After nearly a month’s worth of heated anticipation and celebration following Cincinnati’s AAC Championship win, the Bearcats are set to kick off the College Football Playoff on New Year’s Eve at 3:30 p.m. ET. Cincinnati (13-0, 9-0 American Athletic Conference) will do battle with the Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1, 8-1 SEC) in a quasi-David vs. Goliath matchup.
Cincinnati represents the past Cinderella’s — Boise State, UCF, Utah and TCU — as an outlet for non power teams to secure a chance at competing for a national championship. Bama, a reiteration of their past selves, triumphantly boasting the glory and spoils of another SEC Championship under famed head coach Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide are said to pack nowhere near the punch of the Mac Jones-led 2020 National Championship team, and yet they stand on the edge of a seventh national title in the last 15 years.
- Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET, Friday, December 31, 2021
- Location: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas
- Television/Stream: ESPN
- Online/Mobile App: ESPN+
- Television Announcing Crew: Sean McDonough (play-by-play), Todd Blackledge (analyst) and Molly McGrath (sideline reporter)
- Radio: Bearcats Sports Network 700 WLW AM/ Sirius 82 / XM 82 / The Varsity Network: “Search Cincinnati” for mobile devices
- Radio Announcing Crew: Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Jim Kelly Jr. (analyst)
- Series History: Per usual, Alabama owns the advantage in overall head-to-head matchups vs. their opponent. The Crimson Tide are 5-0 vs. Cincinnati with all their victories coming by 16 points or more, including the last meeting between the two on November 17, 1990 (45-7).
Cincinnati owns up to fruition as the biggest underdog in bowl season, courtesy of Alabama clocking in as a 13.5 favorite. As of this moment, Cincinnati is a 13.5 point underdog to Alabama over at DraftKings.com. The Cincinnati Bearcats (13-0, 8-5 ATS) and the Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1, 7-6 ATS) each fancy the defensive side of the over/under (58) when it comes to playing in their respective roles — Cincinnati has gone under in their last five as an underdog, while Bama is 4-for-6 doing the same as a favorite.
UC sports a 7-1 record ATS in their last eight games played on a Friday. Bama is 0-5 (recently) in that same exact category, but the Crimson Tide have found no trouble find success in the majority of bowl games under Nick Saban with a 15-5 SU record in his tenure.