Alabama headed back to Independence Bowl

By Dan Sellers The Crimson White

December 3, 2007

Tuscaloosa, AL (CSTV U-WIRE) -- It's dejà vu all over again.

A year after finishing with a 6-6 regular season and a trip to Shreveport, La., for the Independence Bowl, the 2007 version of the Tide will do the same.

The only difference is that Nick Saban will be coaching the 6-6 Tide and the opponent will be the Colorado Buffaloes.

"It's a great opportunity for our players," Saban said. "It's a great opportunity for our seniors to change how the season ended and go out on a winning note. It's also an opportunity to play a quality Big 12 team."

The PetroSun Independence Bowl is the only bowl game being played on Dec. 30. The game will be televised by ESPN at 7 p.m.

Alabama will be playing in its NCAA-record 55th bowl game and will be making its third trip to the Independence Bowl. The Tide defeated Iowa State 14-13 in 2001 under Dennis Franchione, but they lost to the Oklahoma State Cowboys 34-31 last season under interim head coach Joe Kines.

"We are pleased and excited to being playing Colorado in the Independence Bowl," Alabama's director of athletics Mal Moore said in a statement.

"We certainly appreciate the Independence Bowl committee's confidence in us, and we are happy to have the opportunity to participate. Our players and staff had a great experience in Shreveport last season and we are looking forward to a return trip."

Much of Alabama's bowl speculation was centered on the Liberty Bowl after Alabama's loss to Auburn. The fact that Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's last game was in 1982 at the Liberty Bowl made this year's bowl the 25th anniversary of that game.

However, that possibility was thwarted early Sunday afternoon when Mississippi State accepted the Liberty Bowl bid to play against Central Florida. That left the Independence Bowl to choose between two 6-6 squads -- Alabama or South Carolina.

"The exposure of a bowl game is always a positive for building a program," Saban said. "It's one of the best things in college football, because it gives the players a lot of positive self-gratification for the hard work they put in to play in a bowl game."

In his first year at Michigan State, Saban coached the Spartans in the Independence Bowl against his future team, LSU. The Tigers swamped Saban and MSU 45-26 in the 1995 bowl game.

It is the first time Alabama has played in four consecutive bowl games since the 1991-94 seasons.

Student tickets are priced at $25 each. Students eligible to purchase tickets have the right to buy two tickets. Students who wish to purchase tickets should go to the ticket office at Coleman Coliseum on Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

(C) 2007 The Crimson White via CSTV U-WIRE