Tide Sports Network with Barry Krauss on the sidelines.

HEAD COACH NICK SABAN: Alabama head coach Nick Saban (Kent State, 1973) is in his fourth season with the Crimson Tide. He was named the school’s 27th head coach on January 3, 2007. Saban has compiled a 37-11 record (42-11 including five vacated wins in 2007) at Alabama while leading the Tide to two SEC Western Division championships, one conference title and one national championship. Saban holds a career record of 128-53-1 (133-53-1) as a collegiate head coach, while also serving at Toledo, Michigan State and LSU. Saban won his first national championship as head coach of the LSU Tigers in 2003, guiding the Tigers to a 13-1 record that season. Overall, Saban has coached four conference championship teams (1990 Mid-American, 2001 SEC, 2003 SEC and 2009 SEC) and 11 of his 14 teams have played in postseason bowl games with the Tide appearing in a bowl game each year under Saban’s direction. Saban is also one of two coaches (with Florida’s Urban Meyer) to win two BCS National Championships and the first to accomplish the feat at two different schools.

RANKINGS: Alabama checks in at No. 15 in this week’s Associated Press poll and No. 18 in the USA Today Coaches’ poll. Alabama is 16th in the final Bowl Championship Series rankings. Michigan State is ranked seventh in both the AP poll and the Coaches’ poll while holding a No. 9 ranking in the BCS rankings.

2010 Alabama SENIORS
Earl Alexander
Drew Bullard
James Carpenter
Luther Davis
Michael DeJohn
Preston Dial
Rob Ezell
Colin Gallagher
Mark Holt
JB Kern
Greg McElroy
Brian Motley
Kyle Pennington
Taylor Pharr
David Ross
Milton Talbert
Logan Thomas
Chavis Williams

MICHIGAN STATE SERIES: The Alabama Crimson Tide and Michigan State Spartans are meeting for the first time on the gridiron. The two teams are also slated for a home-and-home series in 2016-17.

ALABAMA’S CAPITAL ONE BOWL HISTORY: Alabama will be making its second appearance in the Capital One Bowl, which was formerly known as the Florida Citrus Bowl (1983-2002). Alabama’s only appearance came following the 1994 season in the 1995 Florida Citrus Bowl where they defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes, 24-17. Alabama running back Sherman Williams was selected as that game’s Most Valuable Player.

FAMILIAR COLORS FOR SABAN: Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban is very familiar with the school on the opposing sidelines. He was the head coach for the Spartans from 1995-99, posting a 34-24-1 record. After playing in just one bowl game in the previous four years, Michigan State made four postseason appearances in Saban’s five years at the helm. In 1999, Saban led his final Spartans team to a No. 7 national ranking as MSU finished in a tie for second in the Big Ten. The Spartans defeated Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State in the same year for the first time since 1965 and recorded six wins at home for the first time since the 1912 season. The Spartans’ performance that year landed them a spot in the Citrus Bowl (coached by current UA assistant Bobby Williams). Saban also spent time on the sidelines at Michigan State as an assistant coach, serving as the Spartans defensive coordinator from 1983-87.

MICHIGAN STATE/ALABAMA COACHING CONNECTIONS: The Alabama sideline features several Michigan State coaching connections beginning with Tide head coach Nick Saban (1995-99) and UA assistant Bobby Williams, who coached MSU from 1999-2002. There are also several former Michigan State assistants on the Alabama sideline, including Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Jim McElwain (MSU assistant head coach/receivers/special teams, 2003-05), the Tide’s assistant head coach and offensive line coach Joe Pendry (MSU offensive coordinator, 1980-81), assistant head coach and linebackers coach Sal Sunseri (MSU linebackers/special teams, 2000). In addition, Alabama associate athletics director for football Mike Vollmar served as the assistant athletics director and director of football operations for Saban and Williams at Michigan State. On the Michigan State staff, offensive coordinator Don Treadwell coached on Williams’ staff at MSU as receivers coach from 2000-02.

