The early holiday present for Mississippi State came yesterday in the form of an invitation to play in the Liberty Bowl.
The Bulldogs will face Conference USA champion Central Florida in Memphis, which will mark the Dogs first postseason appearance since 2000.
The 49th AutoZone Liberty Bowl will also have a special meaning for Sylvester Croom, a former Alabama player.
"I'm excited about it," Croom said. "Once I found out that this was the 25th anniversary of coach Bryant's last game there. Of course that was a very sentimental game for me. So I'm honored to -- in the first bowl game that I get to go as a head coach, to be participating in that particular bowl at that site. Because it was a special moment the last time I was there."