Alabama to Play Michigan State in College Football Playoff Semifinal

December 6, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide will face off with the No. 3 Michigan State Spartans in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at AT&T Stadium on Thursday, Dec. 31, in Arlington, Texas. The Crimson Tide and Spartans have met only once previously, with that contest coming in the Capital One Bowl to close out the 2010 season when the Crimson Tide defeated the Spartans, 49-7, to cap off a 10-3 year.

"We know what kind of physical, tough teams they have at Michigan State, and it will be a real challenge for our team," said head coach Nick Saban on the matchup with the Spartans.

Alabama will be making its the Cotton Bowl Classic for the eighth time in its history, owning a 2-4 (actual 3-4) mark in its first seven appearances. The Crimson Tide played its first Cotton Bowl game on January 1, 1942, defeating Texas A&M, 29-21, following the 1941 regular season. The Tide was defeated in its next three Cotton Bowl appearances, falling to Rice in the 1954 Classic (28-6) following the 1953 season, then to Texas A&M in 1968 (20-16) following the 1967 season and Texas in 1973 (17-13) to cap the 1972 season.

Alabama defeated Baylor in the 1981 matchup, 30-2, but would then fall to Texas, 14-12, the next year. The most recent Cotton Bowl appearance saw the Tide earn the 13-10 win on a last-second field goal over Texas Tech.

The Crimson Tide will be making its eighth straight New Year's bowl appearance under Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide also played in the 2009 Sugar Bowl (2008 season - 31-17 loss to Utah), the 2010 BCS National Championship Game (2009 season - 37-21 victory over Texas), the 2011 Capital One Bowl (2010 season - 49-7 win over Michigan State), the 2012 BCS National Championship Game (2011 season - 21-0 victory over LSU), the 2013 BCS National Championship Game (2012 season - 42-14 victory over Notre Dame), the 2014 Sugar Bowl (2013 season - 45-31 loss to Oklahoma) and the 2015 Sugar Bowl (2014 season - 42-35 loss to Ohio State).

This year's matchup will be the Tide's first postseason game and third overall contest at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The Crimson Tide first played in the home of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys to open the 2012 season against Michigan, defeating the Wolverines, 41-14. The Tide's 2015 season kicked off in Arlington, as Alabama defeated then-No. 20 Wisconsin by 35-17 margin.

Alabama, making its 63rd bowl appearance, has played in more bowl games (62, not counting the vacated one vacated appearance and including the upcoming Cotton Bowl) and earned more bowl victories (34) than any school in college football history. The Crimson Tide has posted a 34-24-3 all-time bowl record. Alabama is making its ninth consecutive bowl appearance under head coach Nick Saban and the 12th straight overall for the school.

Saban is 5-3 in bowl games at Alabama, earning wins over Notre Dame (2013 BCS National Championship Game), LSU (2012 BCS National Championship Game), Michigan State (2011 Capital One Bowl), Texas (2010 BCS National Championship) and Colorado (2007 Independence Bowl). The Tide's losses have all come in the Sugar Bowl, losing to Utah in 2009, Oklahoma in 2014 and, most recently, Ohio State in 2015.

Since its inception a year ago, Alabama is the only team to appear in both of the College Football Playoff final fours and has appeared in the top-five slots of every poll put out by the selection committee over the past two seasons.