No. 1 Alabama ready to face No. 4 Cincinnati in Cotton Bowl

The Crimson Tide and the Bearcats have met four times in the past, with Alabama winning all four previous meetings.
Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 5:37 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 30, 2021 at 10:56 PM CST
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DALLAS, Texas (WSFA) - It’s been nearly a month since Alabama last played a football game, but if you think the Tide won’t be ready for their seventh College Football Playoff appearance come Friday - think again.

“The goal from a coach’s standpoint, from our standpoint, is to get the players gaining a sense of urgency, a sense of focus the closer they get to the game and not having practiced so much they start getting bored with what they’re doing, and I haven’t seen that from our team,” said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. “Our players seem to be focused, practicing well, doing the things that they need to do to prepare to play a very, very good Cincinnati team who certainly competed well all season long and certainly deserves the right to be in the playoffs.”

“We’re blessed to be here, but we also understand the work that’s necessary for us to accomplish our goals,” added sophomore quarterback Bryce Young. “And we’re in the process of pushing ourselves each and every day to give us the best chance and the best possibility to be successful.”

It’s no secret Alabama is heavily favored to win the Cotton Bowl Classic; however the Tide is facing it’s own set of challenges. The team lost one of its top receivers in John Metchie III during the SEC Championship game and will likely be without cornerback Josh Jobe.

But the good news is, unlike Cincinnati, this isn’t Alabama’s first rodeo in the playoffs. The top-ranked Tide has plenty of experience in the postseason, and Saban said it’s up to his guys to take advantage of that.

“We try to establish a routine with our players in terms of how we prepare them. And it’s up to each individual player as to how focused, how important, what kind of choices and decisions that they want to make relative to how they’re going to go out and compete and play in the game,” said Saban. “Preparation, how they practice, how they prepare for the game, their focus, all those things contribute to that. And most of the time, when players have something to prove or something’s important to them, that sort of brings out the best in them.”

Alabama will be making it’s ninth appearance in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.

Kickoff is Friday at 2:30 p.m. inside AT&T Stadium.

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