The College Football Playoffs are set with No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs No.4 Cincinnati Bearcats in a typical David vs Goliath matchup. They’ll face off in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The other semifinal matchup consists of No. 2 Michigan Wolverines vs No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs in the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium. Both games will be played on Dec 31.
The winners will meet 10 days later for all the marbles in the 2022 College Football National Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
— ESPN (@espn) December 5, 2021
Nick Saban And Alabama Back At It, Bearcats First Group Of Five To Crash Party
Following a surprising October loss at unranked Texas A&M, the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide have been playing for their playoff lives every week. It inspired the talented team to take it up another notch, surviving scares against rivals LSU (20-14) and Auburn (24-22 in 4 OT).
Quarterback Bryce Young, the odds-on-favorite to take home the Heisman Trophy this Saturday in New York, is the main reason why the Tide are in this position.
Young went 26-of-44 for 421 yards and three touchdowns in the upset SEC Championship (41-24) win over the No. 1 ranked and undefeated Georgia Bulldogs. Young also tallied 40 yards rushing and another touchdown on the ground, winning MVP honors. BAMA came in as 6.5-point underdogs.
Bama Likes Being a Dog
Alabama has been the underdog just three times since 2009 and have won every game by at least 17 points; 2009 (Florida 32-13), 2015 (UGA 38-10), 2021 (UGA 41-24).
A thing of beauty. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/q5RonBhZ61
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) December 5, 2021
On offense, BAMA scored 34 points against a defense surrendering an NCAA-best 6.9 points per game. It was once again “The Mentor” in Nick Saban schooling “The Pupil” in Kirby Smart. Smart is now 0-4 against his former head coach with three losses coming at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, once in the CFP national championship and twice in the SEC Championship.
No. 4 Cincinnati is the first Group Of Five program to crash the CFP in its eight-year existence. Playing in the AAC, the Bearcats didn’t face the level of competition that Alabama did in the ultra-tough SEC.
Cincy’s playoff hopes were boosted with a regular season road win at No. 5 Notre Dame. Led by HC Luke Fickell, the Bearcats have a plethora of top talent, including QB Desmond Ridder and former BAMA running back Jerome Ford.
Running on Alabama will be a challenge for the Bearcats. Ridder will have to have a signature game and beat Bama’s D through the air. Ridder is more than capable as he went 26-0 at home during his tenure.
Fickell had this to say about his Bearcats punching their ticket on ESPN.
“All year we’ve tried to avoid saying we’re carrying the flag for the Group of 5. I think you can get lost in a lot of things that are going on.”
— Tiger Football (@StXTigersFB) December 6, 2021
Michigan vs Georgia Will Be A Slugfest Of Trench Warfare: Orange Bowl Clash
They say styles make fights; well this one will sure test that moniker for sure.
Following their landmark win over archrival Ohio State (first in nine years and Harbaugh’s first after five losses), the Wolverines thoroughly outclassed the Iowa Hawkeyes 42-3 in the Big Ten title game.
The Wolverines were led by a dominant-run game sparked by the combination of Blake Corrum and Hassan Haskins, known as “Lightening and Thunder.”
An aggressive defense led by Aidan Hutchinson (MVP) manhandled the Hawkeyes. The Wolverines are the first team to begin the season unranked and make the CFP. Their clash against Georgia will be like looking in the mirror as the two squads play similarly.
— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) December 6, 2021
The Bulldogs were humbled in the SEC Championship by Bryce Young and Alabama. But that still doesn’t negate how dominant they were through 12 regular-season games. They just came up against an elite QB at his peak.
That aura of invincibility Georgia had all season vanished in a flash. This matchup with Michigan is right in the Bulldogs’ wheelhouse. It will be decided at the line of scrimmage. Linebacker Nakobe Dean, 2021 Butkus Award winner, will lead the Dawgs’ defense.
— Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) December 5, 2021
Prediction: Alabama handily defeats Cincinnati and Georgia edges Michigan.
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