Bearcats vs Tide: Cotton Bowl CFP semifinal at a glance

No. 1 Alabama (12-1, SEC) vs. No. 4 Cincinnati (13-0, American), Dec. 31, 3:30 p.m. ET

LOCATION: Arlington, Texas

TOP PLAYERS

Cincinnati: Senior QB Desmond Ridder, 3,190 yards passing, 30 TDs; 361 yards rushing, six TDs. His 44 wins are the third-most ever by an FBS quarterback, behind Kellen Moore’s 50 and Colt McCoy’s 45. Ridder is the school and American Athletic Conference career leader with 12,281 total yards.

Alabama: QB Bryce Young, 4,322 yards passing with 43 TDs and only four interceptions on 462 attempts. The sophomore is likely a Heisman Trophy finalist, with a chance to become the first Crimson Tide quarterback to win college football’s highest individual award.

NOTABLE

Cincinnati: The Bearcats, the only remaining undefeated team, are the first program from outside the Power Five to make the College Football Playoff. They are in their second consecutive New Year’s Six game. Their only loss over the past two seasons was in the Peach Bowl last New Year’s Day, when Georgia kicked a 53-yard field goal with three seconds left for a 24-21 win. Cincinnati won the AAC title over Houston, which had won 11 games in a row.

Alabama: This is defending national champion Alabama’s record seventh CFP appearance in the eight seasons of the four-team format. This is the second time the Crimson Tide have played in the Cotton Bowl for a CFP semifinal, having beaten Michigan State 38-0 six years ago on way to a national title. But they also played at the home of NFL’s Dallas Cowboys in another semifinal last year, beating Notre Dame in a Rose Bowl game relocated from California because of the pandemic. Alabama is 8-3 in CFP games. The Tide won the SEC title game over Georgia, which had been the only other remaining team without a loss.

LAST TIME

Alabama 45, Cincinnati 7 (Nov. 17, 1990).

BOWL HISTORY

Cincinnati: First appearance in Cotton Bowl, 20th bowl overall.

Alabama: Ninth appearance in Cotton Bowl (4-4), extending its overall record to 74 bowl games. That is 17 more than Georgia, the next closest team.

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