College Football Playoff 2021: How Alabama and Cincinnati used recruiting, transfers to make CFP

Alabama and Cincinnati are playing in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at 3:30 p.m. ET on Friday (ESPN and the ESPN App) in the College Football Playoff semifinal.

The matchup of the No. 1-ranked and No. 4-ranked teams might be one of the most polar-opposite playoff games yet. The Crimson Tide are in the playoff hunt nearly every single season, and Nick Saban adds five-stars and ESPN 300 prospects to the roster annually.

Cincinnati, which has fought for playoff consideration for multiple years, is just now getting a spot. Luke Fickell and his staff aren't signing five-stars and rarely get ESPN 300 recruits, but they have their own system of unearthing and developing talent that has gotten them to this point.

There is a stark contrast between these two teams in how they have been put together and how they have gotten to this point. Here is a look at how each team was built through recruiting and how their rosters were constructed.