Almost 1 year ago, Luke Fickell and Cincinnati were preparing for the Peach Bowl against Georgia. The Bearcats gave a very strong account of themselves in that game, nearly beating the Bulldogs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium before a late Jack Podlesny field goal saw Georgia win 24-21.

On Friday, the Bearcats face another SEC opponent, but with much more on the line. Alabama is on the opposing sideline as Nick Saban’s team looks to draw one step closer to a 19th national championship.

Despite ultimately losing to the Bulldogs on New Year’s Day 2021, Fickell discussed how the Peach Bowl experience prepared his players for Friday’s College Football Playoff semifinal at AT&T Stadium.

“The experiences you have in the past help you in the future, especially if you use them in the right way. And we have the majority of that team back,” he said. “[There were] 34 seniors, I think, we had that all played in that game last year in some way. I would expect that they would be able to at least, preparation-wise, be able to have a better idea of…the caliber (of opponent) and a lot of things and the atmosphere of what we’re going to expect.”

Playing in Mercedes-Benz Stadium didn’t hurt in preparing the Bearcats for the atmosphere of AT&T Stadium, either.

“We don’t probably see a lot of the venues like that last year,” Fickell said. “And we’ll see another venue (in AT&T Stadium) that obviously will be an incredible opportunity for these guys and something they haven’t played in. So, we at least have been there last year.”