Tide Goes Bowling In Shreveport

The official word was to be out Sunday night, but information was leaking early Sunday afternoon that Alabama would continue its unmatched bowl tradition. albeit with a team that hasn't played bowl worthy since mid-October.

Scott Ferrell of the Shreveport Times reported early Sunday afternoon that the PetroSun Independence Bowl would have Alabama of the Southeastern Conference taking on the Colorado Buffalos of the Big 12. Both teams have the bowl minimum six wins against six losses. The Crimson Tide limps into bowl season with four consecutive losses.

The 32nd annual Independence Bowl will be played at 7 p.m. CST on Sunday, December 30. The game is televised by ESPN.

Many expected the Liberty Bowl to choose Alabama for historical reasons. This is the 25th anniversary of legendary Alabama Coach Paul Bryant's final game, the Liberty Bowl at the end of the 1982 season. But the Liberty opted for Mississippi State to play Central Florida.

For most Alabama fans, the trip to Shreveport will go through Monroe, Louisiana, reminding the Crimson Tide of how woeful this team can be. ULM, located along Interstate 20 which connects Tuscaloosa and Shreveport, includes a Monroe exit. Alabama was a 21-14 loser to ULM a few weeks ago.

It is comforting that Colorado gave up 610 yards and 55 points to Nebraska in its final game of the season. It is frightening that the Buffalos won that game by two touchdowns.

Alabama and Colorado had one common opponent. Florida State defeated the Buffs in Boulder, 16-6, two weeks before the Seminoles bested Bama, 21-14, in Jacksonville.

Colorado is coached by Dan Hawkins, whose son Cody is the starting quarterback for the Buffalos. Cody is a true freshman who has completed 239 of 424 passes for 2,693 yards with 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

This will be the second consecutive Independence Bowl for Alabama, which went to the bowl with a 6-6 record last year and ended up with a losing season after falling to Oklahoma State, 34-31.

Alabama will be bowling in Nick Saban's first year as head coach of the Crimson Tide. Independence Bowl officials acknowledged that Saban's "name" in Louisiana was a factor in considering the Crimson Tide. Saban was formerly coach at LSU.

Alabama has national records for most bowl appearances (54) and most bowl victories (30).

Alabama and Colorado have met twice in bowl games. At the end of the 1969 season, Colorado defeated Alabama, 47-33, in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis. At the end of the 1991 season, Alabama defeated Colorado, 30-25, in the Blockbuster Bowl in Miami.

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