The College Football Playoff's national semifinals have been set, and No. 1 Alabama opened a 14.5-point favorite at Caesars Sportsbook over No. 4 Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl, and No. 3 Georgia is -7.5 vs. No. 2 Michigan in the Orange Bowl. Both games take place on New Year's Eve, with the Cotton first at 3:30 p.m. ET.
This is the first College Football Playoff to feature a Group of 5 school in Cincinnati, the only team in the playoff without a loss. The Bearcats are the first undefeated team to earn the No. 4 seed in the playoff as the previous seven all entered with a loss. UC is a +1400 long shot to win the national title. That game is Monday, Jan. 10 from Indianapolis. The last No. 4 seed to win it all was Alabama following the 2017 season.
The Crimson Tide rose to No. 1 in the final CFP rankings with Saturday's upset of previously unbeaten and ex-No. 1 Georgia in the SEC title game. It's the fifth time that Bama is the No. 1 seed and it's the Tide's seventh appearance in the playoff. The rest of the field has combined for four. Alabama is a +120 favorite to win it all again. Cincinnati and Alabama have met five times and the Tide have won them all. They last played No. 17, 1990.
Michigan spanked Iowa in the Big Ten title game and is in the playoff for the first time. In addition, the Wolverines are the first team to make the CFP after starting the season unranked in the preseason AP poll. U-M hasn't played Georgia since 1965. The Wolverines are +800 to win it all.
The Bulldogs (+135) probably should have slipped to No. 4 in the final rankings after Saturday's loss, but the CFP committee didn't want an immediate rematch with the Tide. UGA is the fifth team to make the College Football Playoff without winning a conference championship. Three of the previous four lost in the semifinal. The only one that didn't was Alabama following the 2017 season when it beat Georgia in OT for the national title.
The Heisman Trophy finalists will be announced Monday, but Alabama QB Bryce Young is going to win it – he's the massive -6000 favorite. Here's the SportsLine Projection Model's simulations for the playoff.
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