cotton Bowl

Who: No. 3 Michigan State (12-1) vs. No. 2 Alabama (12-1)

When: 7 p.m. Dec. 31

Where: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas


All-time series: Alabama leads 1-0.

Last meeting: Alabama defeated Michigan State 49-7 in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1, 2011.

Did you know? Alabama coach Nick Saban was 34-21-1 in five seasons at Michigan State (1995-99).

alabama at a glance

Last national title: 2012

Bowl history: Eighth Cotton Bowl appearance, first since beating Texas Tech 13-10 on a last-second field goal in 2006.

One to watch: RB Derrick Henry broke Herschel Walker's SEC single-season record with 1,986 yards rushing. His 23 rushing TDs match the SEC mark shared by Tim Tebow and Auburn's Tre Mason.

Notable: Has beaten six ranked teams this season, the most in the country. … Has the most bowl appearances (this will be its 63rd) and bowl victories (34) in college football history. … The only returning team from last year's final four.

michigan state at a glance

Last national title: 1966

Bowl history: Second consecutive Cotton Bowl appearance.

One to watch: Connor Cook is the winningest QB in Spartans history — 34-4 as the starter and 5-1 vs. Top 10 teams.

Notable: Four-game bowl winning streak matches the longest in Big Ten history and is longest active streak in FBS. … Is 4-0 this season against ranked teams. … The Spartans' top three rushers — L.J. Scott, Gerald Holmes and Madre London — have a combined 1,614 yards and 22 TDs.