Number 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) are set to face Number 4 Cincinnati Bearcats (13-0) in the Cotton Bowl on Friday for a place in the 2022 College Football Playoff final.
Nick Saban’s experienced Alabama side head into the first semi-final as heavy -13.5 favourites with the sportsbooks against the AAC team.
Eyes will be on Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young to see how he performs against one of the country’s defences. The freshman was more than capable in the SEC Championship victory over the Georgia Bulldogs on 4 December. Young went 26-44 for 421 yards and 3 touchdowns versus the number 1 defence.
Cincinnati allowed just 304.9 yards per game on their way to an undefeated season in 2021 but have not faced anyone of the caliber of Alabama. Whilst they do have two top NFL cornerback prospects on the roster and even with John Metchie III injured, it still feels like it’s going to be mission impossible for the Bearcats.
Once notable weaknesses of Luke Fickell’s defence it’s stopping the run. Brian Robinson Jr has been patient in waiting for his chance in this Alabama side and he’s a tough runner. Don’t be surprised if the Senior sees a lot of action in this game on his way to a 100-yard or more game.
Offensively, Quarterback Desmond Ridder has a career playing Sundays awaiting him, but will be in for the toughest game of his career on Friday. The Cincinnati offensive line may have difficulty protecting him versus a top SEC pass rush.
All-in-all I cannot see anything but an Alabama win and I expect it to be a big win too.
Prediction: Alabama 35-14 Cincinnati
Betting tip: Alabama -13.5 (10/11)