If the Alabama Crimson Tide win the 2014 Sugar Bowl tonight it will be their third straight BCS bowl victory. The only problem as far as they’re concerned: the previous two were for the national title. A Sugar Bowl win tonight against the Oklahoma Sooners would likely push Alabama into the No. 2 ranking when the dust settles on Jan. 7. Considering the Tide’s history of dominance and point spread in the Sugar Bowl being two touchdowns in the Tide’s favor, it’s tempting to write-off the 2014 Sugar Bowl as an Alabama win. But the Oklahoma Sooners have players on both offense and defense who could pose more of a challenge for Alabama than people realize. There’s still going to be some intrigue when you watch tonight’s 8:30 EST / 5:30 PST 2014 Sugar Bowl game between No. 3 Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC) and No. 11 Oklahoma (10-2, 7-2 Big 12). The game will be broadcast in HD live on ESPN or you can watch Sugar Bowl online free using a few different services.
The Alabama Crimson Tide spent the entire college football season knowing they’d be in a BCS bowl game. They just didn’t expect it to be tonight’s 2014 Sugar Bowl, with their team ranked third in the nation and going up against the 11th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners. Ranked at the top of the college football polls for almost the entire season, the Crimson Tide “rolled on” into third place to end the season after a miracle kick return against Auburn gave the Auburn Tigers an unlikely ticket to the BCS national championship game.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide have had a full month to stew since that crazy last-minute loss to Auburn. In that game, Auburn’s Chris Davis returned a missed field-goal attempt by Alabama more than 100 yards for a touchdown on the final play, lifting then-No. 4 Auburn to a 34-28 victory over then-No. 1 Alabama. The last time the top-ranked Tide were shocked in the SEC title game like that they ended up in the Sugar Bowl. Emotionally spent, Alabama played that Sugar Bowl game against Utah and fell behind by 21 points just 11 minutes into the game, eventually losing the game 31-17.
In his collegiate finale, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron won’t let his team come out that flat again. Tonight’s 2014 Sugar Bowl is McCarron’s last football game in Alabama. Having thrown for 2,676 yards and 26 touchdowns this season, McCarron will look to engage the Alabama offense early and often and improve his NFL Draft stock. Ironically, one of the ways he’ll find success isn’t by his arm, but his ability to get the ball to Crimson Tide running back T.J. Yeldon. Yeldon rushed this season for 1,163 yards and 13 touchdowns. Along with Kenyan Drake, Alabama averaged 212 rushing yards per game during the regular season.
The Oklahoma Sooners aren’t missing offensive weapons of their own, though. Wide receiver Jalen Saunders is capable of breaking big plays through the air, and he can even do damage on the ground when pressed. In the Sooners’ last game of the season against then-No.-6 Oklahoma State, Saunders scored a seven-yard touchdown with 19 seconds left that sealed the Sooners 33-24 win. Saunders had a mere five receptions for 39 yards in that game, but considering Alabama’s secondary has been banged-up all season, Saunders could have a performance in tonight’s Sugar Bowl game that’s more in line with his season averages.
The Oklahoma Sooners special teams could also give the Alabama Crimson Tide fits when you watch Sugar Bowl online free. Special teams is the one area in which the Sooners have a distinct advantage over Alabama Crimson Tide. Saunders is an all-conference punt returner for the Big 12, Roy Finch leads the Big 12 in kickoff returns, and Michael Hunnicutt is a reliable placekicker.
Between McCarron, Yeldon/Drake and Alabama’s talented receivers, there’s a reason Oklahoma is a two-touchdown Sugar Bowl underdog. Sooners linebacker Eric Striker has excelled this season, but Alabama just has too many resources on offense for one man to handle. The 2014 Sugar Bowl is being televised live on ESPN starting at 8:30 EST / 5:30 PST. You can watch Sugar Bowl online free on ESPN3, which is also available through the ESPN mobile app and the ESPN app on Xbox 360. Doing so requires that you subscribe to the ESPN cable sports network through a satellite or cable package. You can also watch the Crimson Tide vs Sooners Sugar Bowl 2014 game online free on VIP Box, though we aren’t big fans of that ad-filled streaming outlet.