By the Associated Press
No. 13 Alabama (10-2, SEC) vs. No. 14 Michigan (9-3, Big Ten), Jan. 1, 1 p.m. ET
LOCATION: Orlando, Florida
Alabama: WR DeVonta Smith, 65 catches, 1,200 yards, 13 touchdowns.
Michigan: LB Josh Uche, 11.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide missed the College Football Playoff for the first time in the format’s six seasons. Both of the team’s losses came against Top 25 opponents in LSU and Auburn. Alabama should have the bulk of fan support given its much shorter distance from Orlando than its opponent. The Crimson Tide will again be without star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who was injured in November and needed season-ending surgery. Even with a victory, this will be tied for the fewest wins in a season in Nick Saban’s last nine seasons with the Crimson Tide.
Michigan: The Wolverines had CFP aspirations when the season began, but stumbled in losses to three top 10 programs at the time they played them in Wisconsin, Penn State and playoff-bound Ohio State. Michigan is 2-2 all time against Alabama. The Wolverines have lost their past three bowl games with their last postseason win coming in the Citrus Bowl against Florida to end the 2015 season. Michigan is looking for its fourth 10-win season in the past five years, something that has not occurred since 1876-80.
Alabama 41, Michigan 14 (Sept. 1, 2012)
Alabama: Second appearance in the Citrus Bowl, 71st bowl appearance in school history (includes two each of the past four seasons as part of the College Football Playoff)
Michigan: Fifth appearance in the Citrus Bowl, 48th bowl appearance in school history.