Saban 'looking forward' to playing Utah/Bowl Schedules

Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham took over program when Urban Meyer left for Florida

TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama said goodbye to Florida coach Urban Meyer after the Southeastern Conference Championship game. On Jan. 2, the Crimson Tide will say hello to his former team and one of his disciples.

Birmingham News Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson scrambles against Florida in Saturday's SEC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome. Wilson and the Crimson Tide (12-1) will take on unbeaten Utah (12-0) in the Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

No. 4 Alabama (12-1) will face No. 7 Utah (12-0) in the Sugar Bowl in the Superdome at 7 p.m. (Fox 6). The announcement came Sunday night during the Bowl Selection Show on Fox Sports.

On the heels of a 31-20 loss to new No. 1 Florida Saturday, UA plays one of the nation's two undefeated teams. Both fan bases will receive 17,500 tickets.

Coach Kyle Whittingham's Utes received an automatic Bowl Championship Series berth by being ranked 12th or better and being the highest ranked non-BCS conference champion. Meyer had coached Utah to a perfect season in 2004 before taking a job coaching the Gators and giving way to Whittingham.

That means Alabama will see a lot of what it saw Saturday. Coach Nick Saban was asked if he's sick of facing that offense.

"Not really," Saban said. "It's very challenging. I'm surprised more people don't use some part of it, because it's very difficult to defend. We're looking forward to facing Utah. Statistically, they do all the things good teams do to go undefeated."

As for Whittingham, whose team led the Mountain West in scoring, averaging 37.4 points per game, he still maintains a friendship with Meyer. You can figure the two might even exchange game plans.

"I'll be on the phone to Urban Meyer on the car ride home," said Whittingham, who added that his offense is similar to the Gators. "We've hung on to the spread attack after Urban Meyer left. We employ a lot of the same elements," Whittingham said.

As for Saban, he will return to the scene of one of the biggest wins of his career. Following the 2003 season, his LSU Tigers defeated Oklahoma 21-14 to win the national title in a game played in the Sugar Bowl.

To post a comment, visit Rapoport's Alabama blog, The Rap Sheet.

In other bowl announements, North Carolina State and Rutgers will meet in the third Bowl in Birmingham Dec. 29. (More)

The complete bowl lineup:
Saturday, Dec. 20
EagleBank Bowl
At Washington
Payout: $750,000
Navy (8-4) vs. Wake Forest (7-5), 11 a.m. (ESPN)

New Mexico Bowl
At Albuquerque
Payout: $750,000
Colorado State (6-6) vs. Fresno State (7-5), 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
St. Petersburg (Fla.) Bowl
Payout: $1 million

South Florida (7-5) vs. Memphis (6-6), 4:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Las Vegas Bowl
Payout: $1 million
BYU (10-2) vs. Arizona (7-5), 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Sunday, Dec. 21
New Orleans Bowl
Payout: $325,000
Troy (8-4) vs. Southern Mississippi (6-6), 8 p.m. (ESPN2)

Tuesday, Dec. 23
Poinsettia Bowl
At San Diego
Payout: $750,000
Boise State (12-0) vs. TCU (10-2), 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Wednesday, Dec. 24
Hawaii Bowl
At Honolulu
Payout: $750,000
Hawaii (7-6) vs. Notre Dame (6-6), 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Friday, Dec. 26
Motor City Bowl
At Detroit
Payout: $750,000
TBA vs. Central Michigan (8-4), 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

Saturday, Dec. 27
Meineke Bowl
At Charlotte, N.C.
Payout: $1 million
North Carolina (8-4) vs. West Virginia (8-4), 1 p.m. (ESPN)

Champs Sports Bowl
At Orlando, Fla.
Payout: $2.125 million
Florida State (8-4) vs. Wisconsin (7-5), 4:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Emerald Bowl
At San Francisco
Payout: ACC: $750,000; Pac-10: $850,000
California (8-4) vs. Miami (7-5), 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Sunday, Dec. 28
Independence Bowl
At Shreveport, La.
Payout: $1.1 million
Louisiana Tech (7-5) vs. Northern Illinois (6-6), 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Monday, Dec. 29 Bowl
At Birmingham
Payout: $300,000
Rutgers (7-5) vs. North Carolina State (6-6), 3 p.m. (ESPN)

