Cincinnati vs. Alabama Playoff Prediction
The first College Football Playoff Semifinals matchup will take place at 3:30 p.m. ET on New Year’s Eve Day when Cincinnati takes on Alabama in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. Will the Crimson Tide cover as a two-touchdown favorite or will the Bearcats hang?
273 Cincinnati Bearcats (+13.5) vs. 274 Alabama Crimson Tide (-13.5); o/u 57.5
3:30 p.m. ET, Friday, December 31, 2021
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Cincinnati Bearcats Game Notes
Cincinnati senior QB Desmond Ridder completed 11-of-17 passes for 190 yards and three touchdowns in Cincinnati's 35-20 win over Houston. Ridder (6'4"/215) wasn't necessarily spectacular, but he didn't need to be. He played very well, efficiently completing passes all over the field. Jerome Ford and the second half Cincy defense went off which left Ridder to just do what he needed to and he delivered with ease. Ridder was perfect on Cincinnati's first drive, completing 4-of-4 passes for 76 yards and a touchdown, hitting a wide open Tyler Scott down the middle of the field. Cincinnati didn't touch the ball much after that for the rest of the first half. He began the second with aplomb, hitting Alec Pierce for a 44-yard gain on his first pass (although a better placed ball would've housed it). He finished that drive off with a perfectly called play-action rollout, tossing the ball right over the defender to Leonard Taylor in the flat. An incredible interception by Joel Dublanko gave Cincy the ball at the Houston 23, and Ridder delivered a flawlessly executed fade to Pierce on a mismatch. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, Cincy was up 35-13, and Ridder rode out the rest of the game. Other players may get the headlines for the Bearcats, but Ridder was essentially perfect in the game, and executed everything he needed to.
Alabama Crimson Tide Game Notes
Alabama head coach Nick Saban said in a press conference that none of his players are in Covid protocols heading into Cotton Bowl. The Crimson Tide made their trip to Dallas to prepare for the CFP semi-final matchup against Cincinnati, Saban had some good news to share. He said there weren’t any positive Covid cases amongst the players, every player is fully vaccinated and 92% have had their booster shots. He gave an update on offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and offensive line coach Doug Marrone as they did test positive last week for Covid, he said they are coaching the team virtually, should be able to clear protocols, and return to the team in time for the December 31st matchup. With Covid cases rising throughout the country, we're seeing its impact on society and sports. The NFL had to move games around recently, the NHL put their season on pause, and we've seen a couple of College bowl games have to be canceled. It's important for each team in the College Football Playoffs to keep Covid out because if a team can't play due to widespread cases, they will be forced to forfeit their game.
Cincinnati vs. Alabama Betting Prediction
The Bearcats are 5-0 against the spread in their last five games as an underdog, are 5-1 against the number in their last six non-conference games and are 12-5 against the spread in their last 17 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game. The Tide, meanwhile, are 2-5 at the betting window in their last seven games following an ATS win and are 1-4 against the spread in their last five games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game.
GOODYEAR COTTON BOWL CLASSIC BETTING PREDICTION: CINCINNATI BEARCATS +13.5