Bowl season is upon us! Much of the nation’s attention has shifted to the four-team playoff that will commence on New Year’s Eve. Nick Saban's Crimson Tide has earned the top seed and will battle a rather unfamiliar opponent to a Cincinnati Bearcats program that is making history as the first non-power conference team to make the College Football Playoff. An undefeated season paired with a second consecutive AAC Championship title has Luke Fickell's soaring Bearcats worthy of this tremendous honor. It represents a massive opportunity for Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder, who has a chance to be the first quarterback selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. A strong showing against Alabama could work wonders for his draft stock.
The other semi-final presents two storied establishments in this year’s fierce iteration of the Orange Bowl. The Georgia Bulldogs will square off with a surging Michigan Wolverines program that has defeated both Ohio State and Iowa in a string of rather impressive showings. Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines have defied expectations all season and will now set their sights on winning their first national championship since 1997.
This year's selection comes without controversy, as all four of these programs are deserving of being in this position. All four teams will believe in themselves in their unrelenting pursuit for glory. Let's take a look at this year's championship odds, via BetOnline:
- Alabama (+120)
- Georgia (+145)
- Michigan (+650)
- Cincinnati (+1100)
Alabama soared to the top of the rankings due to a shockingly convincing 41-24 triumph over the Bulldogs in Saturday's SEC Championship Game. That inspiring showing is partly why we're backing Alabama to capture their third championship in the last five years.
Saban's Crimson Tide entered the contest against Georgia in rare territory as the underdogs, but more than rose to the occasion while making their naysayers look rather foolish. Heisman favorite Bryce Young carved up the nation's top-ranked defense in unbelievable fashion. Young completed 26-of-44 passes for an astounding 421 passing yards and three touchdowns. Young added 40 yards and a rushing touchdown via the ground game on three attempts. It's impossible to overstate what Young and Alabama's offense did to a Georgia defense that is loaded with five-star recruits and defenders that will play professionally on Sundays.
Alabama is undeniably the nation's most powerful and successful program. The Crimson Tide are a battle-tested brand that possess all the tools necessary to capture yet another title. Young is performing as well as any quarterback in the country and is a true playmaker in every sense of the word. Losing John Metchie III to a non-contact torn ACL hurts immeasurably, but fellow receiver Jameson Williams is an electric talent that is capable of picking up the slack. If Saturday's dominant performance against Georgia is any indication, Saban has his team peaking at the opportune moment. It should lead to more glory for a program that has captured an embarrassment of riches in the ever-important championships department.