Alabama vs Cincinnati Prediction, Cotton Bowl, CFP Semifinal Preview

Alabama vs Cincinnati: Goodyear Cotton Bowl prediction, College Football Playoff semifinal game preview, how to watch

Alabama vs Cincinnati: Goodyear Cotton Bowl, College Football Playoff Semifinal How To Watch

Date: Friday, December 31
Game Time: 3:30 ET
Venue: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
How To Watch: ESPN, Live stream on ESPN+
Record: Alabama (12-1), Cincinnati (13-0)
CFN Predictions | Bowl Schedule

Alabama vs Cincinnati Cotton Bowl, College Football Playoff Preview

Okay, Group of Five. You had what it took to get into the club, but can you do anything with it? Out of the 32 College Football Playoff slots over the last eight years, Cincinnati is the first team outside of the Power Five to have a shot at winning the national title in the mini-tournament.

The American Athletic Conference champion did what a Group of Five program needed to do. It went unbeaten, it had a splashy win – it was the only team to beat Notre Dame – and it got the job done with a conference championship.

It caught a break that there wasn’t a fourth option, but one win over the defending national champion could blow the lid off of any and all negative narratives.

This wasn’t an easy ride for Alabama. It had to replace the New England Patriot starting quarterback (Mac Jones), the Pittsburgh Steeler starting running back (Najee Harris), a Heisman-winning wide receiver (DeVonta Smith), the even better receiver (Jaylen Waddle), and a whole slew of other key parts.

And it’s still the 1 seed in the College Football Playoff.

Bama was operating without a net after losing to Texas A&M in early October. It rolled through seven straight wins including the dominant 41-24 SEC Championship victory to get here. Consistency wasn’t a problem, there were issues on both lines, and the team needed to be bailed out time and again. More on that in a moment.

Alabama is the lone College Football Playoff fixture in this. Georgia has been in once, but this makes it seven times in eight chances for the Tide. Win this, and the program will be one step away from its fourth CFP national title and Nick Saban’s eighth national championship.

Cincinnati is 0-3 all-time in New Year’s Six-caliber bowls – the most recent being last season’s 24-21 loss to Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

Why Alabama, Cincinnati Will Win
Prediction, What’s Going To Happen, History
Cotton Bowl Top Players To Know

NEXT: Why Alabama Will Win, Why Cincinnati Will Win, Goodyear Cotton Bowl Prediction

Why Cincinnati Will Win The Goodyear Cotton Bowl

The starting 22 is good enough.

There might not be the overall depth to hang with Alabama – almost no one has that – but from QB Desmond Ridder to CB Ahmad Gardner to DE Myjai Sanders to S Bryan Cook to RB Jerome Ford to CB Coby Bryant and on and on, Cincinnati has the guys who can handle themselves in a game of this magnitude.

The defensive front was a rock all year, it’s a great group at taking the ball away, the secondary is among the best in America thanks to a great pass rush – it’s all there on D and it should all work.

Alabama might be special in so many ways, but the offensive front allows way too many tackles for loss – Bryce Young and the Tide backfield is about to be under siege.

The defense can hold up, and the offensive side has the balance to keep the Tide on their heels. The Bearcat ground game might not be all that consistent, but Ford and the backs can hit home runs. Ridder might be off for stretches, and then he’ll make three throws in a row to change the game around.

Throw in the special teams big plays that changed games around – like with a kick return against Indiana and a blocked kick against East Carolina – and the Bearcats have a complete team.

CFN Predictions | 2021-2022 Bowl Schedule
Bowl Season Players To Watch & Know

Why Alabama Will Win The Goodyear Cotton Bowl

Can Alabama bring the SEC Championship level focus and execution?

If Alabama plays its best game and Cincinnati plays its best game, Alabama wins easily.

The question is whether or not Alabama can put together a full 60 minutes – it has a way of falling a sleep for sizable portions of games – and if Cincinnati can pounce on the opportunity.

Yeah, Alabama has played with fire way too often this year, but it only got burned once. It was able to come through when it absolutely had to time and again, and it managed to do it with explosion.