Alamo Bowl
At San Antonio
Payout: $2.25 million
Northwestern (9-3) vs. Missouri (9-4), 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Tuesday, Dec. 30
Humanitarian Bowl
At Boise, Idaho
Payout: $750,000
Nevada (7-5) vs. Maryland (7-5), 4:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Holiday Bowl
At San Diego
Payout: $2.3 million
Oklahoma State (9-3) vs. Oregon (9-3), 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Texas Bowl
At Houston
Payout: $750,000
Rice (9-3) vs. Western Michigan (9-3), 8 p.m. (NFLN)

Wednesday, Dec. 31
Armed Forces Bowl
At Fort Worth, Texas
Payout: $750,000
Houston (7-5) vs. Air Force (8-4), Noon (ESPN)

Sun Bowl
At El Paso, Texas
Payout: $1.9 million
Oregon State (8-4) vs. Pittsburgh (9-3), 2 p.m. (CBS)

Music City Bowl
At Nashville, Tenn.
Payout: $1.7 million
Vanderbilt (6-6) vs. Boston College (9-4), 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Insight Bowl
At Tempe, Ariz.
Payout: $1.2 million
Kansas (7-5) vs. Minnesota (7-5), 5:30 p.m. (NFLN)

Chick-fil-A Bowl
At Atlanta
Payout: $3 million
LSU (7-5) vs. Georgia Tech (9-3), 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Thursday, Jan. 1
Outback Bowl
At Tampa, Fla.
Payout: $3.2 million
Iowa (8-4) vs. South Carolina (7-5), 11 a.m. (ESPN)

Capital One Bowl
At Orlando, Fla.
Payout: $4.25 million
Georgia (9-3) vs. Michigan State (9-3), 1 p.m. (ABC)

Gator Bowl
At Jacksonville, Fla.
Payout: $2.5 million
Nebraska (8-4) vs. Clemson (7-5), 1 p.m. (CBS)

Rose Bowl
At Pasadena, Calif.
Payout: $17 million
Southern Cal (11-1) vs. Penn State (11-1), 5 p.m. (ABC)

Orange Bowl
At Miami
Payout: $17 million
Cincinnati (11-2) vs. Virginia Tech (9-4), 8 p.m. (FOX)

Friday, Jan. 2
Cotton Bowl
At Dallas
Payout: $3 million
Texas Tech (11-1) vs. Mississippi (8-4), 2 p.m. (FOX)

Liberty Bowl
At Memphis, Tenn.
Payout: $1.8 million
Kentucky (6-6) vs. East Carolina (9-4), 5 p.m. (ESPN)

Sugar Bowl
At New Orleans
Payout: $17 million
Utah (12-0) vs. Alabama (12-1), 8 p.m. (FOX)

Saturday, Jan. 3
International Bowl
At Toronto
Payout: $750,000
Connecticut (7-5) vs. Buffalo (8-5), Noon (ESPN2)

Monday, Jan. 5
Fiesta Bowl
At Glendale, Ariz.
Payout: $17 million
Texas (11-1) vs. Ohio State (10-2), 8:30 p.m. (FOX)

Tuesday, Jan. 6
Mobile, Ala.
Payout: $750,000
Tulsa (10-3) vs. Ball State (12-1), 8 p.m. (ESPN)

Thursday, Jan. 8
BCS National Championship
At Miami
Payout: $17 million
Florida (12-1) vs. Oklahoma (12-1), 8 p.m. (FOX)

Saturday, Jan. 17
East-West Shrine Classic
At Houston
West vs. East, TBD (ESPN2)

Saturday, Jan. 24
Senior Bowl
At Mobile, Ala.
South vs. North, 7 p.m. (NFLN)

Saturday, Jan. 31
Texas vs. The Nation All-Star Challenge
At El Paso, Texas
Texas vs. Nation, 1 p.m.

by Ben Pike