*Bruce Buffer voice*
It's TIIIIIIIMMME FOR THE MAIN EVENT OF BOWL SEASON.
The College Football Playoff has finally arrived and it comes with two fantastic national semifinals at the Cotton Bowl and Orange Bowl.
The Cotton Bowl brings us the ultimate David-versus-Goliath college football storyline. Cincinnati is the first-ever Group of Five team to qualify for the playoff and Alabama is the three-time CFB Playoff champion.
Georgia and Michigan face off in the Orange Bowl in the nightcap. Georgia was viewed as the untouchable No. 1 team in the country until it fell to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. Michigan qualified for its first playoff with a fantastic performance over Ohio State and a blowout win in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Alabama and Georgia are the established powers in both matchups and the point spreads reflect that, but I believe only one of the two favorites will cover on New Year's Eve.
CFB Playoff Picks
Cincinnati (+13.5) vs. Alabama
My Cincinnati pick comes down to the passing game matchup between Alabama's wide receivers and Cincinnati's defensive backs.
Cincinnati has arguably the best defensive back duo in the FBS with Sauce Gardner and Coby Bryant. Alabama is without John Metchie after he suffered a torn ACL in the SEC Championship Game.
Gardner and Bryant should split time covering Jameson Williams, which means Bryce Young must find different targets to torch the Cincinnati defense with.
The defensive back duo should keep Cincinnati within a touchdown in the first half before the Crimson Tide make halftime adjustments.
The first half is vital to any success the Bearcats want to have in the Cotton Bowl. That includes a strong defense and a decent start for Desmond Ridder, Jerome Ford and the offense.
Alabama's defense was not perfect throughout the regular season and its high level of talent should not intimidate Cincinnati after the Bearcats played Georgia close in the Peach Bowl last season.
Cincinnati might not have enough to beat Alabama, but it should remain within two touchdowns.
Georgia (-7.5) vs. Michigan
Georgia presents a matchup nightmare for Michigan.
Georgia's front seven is one of the best in the FBS and it has the potential to neutralize Michigan's biggest offensive strength in the ground game.
The Bulldogs are also motivated to rectify all of the mistakes committed in the SEC Championship Game loss to Alabama.
Georgia has an opportunity to set up a rematch with Alabama on January 10 and that should work wonders for the team's motivation.
Michigan has a strong defensive interior as well, but its secondary will be tested more by Stetson Bennett and the Georgia offense.
George Pickens had a few more weeks to recover from his torn ACL and Brock Bowers is one of the best tight ends in the country.
Add in a three-headed rushing attack that can remain fresh over four quarters and you have a tough offense to stop.