No. 1 Alabama (12-1, SEC) v. No. 4 Cincinnati (13-0, American), Dec. 31, 3:30 p.m.
Location: Arlington, Texas
Cincinnati: Senior QB Desmond Rider, passing 3,190 yards, 30 TD; 361 yard rush, six TDOs. His 44 wins by FBS quarterbacks are the third-most wins, after Callen Moore’s 50 and Colt McCoy’s 45. Reader is a school and American Athletic Conference career pioneer with a total of 12,281 yards.
Alabama: QB Bryce Young, with 43 TDs passing 4,322 yards and just four interceptions on 462 attempts. Sophomore is likely a Heisman Trophy finalist with a chance to become the first Crimson Tide quarterback to win the highest individual award in college football.
Cincinnati: The Barclays, the only remaining undefeated team, is the first program outside the Power Five to make the college football playoffs. They are in their second consecutive New Year’s Six game. Their only defeat in the last two seasons was in the Pitch Bowl on New Year’s Day, when Georgia kicked a 53-yard field goal with three seconds left for a 24-21 victory. Cincinnati won the AAC title over Houston, winning 11 games in a row.
Alabama: This is the defending national champion Alabama’s record seventh CFP appearance in eight seasons of the four-team format. This is the second time Crimson Tide has played in the Cotton Bowl for the CFP semifinals, having beaten Michigan State 38-0 on the way to the national title six years ago. But they also played in another semifinal last year at the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys home, beating Notre Dame in a Rose Bowl game moved from California due to an epidemic. Alabama is 8-3 in the CFP Games. The Tide won the SEC title game over Georgia, the only team left undefeated.
Alabama 45, Cincinnati 7 (Nov. 17, 1990).
Cincinnati: First appearance in the Cotton Bowl, 20th overall.
Alabama: Ninth appearance in the Cotton Bowl (4-4), extending his overall record to 74 Bowl games. The next closest team is 17 more than Georgia.
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