- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
ATLANTA — Alabama football is on to Cincinnati.
The Bearcats will be the next opponent on the schedule for the Crimson Tide, the College Football Playoff Committee announced Sunday. Alabama received the No. 1 seed while Cincinnati is No. 4.
The Bearcats became the first Group of 5 team to reach the CFP.
The Crimson Tide (12-1) and Cincinnati (13-0) will face each other on Dec. 31 in the Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Here's a look at Cincinnati ahead of the matchup:
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: Alabama football bullies Georgia to win SEC Championship Game
Bearcats riding an impressive two-year stretch
Cincinnati is the last undefeated team in the field, and the Bearcats have put together back-to-back impressive seasons.
Cincinnati has only lost one game over the past two seasons, and that came to Georgia by a field goal in the Peach Bowl to end last season.
Coach Luke Fickell has put together a Group of 5 juggernaut that has shown it can also beat some of the Power 5's best.
The Bearcats beat Notre Dame this season, 24-13. And that team was no slouch; the Fighting Irish finished No. 5 in the CFP rankings.
Fickell is 44-6 in his four seasons with the Bearcats. That's no small feat, no matter the level of competition.
But a matchup against No. 1 Alabama and Nick Saban will be a next-level challenge for the Bearcats. It should be a true measuring stick for Cincinnati.
Player to watch: QB Desmond Ridder
He only had two collegiate offers (from Cincinnati and Eastern Kentucky) coming out of high school, but Ridder has made the most of the offer from the Bearcats.
He's the all-time leading touchdown passer in Cincinnati's history. He's also won more than 40 games. According to his bio on the Bearcats' website, he became the fifth quarterback to reach that mark all-time.
His 3,190 passing yards this season rank No. 18 in the country. His 30 passing touchdowns rank 13th.
By comparison, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young has 4,322 passing yards (No. 4) and 43 touchdowns (No. 2).
While Young will return for another season as he would not yet be draft eligible, Ridder could end up being a high-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
An opportunistic secondary
The Bearcats secondary vs. Young will be a compelling matchup.
On one side is Young, the Heisman Trophy favorite. On the other, Cincinnati has an elite secondary.
The Bearcats have intercepted 18 passes this season, ranked No. 3 in FBS. They also have allowed only 168.3 passing yards per game, which ranks second in the country. Georgia sits at No. 3, having allowed 172.7.
Over 13 games, Cincinnati has given up only 10 passing touchdowns.
It will be a challenging secondary for Young to face. Then again, he just passed for 421 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions against the Bulldogs.
Alabama 45, Cincinnati 20: The Bearcats deserve to be in the playoff no doubt. There's a difference, however, between deserving to be in the playoff and being able to beat Alabama in a first playoff semifinal appearance. Saban and the Crimson Tide provide a less-than-warm welcome.
Contact Alabama reporter Nick Kelly: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly
This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Alabama football vs Cincinnati: Scouting report, score prediction