Alabama's Interim Head Coach Joe Kines and Oklahoma State Head Coach Mike Gundy participated in a teleconference shortly after the official announcement Sunday evening.
"It's a chance to see if we can't put a little bit of a sparkle on something that went dull all of a sudden," Kines said. "For the seniors that will be something they could take pride in going out in."
Alabama (6-6, 2-6 SEC) is set to make its best-in-the-nation 54th bowl appearance on Thursday, December 28 when the Crimson Tide meets the Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-6, 3-5 Big 12) at Independence Bowl Stadium in Shreveport. The game will be televised nationally by ESPN and kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. (CST).
"We are all very proud of the tradition here at The University of Alabama, and that tradition includes an illustrious bowl history." Mal Moore said in statement issued by Alabama's media relations department.
Alabama is tentatively scheduled to arrive Shreveport on Christmas Eve, and Oklahoma State will arrive on either the 23rd or 24th, a school representative said.
Alabama played Iowa State in the Independence Bowl in 2001, winning 14-13. Alabama (30-20-3) has more bowl wins than any team in college football history, including last year's 13-10 win over Texas Tech in the 2006 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. Alabama is bowling for the third consecutive year after playing in the Music City Bowl (2004) and Cotton Bowl (2006) the last two seasons. The 2006 PetroSun Independence Bowl marks the first time since 1992-94 that Alabama has gone bowling in three consecutive seasons.
"I know Alabama has played good defense all year and has offensive players that can make plays," Gundy said. "I think that both teams have the opportunity to do a few things differently. Obviously, Alabama's in a little different situation but that's a tough part of this business. We have a lot of respect for their staff."
The University of Alabama media relations offices issued statements from Alabama players on their reaction to the bowl selection.
"It means a lot to me personally," defensive end Wallace Gilberry said. "It's an opportunity to play some more football and it means a lot to this program. It is an honor for us and our coaches to be able to end this season on a high note."
Quarterback John Parker Wilson said, "We will have an opportunity to get some of the younger players some extra work and the extra practices are huge for us and our program as we move forward."