DANTONIO SERVED UNDER SABAN: Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio and Alabama head coach Nick Saban are also closely tied by their association with Michigan State. Dantonio spent six years (1995-2000) as Michigan State’s secondary coach, including five seasons under Saban (1995-99) and one under Williams (2000). Dantonio was promoted to associate head coach in 2000.

INGRAM HAS SPARTAN TIES: Junior running back Mark Ingram is the lone player on the Alabama roster from the state of Michigan, hailing from Flint. The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner has deep ties to the Spartans with both his father and maternal grandfather having played for Michigan State. Ingram’s father, Mark, Sr., lettered for the Spartans from 1983-86 earning All-Big Ten honors three times before going on to star in the NFL and winning a Super Bowl with the New York Giants. Senior ranks ninth in career receiving at Michigan State with 1,944 yards while ranking tied for eighth in career touchdown receptions with 14. His grandfather, Art Johnson, was a running back for the Spartans from 1956-58 and accounted for 826 yards on 164 career carries. He ranks 22nd on the school’s career yards per rush chart at 5.04 yards per carry.

ALABAMA EARNS NCAA-BEST 58TH BOWL BERTH: The University of Alabama football team makes its NCAA-leading 58th bowl appearance as the Crimson Tide is set to face the Michigan State Spartans in the 2011 Capital One Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011, at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla. This is Alabama’s second in the Capital One Bowl and first since 1995 (1994 season). Alabama has played in more bowl games (58) and earned more bowl wins (31) than any team in college football history. The Crimson Tide has posted a 31-22-3 record in its previous bowl appearances. Alabama is bowling for the seventh consecutive season, something that has not happened since the Crimson Tide played in 10 straight bowl games from 1985-94. UA played in the Music City Bowl (2004), Cotton Bowl (2005), Independence Bowl (2006-07), Sugar Bowl (2008) and BCS National Championship Game (2009) over the past seven years. Alabama’s bowl history dates back to the Jan. 1, 1926, Rose Bowl. The Tide has played in 16 different bowl games in its storied history. Alabama has played bowl games in 10 different states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Hawai’i, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas. Alabama players have garnered 42 “Most Valuable Player” awards in its 56 previous bowl games. Another 21 players and coaches have been selected to various all-time bowl teams.

NCAA Bowl Appearances (prior to the 2010 season)
Rank Team Appearances
1. Alabama 57
2. Texas 49
Tennessee 49
4. Southern California 48
5. Nebraska 47
6. Georgia 46
7. Oklahoma 44
8. Penn State 43
9. LSU 42
Ohio State 42

NCAA Bowl Victories (prior to the 2010 season)
Rank Team Wins
1. Alabama 31
Southern California 30
3. Penn State 27
4. Texas 25
Tennessee 25
6. Georgia 26
7. Oklahoma 25
8. Nebraska 24
9. Georgia Tech 22
Florida State 22

CAPITAL ONE BOWL NOTEBOOK: Alabama will be making its second appearance at the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Fla. The Crimson Tide played in the Florida Citrus Bowl (now Capital One Bowl) in 1995. Alabama defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes, 24-17, before a capacity crowd of 71,195 at the Citrus Bowl. The Crimson Tide rallied from a 17-14 fourth quarter deficit with 10 unanswered points in the final quarter. Crimson Tide running back Sherman Williams was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after rushing for 166 yards, catching eight passes for 155 yards, and scoring two touchdowns.

All-Time Results at Capital One Bowl
Jan. 1, 1995 Alabama 24, Ohio State 17

ALABAMA BOWL HIGHLIGHTS: Below are some highlights of the Crimson Tide’s storied bowl history that dates back to the 1925 season.

• Alabama made its bowl debut on Jan. 1, 1926, with a 20-19 come-from-behind win over Washington in the Rose Bowl. The Crimson Tide erased a 12-0 halftime deficit with a 20-point third quarter to earn its first bowl win. Pooley Hubert scored the first touchdown in UA bowl history with a 1-yard run in the third quarter. Johnny Mack Brown had two touchdown receptions (59 yards and 27 yards) in the win.

