Alabama beat Cincinnati in college football playoffs

Meanwhile, Cincinnati was trying to justify its place in the same field.

The Bearcats (13-1) also carried the banner of schools outside of the so-called Power 5 conferences – Southeast, Big Ten, Big 12, Atlantic Coast and Pacific 12 – and independent Notre Dame. No school other than this privileged class, where most of the millions of collegiate sports flock to, has qualified for the playoffs that were established for the 2014 season. Central Florida has been eliminated twice despite consecutive unbeaten regular seasons.

If the Bearcats left the field after performing well, they also carried some regrets with them: they agreed to an early field goal when Ridder passed over Alec Pierce’s head in the end zone; not being able to jump to a fumble deep in Alabama territory and doing little to secure the interception of Brian Cook near midfield.

Mostly, however, Cincinnati will regret not being able to take Alabama off the field after decisive falls. The Crimson Tide converted five of nine plays on the third and fourth downs of the first half, and climbed out of the third and 16th holes at the end of the third period when Young connected with Jameson Williams 20 yards above the middle.

While the teams have spent the last month preparing for each other, they have also been concerned about avoiding the latest spike in coronavirus cases that has caused seven teams to pull out of the games. Two Alabama assistant coaches, offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and offensive line coach Doug Marrone, had to spend more than a week in isolation before returning to the team this week. Universities did not report that any players tested positive before the game.

If teams were vigilant, limiting media access to video calls among other measures, there was little in the environment that hinted at a pandemic.

Some bars and restaurants across the country require patrons to show proof of vaccination, but in local entertainment districts, it has been hard to find anything at local entertainment venues, which even required masks to enter. The same could be said for AT&T Stadium, where masked fans made up a small part of a crowd of 76,313, and a sign outside the press box read, “Masks are welcome.”