Michigan has an opportunity in the Citrus Bowl on January 1. Playing a team like Alabama on a New Year’s Day bowl game allows the program and head coach Jim Harbaugh the chance to prove it belongs on the national stage.

In a few days, Michigan will be headed to Orlando for the Citrus Bowl matchup against Alabama. It will be the first time the two teams have played since 2012, a game the Crimson Tide won easily 41-14.

All-time, the series is knotted at 2-2.

Before the Wolverines take flight down to Orlando, a few players talked about the upcoming matchup with Alabama. They were all excited for the opportunity to take on a national power.

“I was excited when I found out we were playing Alabama,” said offensive lineman Jon Runyan. “They’ve been a great program this past decade. …We’re all just really excited.”

Tight end Nick Eubanks said that a win over the Crimson Tide would not only be a successful way to end the 2019 season, but would create some momentum for next fall.

“Beating these guys would definitely put a stamp on this year and next year, too,” Eubanks said. “We can’t wait to see what’s in store for them when we play them.”

Linebacker Khaleke Hudson echoed a similar sentiment.

“Getting a chance to actually play a team like this, it’s gonna be a huge opportunity for our team, our coaches, myself and just for us to be able to blast off into next season,” Hudson said.

Michigan enters the Citrus Bowl with a 9-3 record, trying to get to 10 wins for the fourth time in five years under Jim Harbaugh. Alabama, on the other hand, is 10-2 and missed the College Football Playoff for the first time in six seasons.

It should be an intriguing matchup down in Orlando.