• The Tide captured back-to-back national championships with Rose Bowl wins in 1926 and 1927. In fact, the Tide’s first five bowl appearances came at the Rose Bowl. Alabama went 3-1-1 in those games with wins over Washington (1926), Washington State (1931) and Stanford (1935).

• UA great Harry Gilmer rushed for 113 yards in the 1946 Rose Bowl win over Southern California. The 113 rushing yards ranks 15th on the NCAA’s all-time bowl list for quarterback rushing stats. Gilmer had eight straight pass completions, the ninth-highest total in NCAA bowl history.

• Alabama’s Bobby Luna tied the NCAA bowl record with nine extra point attempts (made seven) in the Crimson Tide’s 61-6 win over Syracuse in the 1953 Orange Bowl. The Crimson Tide’s 55-point win is the largest margin of victory in NCAA bowl history. Alabama’s 61 points are the second most in bowl history after Nebraska posted a 66-17 win over Northwestern in the 2000 Alamo Bowl.

• All-American and future All-Pro linebacker Lee Roy Jordan set a bowl record with 31 tackles in Alabama’s 17-0 win over Oklahoma in the 1963 Orange Bowl.

• Alabama’s Tim Davis drilled four field goals on a snow-covered Tulane Stadium as Alabama beat Mississippi, 12-7, in the 1964 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Davis connected on 4-of-5 field goals in the win. The four made field goals are tied for the sixth most in NCAA bowl history, while the five attempts equal the fourth-most in history.

• UA quarterback Richard Todd had an excellent game against Penn State in the Dec. 31, 1975 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Todd completed 10-of-12 passes (.833) in the Crimson Tide’s 13-6 win over the Nittany Lions. Todd’s .833 completion percentage is the fifth-highest in NCAA bowl history.

• Alabama defeated Illinois, 21-15, in Coach Paul Bryant’s final game as head coach of the Crimson Tide on Dec. 29, 1982 at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. On that frigid night, senior defensive back Jeremiah Castille recorded an Alabama and Liberty Bowl record three interceptions en route to game MVP honors.

• Alabama captured the school’s 12th national title with a 34-13 win over No. 1-ranked Miami in the 1993 Sugar Bowl (1992 season). Derrick Lassic earned MVP honors with 135 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

• The Crimson Tide’s most recent national title, the school’s 13th, came in the 2010 Citi BCS National Championship Game following the 2009 season. The Tide defeated the Texas Longhorns, 37-21. Mark Ingram was named the Offensive MVP while Marcell Dareus was selected as the Defensive MVP.

ALABAMA’S BOWL BREAKDOWN: Alabama has played in 16 different bowl games since its first bowl appearance following the 1925 season (1926 Rose Bowl). Overall, Alabama has made 35 of its 57 bowl appearances in the Cotton, Orange, Rose or Sugar Bowls. Alabama has a .500 or better winning percentage in 13 of the 17 different bowls. Below is the record breakdown at each game in which the Crimson Tide has played.

Alabama’s Bowl Breakdown
Bowl (Games) UA Record
Sugar Bowl (13) 8-5 (.615)
Orange Bowl (8) 4-4 (.500)
Cotton Bowl (7) 3-4 (.429)
Rose Bowl (6) 4-1-1 (.750)
Liberty Bowl (4) 2-2 (.500)
Sun Bowl (3) 3-0 (1.000)
Independence Bowl (3) 2-1 (.667)
Gator Bowl (2) 1-1 (.500)
Bluebonnet Bowl (2) 0-0-2 (.000)
Music City Bowl (2) 0-2 (.000)
BCS Championship Game (1) 1-0 (1.000)
Aloha Bowl (1) 1-0 (1.000)
Blockbuster Bowl (1) 1-0 (1.000)
Capital One [Citrus Bowl] (1) 1-0 (.1000)
Hall of Fame Bowl (1) 1-0 (1.000)
Outback Bowl (1) 1-0 (1.000)
Fiesta Bowl (1) 0-1 (.000)

ALL-TIME BOWL OPPONENTS: Alabama has played 35 different opponents in its illustrious bowl history. The 2011 Capital One Bowl will mark the first time in history that Alabama and Michigan State have squared off in a bowl game.

