The Cincinnati Bearcats are the Cinderella story of the 2021 College Football season. They conquered the long odds and became the first Group of 5 team to make the CFB playoffs. Unfortunately, they will be matched up with the greatest dynasty in CFB history in the Alabama Crimson Tide. Nick Saban has won 6 Championships at Alabama since 2009, and has the best player in CFB this year in Bryce Young.
The Formula for Victory
The Bearcats do have the tools to achieve this upset. It starts on the defensive side of the ball, going against the strength of Alabama–their passing attack. Georgia’s defense is the best in CFB, but Cincinnati’s cornerbacks are much better. Ahmad Gardner is going to be a first round NFL draft pick and hasn’t surrendered one receiving touchdown all season. Alongside him is Coby Byrant, who won the Jim Thorpe award for the best defensive back in CFB. With John Metchie out with injury, Cincinnati’s two great cornerbacks can key on Jameson Williams, and slow down Alabama’s offense enough to give them a shot.
Alabama’s secondary has not been as good as in years past. Quarterbacks such as Zach Calzada, have given Alabama problems. That bodes well for Cincinnati, since they have Desmond Ridder, who is one of the best players in CFB this year. For the Bearcats to win, their offense will need to be as successful as their defense. Ridder will need to have pinpoint accuracy and use his mobility to buy extra time in the pocket. Also, the Bearcats will need a great running performance from Jerome Ford and will need Alec Pierce to step up. Jerome Ford has been a touchdown machine with 19 TDs and will need to use his great short yardage ability. Alec Pierce will need to provide that big-play threat that sparks the rest of the team, and he has to constantly get open from Josh Jobe to help the passing game.
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