College Football Playoff: Alabama Crimson Tide vs Cincinnati Bearcats Predictions, Odds, Picks
- When Alabama has the ball – Can the Heisman quarterback keep it up?
- When Cincinnati has the ball — Nothing to lose for “Cinderella”
- X-factors to watch
Alabama Crimson Tide vs Cincinnati Bearcats Odds
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Alabama Crimson Tide vs Cincinnati Bearcats Trends to Watch
- Bearcats are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games as an underdog
- Bearcats are 6-0 ATS vs. a team with a winning record
- Bearcats are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 Friday games
- Bearcats are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games
- Under is 24-5-1 in Bearcats last 30 games as an underdog
- Over is 10-3 in Bearcats last 13 games in December
- Under is 5-2 in Bearcats last 7 games overall
- Crimson Tide are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games
- Crimson Tide are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games
- Under is 5-0 in Crimson Tide last 5 Bowl Semifinal games
- Under is 3-1-1 in Crimson Tide last 5 bowl games
- Over is 5-2 in Crimson Tide last 7 games following a ATS win
Strength on Strength With Bama Passing Attack and Bearcats Defense
He may not have been the classic Heisman winner – a runaway candidate who was clearly the best player in the country – but freshman quarterback Bryce Young had a fantastic season by every measure and is one of the main reasons the Tide are in this spot.
Young ranked in the top five in the country in nearly every major statistic, with 4,322 passing yards (4th), 43 touchdowns (2nd) and four interceptions (4th). And the signal caller was at his best against the best defense in the country, putting up 421 yards, three touchdowns and no picks against Georgia in the SEC title game.
Hiis success largely stemmed from his two future first-round wideout targets in Jameson Williams and John Metchie. Williams caught 68 passes for a team-high 1,415 yards (21.3 yards per catch) and 15 touchdowns. Metchie led the way in receptions (96) and racked up 1,132 yards and eight scores in the process.
We saw Alabama shred Georgia in the SEC Championship, but statistically speaking, Cincinnati’s defense (No. 2, giving up 168.3 passing yards per game) is as good as the Bulldogs (No. 3, giving up 172.7 yards per game). And it’s not just stats, but names – with Ahmad “Sauce Gardner and Coby Bryant, who might make up the best secondary in the nation.
Whoever gets the better of this matchup will have the upper hand in the game.
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Desmond Ridder Has a Fine Line to Walk
It’s human nature to try and outshine your opponent. Think about it if you’re Ridder – you play for the ‘Cinderella’ and the other quarterback won the Heisman. Everybody is counting you out.
There’s no way he isn’t going to try and shine. But the key here is- make sure he doesn’t press too much, because that can lead to turnovers and a quick blowout.
Ridder doesn’t seem that type; he’s met all expectations so far this year, completing 65.9 percent of his passes for 3,190 yards, 30 touchdowns and eight interceptions, while winning every game this season.
He’s one of the four winningest quarterbacks in college football history, so while this is the biggest game of his life, he’s ready for the test
However, Alabama’s defense will be the best the Bearcats have seen since Notre Dame earlier this season.
But the Tide has the best defensive player in the nation in Will Anderson, who finished with 91 tackles, a nation-leading 31.5 tackles for loss, including 15.5 sacks, nine quarterback hurries and two pass breakups.
But no matter what, if you’re Cincinnati, you have to be aggressive. That means going for it on fourth downs and executing when you’re in the red zone.
X-factors to Watch
The x-factors on both sides are the rushing attacks; since both teams lean more heavily on the pass, the one that can run and control the clock more will likely have the upper hand.
Cincinnati’s lead back is Jerome Ford and he’s a good one – running 200 times for 1,242 yards (6.2 yards per carrying) and 19 touchdowns.
On the flipside, Brian Robinson Jr. is Alabama’s top rusher. He’s good, but the rushing attack has been a far cry from where it has been over the last 10 years. Still, he tallied 1,071 rushing yards and 14 scores and compiled another 268 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
Whichever team’s back has the better game will be in good shape.
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How to Watch Alabama vs Cincinnati
|Alabama Crimson Tide vs Cincinnati Bearcats Information|
|Teams||Alabama Crimson Tide vs Cincinnati Bearcats|
|Location||AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX|
|Time||Friday, Dec. 31,3:30 p.m. EST|
|How to watch||ESPN|
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Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.