It didn’t matter who the Tide played, the passing game worked with over 300 passing yards in each of the last eight games as Bryce Young got more and more comfortable.

He’s been able to deal with being pressured in game after game, he’s been able to operate just fine even when the running attack wasn’t great, and he has always managed to be the coolest guy in the room no matter what the situation. Cincinnati won’t bother him.

On the other side, the Bearcats haven’t seen anything close to as amazing as the talent about to come from the Alabama pass rush.

Young might be the Heisman-winning star, but Will Anderson and the Tide defensive front are rested up now and should look and play a half-beat faster. The Bearcat offensive front might be great in pass protection and it can get physical, but Bama will get to Desmond Ridder.

Alabama vs Cincinnati Preview
Prediction, What’s Going To Happen, History
Cotton Bowl Top Players To Know

NEXT: What’s Going To Happen, Alabama vs Cincinnati Prediction, Goodyear Cotton Bowl History

Alabama vs Cincinnati: Goodyear Cotton Bowl, What’s Going To Happen

Cincinnati could absolutely pull this off.

Alabama barely survived Auburn, scoring just three points before a desperation late drive.

It hung on for dear life against Florida and LSU, struggled to put away Arkansas and Tennessee, and lost to Texas A&M.

No, Cincinnati didn’t have to run the gauntlet of a Power Five schedule and had just one great win, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the ability to hang around and then close the deal when several lesser SEC teams couldn’t do it.

Or Alabama cranks it into College Football Playoff gear and this is 21-0 in the first quarter.

There will be moments when Cincinnati looks like it might be able to pull off something special, but there will also be a few lulls when it make a massive mistake. It was able to overcome those against the East Carolinas of the world – and there will be an interesting special teams play with a big blocked kick – but it won’t be enough.

Will Anderson and the Alabama defensive line will take care of things early in the fourth.

Goodyear Cotton Bowl: Alabama vs Cincinnati Prediction, Lines

Alabama 37, Cincinnati 20
Line: Alabama -13.5, o/u: 57.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
Expert Picks: CFP & NY6 | Dec 28-Jan 4

Must See Rating: 5

5: New Year’s Eve in a bar
1: New Year’s Eve watching a ball drop

CFN Predictions | 2021-2022 Bowl Schedule
Alabama vs Cincinnati Preview
Why Alabama, Cincinnati Will Win
Cotton Bowl Top Players To Know

