For the first time since the inception of the College Football Playoff, Alabama will not have a chance to take home a National Championship. Instead, the 10-2 Crimson Tide will face off against 9-3 Michigan Wolverines in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day.
Alabama will enter this year’s bowl season having given up more than 40 points in each of its two losses. It will be coming off a Nov. 30 defeat at the hands of Auburn, when it surrendered 46 points to its conference foe and saw a potential tying field goal doink off an upright from 30 yards out with two minutes remaining in the game.
Alabama entered the season with high expectations. Opening day starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa came into the year as the favorite to win the 2019 Heisman Trophy and was considered one of the top picks for the 2020 NFL draft. But Tagovailoa suffered a hip dislocation in Alabama’s win over Mississippi State on Nov. 16 and had surgery two weeks later.
Following the midseason second-ending injury to Tagovailoa, backup Mac Jones was elevated into the starting role. At Auburn, Jones threw for a career-high 335 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions and he now has almost 1,200 passing yards to go along with 11 touchdowns this season.
Michigan enters the Citrus Bowl having lost its most recent game, a 56-27 blowout at the hands of rival Ohio State. The Wolverines also fell earlier in the season to Penn State and Wisconsin, two teams who will both be playing in New Year’s Six bowl games. UM enters its matchup with Alabama also having lost its last three bowl games.
Kickoff for the Citrus Bowl will be at 1 p.m. ET at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.