NEW ORLEANS – Having won three of the last four national championships, there's no doubt there is a just a little bit different level of respect for Alabama.
Oklahoma hasn't been bashful in saying all along the goal was to hopefully play the Crimson Tide this season. Of course that was with both sides obviously hoping for the chance to play for yet another BCS national championship.
"I would have thought we'd be in Pasadena, but that's not how it worked out," senior center Gabe Ikard said. "Obviously they're a great team, still probably the best in the country except for one crazy play so we're very excited for the opportunity to see how talented they are and the success they've had in the last five years."
Weeks of being called the underdog has certainly gotten a little underneath OU's skin but that doesn't mean the Sooners aren't respecting Alabama and what it brings to the table.
"I don't get tired of hearing it," said senior wide receiver Jalen Saunders about the national respect of Alabama and the SEC. "They deserve respect, but I am definitely excited about the opportunity to challenge their name."
No. 3 Alabama meets No. 11 OU in the 2014 AllState Sugar Bowl on Thursday night at the Mecedes-Benz Superdome.