The 2021 Goodyear Cotton Bowl features the 12-1 Alabama Crimson Tide against the 13-0 Cincinnati Bearcats. Here is the 2021 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Preview.
Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1)
Alabama dropped a game to Texas A&M, but then won out in order to make the College Football Playoff. They defeated nine bowl-eligible teams this season, including Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide are currently on a seven-game win streak.
The offense scores 42.5 points per game, ranking fourth in the country. They rush for 147.6 yards (ranked 80th) and pass for 347.9 yards per game (ranked seventh).
Bryce Young won the Heisman Trophy this season for his excellent play at quarterback. He has led the high-powered offense with 4,322 passing yards, 43 touchdowns and four interceptions on 68 percent completion. Seven pass-catchers have over 200 receiving yards on the season. Jameson Williams leads the team with 68 receptions for 1,445 yards and 15 touchdowns. The Crimson Tide’s second-leading receiver, John Metchie is out for this game with an injury. That means Slade Bolden, Cameron Latu, Jahleel Billingsly and some of Alabama’s younger receivers will need to help fill the void.
The rushing attack is led by Brian Robinson. Robinson has 1,071 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on the season. Roydell Williams and Trey Sanders each have more than 200 rushing yards behind him. While Young only has 31 yards, he is a threat to run as well.
Their defense allows 20.1 points per game, ranking 18th in the FBS. They give up 82.8 rushing yards (ranked fourth) and 223.3 passing yards per game (ranked 62nd). Linebacker Henry To’o To’o leads the team with 100 tackles. Will Anderson has been one of the best players in the country with 15.5 sacks on the year. DeMarcco Hellams, Jordan Battle and Jalyn Armour-Davis each have helped with three interceptions.
Cincinnati Bearcats (13-0)
The Cincinnati Bearcats went 13-0 after a second straight undefeated regular season. They are the first group of five team to make the College Football Playoff. The Bearcats won games against seven bowl-eligible teams this season.
The offense scores 38.8 points per game, which ranks ninth in the country. They rush for 180.9 yards (ranked 47th) and pass for 248.7 yards per game (ranked 53rd).
Desmond Ridder has been a four-year starter at quarterback for the Bearcats. This season, he has passed for 3,190 yards, 30 touchdowns and eight interceptions on 65.9 percent completion. Eight different pass-catchers have over 200 receiving yards for the Bearcats. The leading receiver is Alec Pierce, who has 50 catches for 867 yards and eight touchdowns. Tyler Scott and Tre Tucker each have over 400 receiving yards. Tight end Josh Whyle has a knack for finding the endzone with six touchdown catches this season.
Jerome Ford has been a star for the Bearcats and led their rushing attack. He has 1,242 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns on the season. Ridder is the team’s second-leading rusher from the quarterback position with 361 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Ryan Montgomery has helped with 309 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the year.
Their defense allows 16.1 points per game, tying them for fourth in the FBS. They concede 137.5 rushing yards (ranked 45th) and 168.3 passing yards per game (ranked second). Linebacker Joe Dubianko leads the team with 106 tackles. Defensive end Myjai Sanders has had 2.5 sacks on the season, which is a down year. Curtis Brooks has helped fill the void with 7.5 sacks. Cornerbacks Ahmad Garnder and Coby Bryant help form one of the best duos in college football. They have 15 passes defended and six interceptions between the three of them.
Alabama is favored by almost two touchdowns in this game. They have a lot more depth than Cincinnati, which will lead them to a win, but it may not be as easy as the public thinks. Cincinnati has enough talent to keep it closer than the spread.
Alabama Crimson Tide 38 Cincinnati Bearcats 26
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