Two touchdown underdogs: That's what Vegas thinks of the University of Cincinnati Bearcats in their Cotton Bowl matchup against Alabama.
Cincinnati has heard for more than three weeks about becoming the first non-Power Five team to break into the College Football Playoff, and then what a big underdog the Bearcats are against Alabama.
But after going toe-to-toe with Georgia a year ago, beating Notre Dame in South Bend in October, and finishing the season as the only undefeated team in college football, you can bet the Bearcats are going to be betting on themselves.
"If you want to have a shot at the title, you got to beat the champs," Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder said. "This is what we have. We have a shot to beat the champs and regardless of what the line is ... It's just a reality that the teams that play the best win the football game, regardless of if we're favored or if we're underdogs."
"They're going to try to prove somebody wrong," Ridder added. "But the reality is we just want to prove ourselves right.
The success of Cincinnati's football season actually began with a loss to Georgia in last year's Peach Bowl. A close game — that some say Cincinnati should have won — showed the nation that the Bearcats could compete with the best.
"We went toe to toe with them," Cincinnati linebacker Joel Dublanko said. "A lot of people would say that's kind of the team that they have now. I think that's been a huge impact in kind of some of the preseason stuff. Obviously, we had to go out there and take care of business and do what we've done. I think that was definitely a good springboard, you know, to into the season."
Alabama is a program that always seems to be in the National Championship conversation. Their first title came in 1925, and their latest came last season. They've claimed a total of 18 National Championships, six of those coming in the last 12 years under current head coach Nick Saban.
Cincinnati knows if you make it this far, you're going to run into a program like Alabama.
"Yeah, I mean, it's a great opportunity we have. Growing up, Alabama has always been that team that No. 1 teams try to knock off," Cincinnati wide receiver Alec Pierce said. "So it's an unbelievable opportunity — everything I ever dreamed of."
While the Cotton Bowl is their last guaranteed opportunity to play together, especially for the more than 30 seniors, the Bearcats know it doesn’t have to be the end of what has already been an epic journey.
“Their attitudes have been great," Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell said. “I think they really understand the opportunity they have in front of them, and these situations and these things don’t come around every year.”
Source : https://www.wlwt.com/article/cincinnati-bearcats-odds-cotton-bowl-alabama/38635417606