Watch Alabama Vs. Michigan State Live Online: Cotton Bowl Start Time, Streaming Video Link

Fans can watch the Alabama vs. Michigan State football game live online and see which team can win the Cotton Bowl and advance to the national championship game.

The game will be played at 8 p.m. on Thursday, with coverage on ESPN. It is also available for live streaming over the internet (link to the video can be found below).

Much of the attention in the lead-up to the Cotton Bowl has been on Alabama quarterback Jake Coker, who transferred out of Florida State to escape Jameis Winston’s long shadow and has become a star for the Crimson Tide.

It was not without its bumps, however. Coker was actually benched after two weeks this season, despite leading the team to a 2-0 start. It was then that coach Nick Saban learned just how valuable Coker was with a chip on his shoulder.

As The Detroit News noted, Coker came off the bench in that third game on fire, and has been leading the team straight toward a national title appearance ever since.

Coker leaped from the bench that night in Oxford, Miss., like a pilot in an ejection seat, and nearly pushed ‘Bama to a comeback triumph against Ole Miss rather than to a 43-37 loss and the Tide’s only defeat of 2015.

Coker arrived with a bayonet fixed on winning back his job, and his peace of mind. He threw for 201 yards and three touchdowns. He ran for 58 yards. The Crimson Tide came within a touchdown that evening of an unbeaten season.

Job restored.

But fans who watch the Alabama vs. Michigan State game live online will also see a Spartans team that is not to be underestimated. The team has been taking it to their critics for more than two seasons now, with USA Today pointing back to an amazing 20-point fourth quarter comeback against Baylor in the 2013 Cotton Bowl as the starting point for the new Spartans era of dominance.

The team has been flying under the radar since then, beating Michigan and Ohio State this season and taking the Big 10 title.

The Crimson tide have certainly taken notice.

“I think that kind of competitive grit is something that you have to have a tremendous respect for,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said Wednesday. “And you’ve got to know what you’re up against when you play against people like that.”

Michigan State enters Thursday’s Cotton Bowl in familiar territory. Alabama is a 9.5-point favorite, and picked nearly unanimously to win the game and advance to the national championship.

The Spartans don’t seem to see it that way.

“You’re only an underdog if you think you’re an underdog,” said Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio, who earlier this week was misidentified by Sports Illustrated as Mike Dantonio. “We have never played that card. We have always gone into things saying, ‘We got a chance to win a football game.’ I think that’s still the case.”

Though Alabama is seen as a title favorite heading into the college football playoffs, the Crimson Tide have yet to face a team this year “as complete or confident or well-coached as Michigan State,” USA Today pointed out.

The winner of the Cotton Bowl will advance to face the winner of the Clemson vs. Oklahoma, which takes place earlier that afternoon on ESPN.

Fans who want to watch the Alabama vs. Michigan State football game live online can click here for streaming video of the 2015 Cotton Bowl.

[AP Photo/AJ Mast]