Aaron Doster/Associated Press
It would be a great story, a continuation of the most exciting narrative since the advent of the College Football Playoff, if little ol' Group of Five team Cincinnati pulled off the unthinkable and upset the defending champion Alabama Crimson Tide on their quest for the next leg of their dynasty.
But Nick Saban wipes his feet on storybooks, flosses his teeth with hope and washes dreams down the garbage disposal. He's the greatest coach ever.
Yes, Alabama is young and nowhere near as dominant as a season ago. But the Tide have the best offensive player (Bryce Young) and defensive player (Will Anderson Jr.) in college football, as well as a cast of capable youngsters good enough to start for anybody else. It's difficult to see how the Bearcats wind up winning.
The good thing is they've got the best defensive backfield Alabama has faced by far this year. But while Desmond Ridder and former Tide running back Jerome Ford can make plays, it's hard to believe they can sustain enough drives to match points with Young and Co. Can they get enough pressure on the Heisman Trophy winner to force him into uncomfortable moments? Can Cincy's offensive line keep Ridder's pocket clean?
This game will be won with Young's arm and—most importantly—in the trenches. That's where Alabama is much better than the Bearcats. And shockingly, if you listen to Anderson, Saban has the Tide believing they're underdogs rather than two-touchdown favorites.
That's vintage Nick Saban.
This team feels disrespected, and that's not good news for Cinderella. Alabama will cover and win 41-23.
During the Peach Bowl last season, Cincinnati did a solid job of controlling Georgia's defense until an ejection shook up the offensive line. After that, Georgia created a game-changing sack/fumble and racked up eight of its 12 tackles for loss.
If the Bearcats can mimic that first-half performance for all 60 minutes, they have a shot. The secondary, led by All-American corners Ahmad Gardner and Coby Bryant, is fantastic.
But—you probably knew that was coming—this is a see-it-to-believe-it situation. Saban has understandably brainwashed his players into embracing the underdog role, and it seems likely the Tide's talent wins out in the second half.
Source : https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2951938-br-experts-answer-biggest-college-football-playoff-and-ny6-bowl-questions460