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Fear Not, Bearcats: Alabama Has a Cotton Bowl Curse

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Football Action at the Cotton Bowl Game

As of this moment, Cincinnati is a 13.5 point underdog to Alabama over at DraftKings.com.

I think the smart money is on Cincinnati in this one. We are lucky to be playing Bama in the Cotton Bowl.

Your Cincinnati Bearcats have never played in the Cotton Bowl. It’s tabula rasa for us.

Alabama has a much different relationship with the game.

Despite all of Bama’s success in bowl games, the Cotton Bowl has never been their strongest suit.

In almost every other major bowl game, Alabama has a winning record (Bama lost their only appearance in the Fiesta Bowl, back in 1990). Which makes sense. They are the measuring stick for college football and have been for several generations.

Alabama has a 4-4 mark all-time in the Cotton Bowl. This makes sense. The Alabama Crimson Tide teams historically that went to the Cotton Bowl were not their top clubs. They were teams that did not win the SEC and earn a spot in the Sugar Bowl. These were still strong teams but, typically, not the best in school history.

The most infamous instance of the Crimson Tide curse at the Cotton Bowl came on January 1, 1954. It was not one of the finest days in Alabama’s illustrious football history. The Tide lost 28-6 to Rice but the day is most remembered for a decision that Alabama’s captain, running back Tommy Lewis, made during the second quarter.

As Rice’s running back Dicky Maegle raced down the sideline for a sure touchdown, Lewis jumped off the Alabama bench and tackled Maegle. The referee award Maegle a touchdown and ejected Lewis from the game. Maegele scored 4 touchdowns on the day and ran for a longtime Cotton Bowl record of 265 yards. The pair later appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show together, where Lewis explained that he was “just so full of Alabama” that he had to do it. Thankfully, Maegle was not hurt on the play and, in later years, the men became friends.

Hoping for the best and expecting the best, my fellow Bearcats.