The list of Power 5 teams Kansas State has never played is relatively short, and for the most part consists of ACC teams both past and present (Clemson, Duke, both North Carolinas, Virginia, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, and Maryland). The Cats have also never played Utah nor Washington State, Georgia nor Ole Miss.
There’s one more team on that list, but come Sunday morning they won’t be any longer. Finally, for good or ill, K-State will have a football game on the record against the mightiest program in the South: Alabama.
The 9th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats (10-3, 7-2 Big 12) face the 5th-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (10-2, 6-2 SEC) in the 89th Annual Allstate Sugar Bowl. We refer to it that way to avoid confusion, as “2022 Allstate Sugar Bowl” could be confused with the other one back in January.
In addition to being K-State’s first encounter with Alabama, it is their first trip to the Sugar Bowl. Alabama will be making their 17th appearance in the game, with a 9-7 record in previous contests. The Cats have a 10-13 record in bowl games, and are seeking their third straight bowl victory over the SEC having beaten Texas A&M and LSU in the 2016 and 2021 Texas Bowls. A win would also be their fourth straight win over the SEC, their last loss being the regular season game against Mississippi State in 2018. Since then, the Cats have beaten the Bulldogs in the return game in 2019, LSU in the aforementioned Texas Bowl, and Missouri earlier this season.
The soil of the state of Louisiana, however, has been a thorn in K-State’s side. K-State has never won a game in the state, losing to Tulane in 1988 in the very same stadium they’ll be visiting Saturday, at Lafayette in 2009, to LSU in Baton Rouge in 1980, and in their very first bowl game ever back in 1982, a loss to Wisconsin in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport.
Alabama, meanwhile, sports a decidedly-mortal 10-14-2 record against current Big 12 teams, although if one looks at their record against the post-realignment lineup that changes to 22-5. In this particular case, replacing Oklahoma and Texas with Cincinnati and Houston is a terrible trade-off, as the departing schools have a gaudy 10-4-2 record against the Tide, while the incoming schools are an abysmal 1-16. The win was courtesy of UCF; Alabama has beaten BYU once. Cincinnati and Houston? 0-15. Should K-State come out on top Saturday, they’ll join Oklahoma State as the only current Big 12 teams with a 1-0 record against Bama.
Saturday, December 31, 11:00am CT at the Caesars Superdome (68,500) in New Orleans, Louisiana.
If you’re still thinking about making the trip to New Orleans, there are reasonable tickets to be had. You could purchase fresh tickets from that ticket seller nobody likes for anywhere between $105-$325, but there are a lot of resale tickets available via third party resellers as low as $20. If you expect to sit anywhere but the upper deck, however, expect to shell out at least a couple of Benjamins per seat.
Who cares? It’s indoors.
Then again, with the weather being the way it has been for the last week, perhaps your concerns are more related to, say, pregame entertainment in the bacchanal of New Orleans. Never fear, friends; highs will be in the high 60s to low 70s for the rest of the week, although there’s some rain in Friday’s forecast. The temperatures in New Orleans aren’t expected to drop below 57 even overnight for the remainder of 2022; if you plan to stay in the Crescent City for New Year’s Eve, it shouldn’t be below 60 when the ball drops. So go enjoy yourselves if you’re itching to make the trip.
Alabama opened as a 6-point favorite, and K-State closed to within a three-point margin over the first week. But as announcements have given the impression that Alabama’s star players who might have skipped the bowl will be playing, the line’s pushed back up. As of this morning, per DraftKings, the line is now Alabama -6.5 with the over at 56, denoting a Vegas consensus of 31-25 Alabama. The moneyline sits at -245 for Alabama, +205 for the Cats. Over at Oddsshark, the computers have projected a 43-31 win for the Tide.
ESPN, with Dave Pasch, Dusty Dvoracek, and Tom Luginbill. If you’re without the joys of cable or satellite television or an ESPN+ subscription, you can sign up for Sling TV here and catch the remainder of the bowl schedule in all its glory.
As always, Wyatt Thompson, Stan Weber, and Matt Walters will be on hand on the K-State Sports Network, although their availability in outlying areas of the network might be overriden by ESPN Radio’s rights; the ESPN Radio call will be courtesy of Sean Kelley and Robert Griffin III with Stormy Buonantony on the sideline. The game will be available via satellite on SiriusXM 81 or 83, both on tuner and on the app. We’re unsure which announcers will be on which channel at this time.
The game will stream on the ESPN platform. K-State radio’s audio feed is available via kstatesports.com. Live stats provided by StatsBroadcast, with the usual caveat about possibly being only available to the media.
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