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My CFP Preview

Orange: (2) Michigan vs. (3) Georgia

Defense. Defense. Defense. If you are a true football head and love to watch games won in the trenches, this may be the perfect game for you. Two of the premier offensive lines in the country (one being the Joe Moore winner in Michigan) vs. two of the better defenses in the country. Both teams will need to limit each other's run games. This game may come down to which QB makes the big plays in the big moments—Cade McNamara/J.J. McCarthy or Stetson "The Mailman" Bennett. You may think it would be the guy with the sick nickname, but McNamara has been steady for the Wolverines, which is exactly what they need. They do not need a hero from that position with the run game they hold with Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins, a.k.a Lightning and Thunder. Georgia's offense is no slouch, however. I think it is quite underrated when Bennett is clicking. Brock Bowers is an absolute blast to watch, and I am curious about how UM's defense will play him.

Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo on one side. Nakobe Dean and Jordan Davis (who looks like the size of two humans but moves like a lion with its prey in sight), on the other. I can not express enough how awesome it will be watching these defenses go head-to-head against each other stop-for-stop. Man, it gives me goosebumps. Hutchinson will more than likely be the top pick in this year's draft, or at least he should be, with Ojabo not far behind. From a prediction standpoint, I would lean toward not many points in this one with two top-10 defenses slugging it out. If I pick a winner, I think the mailman and the Bulldogs deliver a close one.

Cotton: (4) Cincinnati vs. (1) Alabama

Ah yes, the classic David vs. Goliath. A tale as old as time. However, if you walk around the Cincinnati campus, there is a sense of "we belong here." They almost and probably should have beat Georgia last year. This year they finally get their shot at the big dog. Alabama has been there done that, and they know they belong. Cincinnati has one of those things... This team belongs here, but those lights sure are bright. However, this team went into South Bend and smacked Notre Dame right in the kisser. Also, the UC fanbase travels quite well, and I fully expect them to overshadow or at least compete with the Bama crowd as crazy and absurd as that sounds, as Alabama is the best of the best in college football every year.

Now onto the actual players on the field. I have been to a few Cincinnati games this season as it is about an hour from me, and this is the greatest season in school history, so why not enjoy some good football.

Desmond Ridder is a baller. There will be moments of uncertainty in a game, and then out of nowhere, he will casually make a big play and keep his poise and make another and then seal the game for the Bearcats. There is no panic in this guy's face EVER! He certainly gets some help from Jerome Ford, an Alabama transfer, but he doesn't like the sound of that. He is a Bearcat through and through. Ford is a bowling ball in the backfield, and I am excited to see him in his revenge game against his former squad.

My problem with the Cincy offense going up against the Bama D is can the o-line give Ridder enough time against a high caliber defense they have not seen all year, led by who some say is the best defensive player in the nation in Will Anderson (who will be a top pick in 2023). The next question is can the UC receivers get separation against the Alabama secondary. The Bearcat wideouts can go up and get balls. That is Alec Pierce's specialty, but this secondary led by Jalyn Armour-Davis and Jordan Battle is good at getting their hands at the point of the ball and making tough plays.

For Alabama, it all falls on the Heisman winner's shoulders, as it should. Bryce Young is not scared of the moment. This Alabama offense can put up some serious points in a hurry. Jameson Williams can fly all over the field, and running back Brian Robinson Jr. is an animal in yards after contact. Young will need some folks to step up (Slade Bolden and JoJo Earle) as John Metchie is out for a knee injury for the rest of the year.

This is where it gets tricky for the Bama offense. Cincy will not let Young get comfortable and hit every area of the field. The Bearcats have a defense comparable to both teams competing in the Orange Bowl. For a group of five team, Cincinnati has plenty of NFL talent, beginning with corners Sauce Gardner and Coby Bryant, who what feels like have not allowed a TD since the dinosaurs were still roaming the planet. This defense is confident and will not give in to the moment, no matter how big.

I know folks say this almost every year when it comes to college football, but it was as chaotic as it comes. I understand the Alabama Crimson Tide does this every year, and they should win this game. However, this will be closer than the massacres we have seen in years past during the CFP Semifinals. It would not surprise me if the stone struck dead on the noggin and Cincy knocked off Goliath.

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