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 the 2014 Sugar Bowl against the Oklahoma Sooners. Ranked atop the polls for almost the entire season, the Tide rolled on into third place to end the season after a miracle kick return against Auburn punched the Tigers’ ticket to California for the BCS national championship. So tonight at 8:30 EST / 5:30 PST, No. 3 Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC) will take on No. 11 Oklahoma (10-2, 7-2 Big 12) in the 2014 Sugar Bowl, which will be broadcast live on ESPN. You can also watch Sugar Bowl online free using a few different services.
If the Alabama Crimson Tide win the 2014 Sugar Bowl it will be their third straight BCS bowl victory, though the previous two were for the national title. A Sugar Bowl win would also likely push Alabama into the No. 2 overall 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 this one in 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.
Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Jalen Saunders is capable of breaking big plays through the air and on the ground. Against then-No.-6 Oklahoma State, Saunders scored a seven-yard touchdown with 19 seconds left that sealed the Sooners 33-24 win. Saunders only had 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.
But Alabama is Alabama, and they’ve inevitably been prepared for those Sooner advantages by coach Nick Saban. Saban and the Crimson Tide have had a full month to stew over their jaw-dropping season-finale loss to Auburn. Interestingly, the last time the top-ranked Tide were shocked in the SEC title game, they ended up in the Sugar Bowl. Alabama played that Sugar Bowl game against Utah, fell behind by 21 points just 11 minutes into the game, and eventually lost 31-17.
You can bet that Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron won’t let his team come out that flat again. Tonight’s 2014 Sugar Bowl is McCarron’s last college football game. Having thrown for 2,676 yards and 26 touchdowns this season, McCarron will look to engage the Alabama offense early and often. The most notable way to do that will be to hand the ball off to Crimson Tide running back T.J. Yeldon, who 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.
Between McCarron, Yeldon/Drake and Alabama’s talented receivers, there’s a reason Oklahoma’s 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.