Goodyear Cotton Bowl History

Dec. 30, 2020 Oklahoma 55, Florida 20
Dec. 28, 2019 Penn State 53, Memphis 39
Dec. 29, CFP 2018 Clemson 30, Notre Dame 3
Dec. 29, 2017 Ohio State 24, USC 7
Jan. 2, 2017 Wisconsin 24, Western Michigan 16
Dec. 31, 2015 Alabama 38 Michigan State 0
Jan. 1, 2015 CFP Michigan State 42 Baylor 41
Jan. 3, 2014 Missouri 41 Oklahoma State 31
Jan. 4, 2013 Texas A&M 41 Oklahoma 13
Jan. 6, 2012 Arkansas 29 Kansas State 16
Jan. 7, 2011 LSU 41 Texas A&M 24
Jan. 1, 2010 Mississippi 21 Oklahoma State 7
Jan. 1, 2009 Mississippi 47 Texas Tech 34
Jan. 1, 2008 Missouri 38 Arkansas 7
Jan. 1, 2007 Auburn 17 Nebraska 14
Jan. 2, 2006 Alabama 13 Texas Tech 10
Jan. 1, 2005 Tennessee 38 Texas A&M 7
Jan. 2, 2004 Mississippi 31 Oklahoma State 28
Jan. 1, 2003 Texas 35 LSU 20
Jan. 1, 2002 Oklahoma 10 Arkansas 3
Jan. 1, 2001 Kansas State 35 Tennessee 21
Jan. 1, 2000 Arkansas 27 Texas 6
Jan. 1, 1999 Texas 38 Mississippi State 11
Jan. 1, 1998 UCLA 29 Texas A&M 23
Jan. 1, 1997 BYU 19 Kansas State 15
Jan. 1, 1996 Colorado 38 Oregon 6
Jan. 2, 1995 USC 55 Texas Tech 14
Jan. 1, 1994 Notre Dame 24 Texas A&M 21
Jan. 1, 1993 Notre Dame 28 Texas A&M 3
Jan. 1, 1992 Florida State 10 Texas A&M 2
Jan. 1, 1991 Miami 46 Texas 3
Jan. 1, 1990 Tennessee 31 Arkansas 27
Jan. 2, 1989 UCLA 17 Arkansas 3
Jan. 1, 1988 Texas A&M 35 Notre Dame 10
Jan. 1, 1987 Ohio State 28 Texas A&M 12
Jan. 1, 1986 Texas A&M 36 Auburn 16
Jan. 1, 1985 Boston College 45 Houston 28
Jan. 2, 1984 Georgia 10 Texas 9
Jan. 1, 1983 SMU 7 Pittsburgh 3
Jan. 1, 1982 Texas 14 Alabama 12
Jan. 1, 1981 Alabama 30 Baylor 2
Jan. 1, 1980 Houston 17 Nebraska 14
Jan. 1, 1979 Notre Dame 35 Houston 34
Jan. 2, 1978 Notre Dame 38 Texas 10
Jan. 1, 1977 Houston 30 Maryland 21
Jan. 1, 1976 Arkansas 31 Georgia 10
Jan. 1, 1975 Penn State 41 Baylor 20
Jan. 1, 1974 Nebraska 19 Texas 3
Jan. 1, 1973 Texas 17 Alabama 13
Jan. 1, 1972 Penn State 30 Texas 6
Jan. 1, 1971 Notre Dame 24 Texas 11
Jan. 1, 1970 Texas 21 Notre Dame 17
Jan. 1, 1969 Texas 36 Tennessee 13
Jan. 1, 1968 Texas A&M 20 Alabama 16
Dec. 31, 1966 Georgia 24 SMU 9
Jan. 1, 1966 LSU 14 Arkansas 7
Jan. 1, 1965 Arkansas 10 Nebraska 7
Jan. 1, 1964 Texas 28 Navy 6
Jan. 1, 1963 LSU 13 Texas 0
Jan. 1, 1962 Texas 12 Mississippi 7
Jan. 2, 1961 Duke 7 Arkansas 6
Jan. 1, 1960 Syracuse 23 Texas 14
Jan. 1, 1959 TCU 0 Air Force 0
Jan. 1, 1958 Navy 20 Rice 7
Jan. 1, 1957 TCU 28 Syracuse 27
Jan. 2, 1956 Mississippi 14 TCU 13
Jan. 1, 1955 Georgia Tech 14 Arkansas 6
Jan. 1, 1954 Rice 28 Alabama 6
Jan. 1, 1953 Texas 16 Tennessee 0
Jan. 1, 1952 Kentucky 20 TCU 7
Jan. 1, 1951 Tennessee 20 Texas 14
Jan. 2, 1950 Rice 27 North Carolina 13
Jan. 1, 1949 SMU 21 Oregon 13
Jan. 1, 1948 SMU 13 Penn State 13
Jan. 1, 1947 Arkansas 0 LSU 0
Jan. 1, 1946 Texas 40 Missouri 27
Jan. 1, 1945 Oklahoma State 34 TCU 0
Jan. 1, 1944 Texas 7 Randolph Field 7
Jan. 1, 1943 Texas 14 Georgia Tech 7
Jan. 1, 1942 Alabama 29 Texas A&M 21
Jan. 1, 1941 Texas A&M 13 Fordham 12
Jan. 1, 1940 Clemson 6 Boston College 3
Jan. 2, 1939 St. Mary’s 20 Texas Tech 13
Jan. 1, 1938 Rice 28 Colorado 14
Jan. 1, 1937 TCU 16 Marquette 6

CFN Predictions | 2021-2022 Bowl Schedule