Yesterday, it was announced that the Michigan Wolverines will be facing the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Citrus Bowl on January 1 in Orlando, Florida.
While Wolverines fans are looking forward to the opportunity to end the season on a winning note after last week’s debacle against the rival Ohio State Buckeyes, they may be wise to be weary of a Crimson Tide team clearly in a vengeful state of mind.
Head coach Nick Saban recently commented on what this game will mean for Alabama, and Michigan fans could be excused for gulping a bit.
“I think that this is an opportunity for us to re-establish the standard that we want to play to,” Saban explained. “I think when you play against a great opponent, that certainly enhances that opportunity. I think it’s an opportunity for a lot of players on our team to … practice and prepare for the future, and that’s certainly what we’re focused on right now, is the future. So this is an outstanding opportunity for that.”
Of course, the standard that Alabama has set over the past several seasons are multiple national championships and a pattern of absolute dominance before taking a step back this season with a “mere” 10-2 record and being ranked outside of the top-10 for the first time.
What does Saban think of Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh?
“I have a lot of respect for Jim, I think he’s been a great coach and done a great job at Michigan,” Saban said. “Did a great job every place he’s been prior to that. We have a lot of respect for the University of Michigan, their program, their tradition, the job that he’s done as a coach. I don’t really know Jim Harbaugh all that well, but I do have a tremendous amount of respect for him.”
Michigan will certainly have their hands full on January 1.