Skip to main content

A Brief History of Alabama vs. Cincinnati Matchups

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Cincinnati Bearcats 2021 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic/College Football Playoff Semifinal

The Cotton Bowl/College Football Playoff Semifinal will be the sixth meeting between Alabama and Cincinnati with the Crimson Tide winning the previous five matchups

The Cotton Bowl Classic/College Football Playoff Semifinal matchup between Alabama and Cincinnati is unique for a couple of reasons. One, it marks the first appearance for a non-Power 5 team in the playoff. Second, it is much different than previous Alabama/Cincinnati games because the Bearcats were historically scheduled as a cupcake matchup for the Tide. Times have changed.

Alabama holds a 5-0 lead in their previous games, starting with 1908. While it ain't pretty for Cincinnati fans, here is a brief chronological history of their past matchups.

Alabama 16, Cincinnati 0

Oct. 17, 1908 — Birmingham, Ala.

In this matchup at the Birmingham Fairgrounds, lineman Henry Burks scored Alabama's two touchdowns and the defense kept Cincinnati out of the end zone. While a lineman scoring multiple touchdowns sounds strange, it is also important to remember that a touchdown was worth five points and a field goal accounted for four points. The Crimson Tide finished 6-1-1 and the Bearcats went 1-4-1.

Alabama 21, Cincinnati 3

Oct. 23, 1982 — Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The Crimson Tide had been upset by Tennessee the week before and were sloppy against the Bearcats. Alabama gained 444 yards on the ground but committed several drive-killing penalties and fumbled once. Cincinnati also blocked two Tide field goal attempts in this unexciting win. "We've got to get better disciplined and tougher if we want to win any more games, and I mean any more. We're not where we need to be," said Alabama head coach Bear Bryant after the game. The Tide lost three of its next five games and Bryant retired after the season. The Bearcats finished 6-5.

Alabama 29, Cincinnati 7

Nov. 17, 1984 — Cincinnati

Alabama entered the game 3-6 and Cincinnati was 2-7, so only a small crowd of 21,062 came to Riverfront Stadium to watch the game. The Tide overcame two fumbles and 71 yards in penalties to beat the Bearcats in a sluggish fashion. This game also marked Alabama's first trip to the Midwest in more than 30 years.

Alabama 45, Cincinnati 10

Sept. 21, 1985 — Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The Crimson Tide gained 534 offensive yards as they jumped out to a 28-10 halftime lead and cruised to victory. To give a sense of how one-sided this game was, 92 Alabama players saw action in it. This Tide ended the season at 9-2-1, while Cincinnati went 5-6.

Alabama 45, Cincinnati 7

Nov. 17, 1990 — Birmingham, Ala.

After struggling with a 3-4 start in Gene Stallings' first season as head coach, Alabama found its footing and was playing its best football when it met Cincinnati, who was 1-9. The Tide jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead in this shellacking of the Bearcats. However, Alabama players were disappointed after the game. Why? Cincinnati running back Terry Strong's 38-yard scoring run was the first touchdown against the Alabama defense in five games. 

— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports' Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.