Georgia then look to bounce back from defeat in the SEC Championship in the semifinals against No. 2 Michigan in the Capital One Orange Cup.
Cotton bowl: no. No. 1 against Alabama. 4 Cincinnati
Beargates became the first school to make the top four in the CFP with four teams outside of Power 5, having lost just one of their last 24 games after finishing the regular season 13-0.
Although David vs. Goliath is considered a match, Cincinnati coach Luke Fickle said he faces the challenge lagging behind. “This is not a group that wants to do, ‘Hey, let’s shock the world’ or anything like that,” Fickel said.
“We understand that this is a bigger challenge than anything we’ve faced in the past, namely a team that has been transparent in the playoffs seven times and, as we mention, the champions.”
Saban, meanwhile, has not seen Cincinnati pass, and he thinks they are “the best team we’ve played all year.”
The Cotton Bowl is scheduled to launch at 3:30 pm ET on ESPN.
Orange Bowl: no. 3 Georgia and no. 2 Michigan
As both teams end the long national championship drought, Georgia’s powerful defense will take the stage against Michigan’s elite offensive line.
After losing the first game of the season at the SEC Championships, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart told Alabama that the defeat was “a little awareness for our comrades” that “you grow more in a year after a defeat.”
The Bulldogs want to win the school’s first national championship title since 1980.
Michigan, meanwhile, has not won a national title since 1997 and went to first school on Friday, becoming the first school to hold a place in the CFP after entering the unrated rankings in the first 25 of the AP poll.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said he has maintained his team’s attitude in the game throughout the year.
“We’ve going to our 14th game and it’s calculated,” Harbaugh said. “Our guys have done a tremendous job every day, making every day important, and then when they come to the games, they count those days.
“They did it successfully. We will continue the same formula, we will try to celebrate the best days of it. We’re going to do it today, we’re going to have great meetings. We’ll have a good walk. Try to get it, and then get the energy and play the game.”
ET will begin at 7:30 pm on the Orange Bowl ESPN.