CONFERENCE BOWL BREAKDOWN: Alabama has faced teams from 10 different conferences and six independents in its bowl history. Taking into consideration all of the expansion and conference realignment, the Crimson Tide has played seven bowl games against teams from the Big Ten Conference and boasts a 4-3 (.571)record in those games. The most recent bowl game against a Big Ten foe was the 2004 Music City Bowl where the Tide lost, 20-16, to Minnesota. Alabama has played 24 bowl games against those teams the currently comprise the Big 12, which is the most of any conference for the Tide. The Crimson Tide’s most success has come against the Pac 10 Conference, where Alabama has compiled a 7-1-1 (.833) all-time bowl record.

Bowl Record vs. Conferences
Conference UA Record
ACC 1-1 (.500)
Big East 1-2 (.333)
Big Ten 4-3 (.571)
Big 12 10-9-1 (.525)
Mountain West 0-1 (.000)
Pac 10 7-1-1 (.833)
SEC 1-0 (1.000)
Independents 5-4 (.556)

SABAN, UA COACHES BOWL RECORDS: Alabama head coach Nick Saban is the 12th coach to lead the Crimson Tide to a post-season bowl game. Saban made his Alabama bowl debut during the 2007 season with a 30-24 win over Colorado in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. Saban captured the school’s 13th national championship with a win over Texas in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game in Pasadena, Calif. He made his Alabama BCS bowl debut in the 2009 Sugar Bowl with a 31-17 loss to Utah. He has taken three different teams to bowl games, including Michigan State, LSU and Alabama. He is 5-6 (.455) in his 11 career bowl games. Saban has made four career BCS Bowl appearance, including two at LSU and two at Alabama. He led the Tigers to 47-24 win over Illinois in the 2002 Sugar Bowl and then won the BCS National Championship by leading LSU to a 21-14 win over Oklahoma 2004 Sugar Bowl. Saban’s first bowl game as a head coach came on December 29, 1995, when he led Michigan State to a berth in the Independence Bowl. The Spartans lost to LSU, 45-36, in Shreveport. He was 0-3 in bowl games at Michigan State. He also led the Spartans to the 2000 Capital One Bowl, but did not coach the game after taking the head coaching position at LSU. Saban was 3-2 (.600) in bowl games at LSU.

UA COACHES BOWL RECORDS
Coach Wins Overall Record
Paul Bryant 12 12-10-2 (.520)
Gene Stallings 5 5-1 (.833)
Frank Thomas 4 4-2 (.667)
Ray Perkins 3 3-0 (1.000)
Nick Saban 2 2-1 (.500)
Wallace Wade 2 2-0-1 (.833)
Dennis Franchione 1 1-0 (1.000)
Mike Shula 1 1-1 (.500)
Red Drew 1 1-2 (.333)
Bill Curry 1 1-2 (.333)
Mike DuBose 0 0-2 (.000)
Joe Kines 0 0-1 (.000)

ALABAMA COACHES BOWL EXPERIENCE: Alabama’s on-the-field coaching staff has combined to work 118 bowl games, including this year’s Capital One Bowl. Coach Saban and three UA assistant coaches have been directly involved in multiple bowl games that decided the national championship. The list includes Burton Burns (Nebraska, 1971 & Alabama, 2010), Bo Davis (LSU, 2003 & Alabama, 2010) and Kirby Smart (LSU, 2003 & Alabama, 2010). Burns played in four straight New Year’s Day bowls under head coach Tom Osborne at Nebraska. In 1971, Nebraska won the national championship with a 38-6 win over Alabama in the 1972 Orange Bowl. Burns was on four Nebraska teams that outscored Alabama, Notre Dame, Texas and LSU, 110-25. He also coached under Tommy Bowden at Tulane and Clemson and was on the staff of the Green Wave’s only undefeated 12-0 team that beat Brigham Young in the 1998 Liberty Bowl. Davis and Smart were on Saban’s LSU staff that won the 2003 BCS National Championship with a 21-14 win over Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.