The Kansas State Wildcats and Alabama Crimson Tide will face off in the Sugar Bowl on Saturday, December 31. Kickoff is set for 12:00 p.m. ET at the SuperDome in New Orleans, Louisiana. K-State enters the New Year’s Six as a Big 12 Champion for the first time, while Alabama will miss the College Football Playoff for just the second time as a program.
The biggest absence in the game for the Wildcats will be Adrian Martinez, who is injured but may still return to Manhattan next year. While he’s been on the shelf, backup Will Howard has been excellent in guiding K-State to the league title. The junior has thrown for 1423 yards with 15 touchdowns and just two interceptions on the way to the league title.
Nick Saban asked his best players to still compete despite the national championship being out of reach, and for the most part they’ve cooperated with Will Anderson Jr. and former Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young running it back for one more game despite both being projected towards the top-half of the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Young will be without some key receiving targets, but the talent gap between the two sides remains pretty large.
Key players that have opted-out, injuries for Sugar Bowl
QB Adrian Martinez - Injury
WR Malik Knowles - Injury
LB Krew Jackson - Transfer Portal
CB Ekow Boye-Doe - Injury
CB TJ Smith - Transfer Portal
WR Traeshon Holden - Transfer Portal
WR Christian Leary - Transfer Portal
WR JoJo Earle - Transfer Portal
RB Trey Sanders -Transfer Portal
DB Khyree Jackson - Transfer Portal
OL Amari Knight - Transfer Portal
OL Tommy Brockermeyer - Transfer Portal
OL Damieon George - Transfer Portal
OL Javion Cohen - Transfer Portal
DL Braylen Ingraham - Transfer Portal