It's been a cold and windy day in Dallas. Alabama and Michigan State are practicing inside AT&T Stadium for the third day in a row.
Meanwhile, some 25 miles to the west, the Omni Dallas hotel is media headquarters for the Cotton Bowl and our temporary home this week.
Quite comfortable for us, but that's not the mindset Alabama head coach Nick Saban wants for his players who are here in Texas on a business trip. The experience of losing in last January's Sugar Bowl is changing the way Alabama is approaching this semifinal. There's a lot happening this week with the holiday, and turning the page is priority number one for the Tide.
"Putting the Christmas holidays behind you, refocusing on what we need to do to invest our time in the preparation that we have the opportunity today... I am in meetings to focus on that and it's all about how bad you want something because it's certainly going to be a difficult game," said Saban.
And with that comes the pressure of prime time, as well as the idea of knowing a loss ends the season. Nothing new for Alabama this year. And not just because of the loss to Ole Miss. That's just the way major college sports are.
"I think nowadays no matter where you are in sports. Coach Saban brought up Mark Richt winning nine games and not being brought back, all the Les Miles conversation happened [this year] so that just is the way it is now no matter where you are," said Lane Kiffin, Alabama's Offensive Coordinator.
Meanwhile back in Alabama, Auburn continues its preparations for the Birmingham Bowl. The Tigers were forced indoors Monday because of weather. A little adversity for the Tigers who need this game for momentum purposes in 2016.
"I think it's very important. Any time you have a bowl and you can win its gives you momentum," said Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn. "And these seniors too. We want to win this thing for those guys too. Like I said though, we have a big challenge."
Auburn and Memphis kick off Wednesday at 11am inside Legion Field.
Tuesday is Cotton Bowl Media Day. WHNT News 19's Ryan Cody and Chase Horn will have plenty more on the Tide and Spartans throughout the week.