The Alabama Crimson Tide took care of business on Saturday, defeating the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship Game and earning themselves yet another SEC title. The win also assured them a spot in the College Football Playoff. Given their overall record and all the other bona fides they brought with them, they ended up exactly where they usually end up, as the No. 1 seed in the CFP.
Their opponent in the CFP semifinals will be the Cincinnati Bearcats, the first Group of Five team to make it to the playoffs since its inception in 2015. While the Bearcats finished undefeated and boast a win over Notre Dame, who finished No. 5 in the CFP rankings, plenty of people are assuming that they don’t belong there and that Alabama is going to run wild on them.
Don’t count Nick Saban among them, given his initial comments following the announcement.
Nick Saban: "We certainly think Cincinnati belongs in the playoff."
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) December 5, 2021
Nick Saban on Cincinnati: “I think the big thing for our players is to know things aren’t going to easier. They’re going to get much more difficult. … We certainly think Cincinnati belongs in the playoffs. … They’ve beat some really good teams."
— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) December 5, 2021
While Nick meant well, he did give some folks something fun to play with when, amongst the “good” teams he said Cincinnati defeated, he included Indiana.
nick saban just said cincinnati has beaten some really good teams ‘like notre dame and indiana’
— Sam Richmond (@samrichmondBR) December 5, 2021
Thinking about the Indiana “Nick Saban called Cincinnati’s win over us a quality win” Football Hoosiers
— Colin Wright (@colinfhw) December 5, 2021
Nick Saban on Cincinnati: "They've beaten some really good teams, whether it's Notre Dame, Indiana."
— Dustin Schutte (@SchutteCFB) December 5, 2021
We’re guessing Nick hasn’t been paying attention to Indiana too much this season and just remembers they went 8-5 in 2019 and 6-2 in the truncated 2020 season.
Regardless, Nick Saban is expecting a good game from Luke Fickell’s bunch and, given the negative criticisms his Bama team has endured this year for not blowing out opponents, he’s gotta be pretty happy to be atop the heap once more.
Nick Saban looks entirely too happy right now. Cincinnati might lose by 50.
— Nathan King (@NathanKing247) December 5, 2021