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By the numbers: Alabama continues CFP dominance with Cotton Bowl win over Cincinnati

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Alabama continues to command the College Football Playoff.

In their latest appearance, the No. 1 Crimson Tide beat No. 4 Cincinnati 27-6 in the Cotton Bowl on Friday to advance to their second straight CFP National Championship Game. They will face No. 2 Michigan or No. 3 Georgia for the title on Jan. 10.

No team has found more success in the CFP than Alabama since the format’s inception in 2014. Sporting News dives into the numbers to show how dominant the Crimson Tide have been.

BENDER: Saban turns back the clock in blowout of Cincinnati

College Football Playoff semifinal wins

If Alabama makes the CFP, it is seemingly guaranteed to reach the final.

Only once in its record seven appearances has it not reached the title game. No. 4 Ohio State defeated No. 1 Alabama 42-35 in the inaugural CFP in 2014.

Since then, the Crimson Tide have done this in the semifinals:

Year Matchup Bowl Result
2015 No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 3 Michigan State Cotton Bowl 38-0, Alabama
2016 No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Washington Peach Bowl 24-7, Alabama
2017 No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Alabama Sugar Bowl 24-6, Alabama
2018 No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Oklahoma Orange Bowl 45-34, Alabama
2020 No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Notre Dame Rose Bowl 31-14, Alabama
2021 No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Cincinnati  Cotton Bowl 27-6, Alabama

That’s a 189-67 advantage for the Crimson Tide through Friday’s game.

MORE: Live blog of Bama’s dominating win

Stifling defense

Nick Saban’s teams have been known for their defense. That hasn’t exactly been the calling card of the 2021 version, but it still joined the list of impressive Alabama defenses.

In the history of the College Football Playoff, six teams have been held to single-digit or zero points. Alabama has been responsible for four of those results. Clemson is responsible for the other two.

After Cincinnati’s six points Friday, Alabama is holding teams to 15.6 points per game in CFP semifinal games. 

MORE: Nick Saban’s salary and net worth

Long time since a loss

Does it feel like it has been a while since Alabama lost a CFP game? That’s because it has been.

Alabama won both its CFP games last season, beating Notre Dame 31-14 in the semifinal and Ohio State 52-24 in the final. The Crimson Tide missed the Playoff in 2019 and lost to Clemson 44-16 in the national title game on Jan. 7, 2019.

That means it has been 1,089 days since Alabama has lost a CFP game.

Seeking additional history

Alabama has won the CFP national championship three times, the most of any team in the CFP era. It is now on the verge of a milestone it hasn’t yet reached.

The Tide can become the first team to win back-to-back titles. Defending national champions to this point are 0-3 after reaching the final the following season.

  • Alabama won in 2015, lost in 2016
  • Alabama won in 2017, lost in 2018
  • Clemson won in 2018, lost in 2019



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