Kansas State knew its bowl destination had been ensured the moment Ty Zentner’s overtime field goal split the uprights: the 89th Allstate Sugar Bowl.
What wasn’t certain was the opponent, as a potential downgrade of TCU from “playoff participant” to “kicked down to the Alamo Bowl” would have directly impacted the Sugar Bowl’s SEC pick.
But the playoff committee put the proper value on TCU’s lone loss, and kept them in the field as the #3 seed, thus freeing the Sugar Bowl to select the #5 Alabama Crimson Tide (10-2, 6-2 SEC) as #9 K-State’s opponent.
On paper, this game and the Orange Bowl (#6 Tennessee vs #7 Clemson) figure to be the best of the non-playoff bowl games based on final rankings. DraftKings has not yet posted an opening line yet, but ESPN’s Chris Fallica says to just mash the button on Kansas State no matter what it is.
The Caesar’s Superdome in New Orleans will host the game at 11:00am on Saturday, December 31. This is Kansas State’s first visit to New Orleans for a bowl; it will be Alabama’s 17th appearance in the traditional post-season home of the SEC champions prior to the BCS, and they have a record of 9-7 in their prior appearances.
It will be the first meeting ever between the two teams. The last time K-State played an SEC team for the first time ever in a bowl game, it worked out pretty well as the Wildcats thrashed Tennessee in the Cotton Bowl following the 1999 season.