Opinions from the college football, pundit world are overwhelmingly picking Alabama Football to beat Cincinnati. It is tempting to state the predictions are unanimous. But without seeing any evidence of a pick for the Bearcats, there are probably a few contrarians not picking the Alabama Crimson Tide.
The flip side of opinions, across most of college football, is the broad hope the Bearcats can dethrone the Tide. That widespread hope of a Cincinnati upset might somewhat motivate Alabama football players.
The Crimson Tide team should not need any external motivation. The team has struggled enough this season, it should have fresh enough memories of how it feels to lose or to play below its own standard of performance.
Being a decided underdog is an advantage for Cincinnati. The Bearcats not only want to topple Big Bad Bama, but they also want to prove a top, non-Power Five team should always be viewed as a legitimate championship contender.
Alabama was well prepared and highly motivated to beat the Georgia Bulldogs. Winning over Cincinnati can be achieved without a sky-high level of motivation. What cannot be diminished is the preparation component.
Nick Saban will make sure the team is focused on preparation. A couple of weeks ago, Saban said,
"I think the big challenge is just because you did it once (playing at a high level against Georgia), doesn’t mean it’s going to stay with you. We did what we did for a reason, the way we prepared, the mindset we had going into the game.You get can relieved over all that, or you can actually build on that and know that you made it happen, and you’re going to make it happen in the future by what you do. I think that’s going to be the real key for our team moving forward."
Alabama Football Player Leadership
Coaches can only do so much to get a team prepared to compete at a high level. Players must also motivate themselves and player leaders must motivate their teammates.
Fifth-year senior, Phidarian Mathis is a team leader and he knows exactly what is required in preparation.
"Don’t worry about the outside factors. No. 1 stuff don’t mean nothing. It’s all about us in this facility, just working hard, and just grinding. Ain’t got to worry about the outside factors. Don’t let none of that get to us. No. 1 doesn’t mean anything. We still got to work."
Assuming ‘going to work’ is foremost in the minds of Crimson Tide players, Cincinnati’s underdog motivation will do it little good.
Check-in with Bama Hammer often. While not ignoring basketball, we will focus most of our attention on every aspect of the Alabama Football semi-final game with Cincinnati.