"We got up a little bit earlier today but it was good because it's a lot like how we're going to have to get up for Monday," said Alabama Coach Mike Shula.
In his second bowl game as a head coach, Shula is looking to lead the Tide to its 30th bowl win in the school's 53rd postseason appearance. As a player, Shula was the starting quarterback in two Alabama bowl victories–a 24-3 win over USC in the 1985 Aloha Bowl and a 28-6 win over Washington in the 1986 Sun Bowl. Shula said he has fond memories about those bowl wins but added, "The things that I was always excited about as a player coming to a bowl game are some of the things why I am nervous as a coach."
The Crimson Tide is adding to its rich bowl history in its match-up with Texas Tech (9-2 overall, 6-2 in the Big 12 Conference). A big part of Alabama's bowl history has come at the Cotton Bowl. Alabama is making its seventh appearance in Dallas and has only played in two other bowl games more than the Cotton Bowl: the Sugar (12) and the Orange (8). The Tide is 2-4 in its previous Cotton Bowl appearances.
"We all know what the tradition is here (at Alabama), especially when you work here," said Shula. "The one thing I can say about the Cotton Bowl is that it is first-class. You can kind of see their tradition just because the way they do things. You can tell they have done it for a long time and they've done it well for a long time. Our guys are excited to be here. Everyone ought to really enjoy this treatment because it's special."
Alabama announced its permanent captains for the 2005 season– senior quarterback Brodie Croyle and senior linebacker DeMeco Ryans. The two will be immortalized with their handprints and footprints placed on display on near the Denny Chimes monument on the Alabama campus. Senior defensive tackle Rudy Griffin was named special teams game captain.
On Sunday, the Crimson Tide will conduct a private walk-through and take its official team picture at Cotton Bowl Stadium.
Kickoff for the 70th AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic is slated for 10:07 a.m. on Monday, January 2, 2006. The game will be televised nationally on FOX Sports and broadcasted nationally on radio by Westwood One.