Alabama Football: Tide and the Bearcats are both good for college football

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Whatever happens, when Alabama Football and the Cincinnati Bearcats tangle in Dallas this afternoon, it will be good for college football. Crimson Tide fans are confident in a victory over the upstart Bearcats.

Most of us will root for a Crimson Tide blowout, allowing the Alabama Football starters to watch most of the second half from the sideline. A comfortable lead after the first offensive possession of the third quarter would allow Nick Saban to reduce the injury risk of Crimson Tide players competing in the entire contest.

It is not impossible for Cincinnati to make the game competitive. A game with many Crimson Tide errors could even be close in the fourth quarter. Without a rash of Tide mistakes and some freak plays going Cincinnati’s way, the Tide’s winning margin should be two to three touchdowns – maybe more.

The Alabama Crimson Tide is that much better than the Cincinnati Bearcats.

Whatever the margin, it is good for the Playoff format to have included a Group of Five team, as one of the four best this season. Which is not to say the Bearcats were clearly one of the four best. An undefeated Group of Five schedule, even with a win over Notre Dame, does not provide conclusive validation.

But the Bearcats have a chance to prove they belong and that can only be good for college football. The flip side would be a failure to prove they are Playoff worthy. That too might be of value as the disagreements over an expanded Playoff format are eventually resolved. A Bearcats bust in the Cotton Bowl might blunt the argument for auto-qualifying Power Five Champions.

Reward Merit Instead of Entitlement

Sure, rooting for an underdog is fun. Even more fun for most of the college football world would be a Playoff upset of a college football whale. That would be especially true if the whale was the Alabama Crimson Tide.

If however, the Playoffs are about having the best four or eight or twelve teams compete for the national title, then average teams, even as conference champions should not automatically qualify.

While rooting for a Crimson Tide win, respecting a tough fight from Cincinnati would be in order. The Bearcats will be on a bigger stage than most of them could have ever imagined. As much as Alabama Football blowouts are fun, it is hard to relish a beatdown against a non-rival team or coach.

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Many bowls, other than being featured media content, have lost past luster. The market for entertainment demands them. For some lesser teams, they are still a big deal. But there is not much worse than going to the Idaho Potato Bowl or the Guaranteed Rate Bowl and losing.