Alabama has opened as nearly a 2-touchdown favorite in its Cotton Bowl matchup against undefeated Cincinnati, which suggests that few give will give the Bearcats much hope of pulling off the upset.

Don’t put ESPN analyst Jesse Palmer in that camp, however.

On the College Football Playoff selection show Sunday, the former Florida quarterback said he likes the matchup for Cincinnati, especially when it comes to the Bearcats’ scheme on defense.

With Alabama star receiver John Metchie unlikely to play after he sustained a serious knee injury in the Georgia game, Palmer said other Crimson Tide receivers will be forced to pick up the slack to take the pressure off of Bryce Young and Jameson Williams.

“But you can contain (Williams) and now all of a sudden there’s going to be other bodies in that Alabama locker room, maybe a Ja’Corey Brooks a true freshman that’s made a lot of plays here late in the season [or Slade] Bolden in the slot,” Palmer said. “These guys are going to have to make more plays and step up for Bryce Young.

“But guys, I love this Cincinnati defense. Not just because of the X’s and O’s and the NFL talent but that scheme too. That 3-3-5 scheme is something that Bama sees a bit of it from Ole Miss and Arkansas. They don’t see a ton of it in the SEC. I think that’s a very stylistic, good matchup.”

Cincinnati and Alabama will meet in the Cotton Bowl on New Years Eve with the winner moving on to play for a national championship.

The game is set to begin at 3:30 p.m. EST and will be televised by ESPN.