The Cincinnati Bearcats have one of the best résumés from any Group 5 school in the history of the school football play-offs, but they are only eighth in the final ranking this season. In the Chick-wire-A Peach Bowl game against Georgia (at noon ET on ESPN and ESPN App on January 1), they will be looking for more evidence against a Power 5 team that will be the 2021 title favorites.
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Georgia and Cincinnati are both known for their defensive strength this season (no. 1 and no. 2 respectively in SP+). Nevertheless, both teams will enter this game as complete as they have never been this season. Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder was suspended after the victory over SMU on the 24th. October as one of the best double-threat quarterbacks in the country.
Georgia finally has a quarterback in J.T. Daniels. In three starts he threw for 839 yards, nine touchdowns and one interception. He has left the fans of Georgia and wonders how this season could have gone if he had been healthy all year, but at the same time he is looking forward to what’s to come, starting with the Peach Bowl.
This is probably the most interesting of all Six Bowl New Year’s Eve games. Georgia may have some options, but it will be a game worth playing, no matter what.
A major player for Cincinnati: Knight. You could say that the quarterback is always an important player for a team, but the impact of Knight in this game will be greater than any other Cincinnati game this season. Georgia’s defense will probably be the best Knight has seen so far in his academic career. When Knight plays, Cincinnati is hard to beat (impossible if you only look at the current season). But if he doesn’t line up against Georgia, especially since the Bulldogs have led the attack in the last five weeks, things could go badly for the Bearcats.
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A major player for Georgia: L.B. Adam Anderson. If there’s one player who could have hit Knight during the game, it’s Anderson. The junior from Rome, Georgia is one of the best players the Bulldogs have ever produced as a quarterback. With the second defender of the All-SEC, Aziz Ojulari, Anderson will have much more playing time this year in one of Georgia’s biggest challenges.
Game to watch: Georgia’s offensive against the Cincinnati defense, although the idea here is not as broad as it seems. Georgia’s attack has always been the missing link this season, although the defense has proved to be one of the most dominant in university football. But since Daniels took over as quarterback, the Bulldogs finally seem to have some rhythm and consistency, and they’re going to face their first real test since Daniels took over as quarterback. If Todd Monken’s attack can move the ball against the Bears, Georgia will be one of the preseason favorites starting in 2021.
X factor : We do not yet know who Georgia’s choice will be, which could be a factor if it means that the Bulldogs have a lack of consistency in the various position groups. At least we know their power could suffer the loss of Ojulari. On the other hand, there’s talent behind the talent in Athens, and it’s going to be a real competition and a real challenge for Cincinnati, no matter how it goes. We need to see how many of them are here.
Motivation factor : The lack of respect for Cincinnati’s. It’s going to be a big story at the beginning of the game, but there’s a legitimacy in it. Cincinnati was arguably the best case among the five schools since the start of the university football play-offs, but it finished only eighth in the final standings. The Bearcats have the opportunity to compete against an elite Power 5 team in Georgia to show that they are one of the top four teams in the country this season.