As you might expect from a program that’s done the bowl thing more than a few times in its storied past, Alabama has a long, interesting history with the Cotton Bowl Classic, one of the oldest of the traditional postseason games.

The College Football Playoff semifinal game against Michigan State will mark the Crimson Tide’s eighth trip to the Cotton Bowl, where it has a 3-4 record.

The Tide’s first Cotton Bowl was way back in 1942 when it held off Texas A&M for a 29-21 victory, but Alabama lost its next three trips to Dallas for the bowl game, falling to Rice in 1954, the Aggies in 1968 and Texas in 1973. Bear Bryant got his first Cotton Bowl victory as coach of the Tide in 1981, pounding Baylor 30-2, but lost to Texas the following year.

Alabama wouldn’t got back to the Cotton Bowl for nearly a quarter century, but the Mike Shula-coached Tide earned a berth in the Classic following a 9-2 regular season. There Alabama met Mike Leach’s 9-2 Texas Tech Red Raiders.

It was certainly a matchup of contrasting styles. The Tide had the best scoring defense in the nation while the Red Raiders boasted the second-highest scoring offense, but it was Alabama that was able to establish the tempo it wanted in a 13-10 victory.

The Tide struck first when Brodie Croyle hit Keith Brown for a 76-yard touchdown pass less than four minutes into the game. Texas Tech was able to get on the board with a field goal late in the first quarter, but the offenses both went stagnant the rest of the half.

Croyle led Alabama on a 17-play, 67-yard drive in the third quarter, but the Tide had to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Jamie Christensen to make it a 10-3 game heading into the final period. But the Red Raiders were finally able to get into the end zone with 2:56 remaining after Cody Hodges found Jarrett Hicks for a 12-yard touchdown pass to tie the game.

But nearly three minutes on the clock was enough for Croyle to lead the Tide back down the field. A 10-play, 58-yard drive milked all the time away and set up Christensen for a 45-yard field goal with no time remaining to give the Tide the three-point victory.

Christensen’s field goal marked the first time the Cotton Bowl Classic had been won on the final play since Joe Montana led Notre Dame to victory against Houston in 1979 and capped Shula’s best season as the Tide’s head coach.

Though the victory on the field was thrilling, it was eventually stricken from the record books after Alabama vacated all 10 wins from the 2005 season thanks to NCAA violations.

Still, it marked an outstanding finish and helped the Tide to the No. 8 spot in the final AP poll, marking one of the best seasons of the post-Bryant era until Nick Saban arrived and set a new standard in Tuscaloosa.