COVID hesitancy putting a crimp in your New Year’s Eve plans? Friday’s College Football Playoff semifinals should help, as should the best of the remaining bowl games on Saturday. So order some wings, grab a seat on the couch and dig into some picks. We kick off our bowl picks with the first CFP semi, which pits No. 1 seed Alabama against undefeated Group of Five upstart Cincinnati.

» READ MORE: Recapping the biggest sporting betting moments of 2021

Alabama (1) vs. Cincinnati (4)

What and Where: CFP Semifinal/Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas.

When: Friday, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: Alabama -13.5. Total: 57.5.

Records: Alabama 12-1, Cincinnati 13-0.

Records vs. spread: Alabama 7-6, Cincinnati 8-5.

Three things: Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell was Ohio State’s co-defensive coordinator when the Buckeyes upset Alabama as 9-point underdogs in the inaugural 2014 semifinals. … Alabama will be without receiver John Metchie III, who led the team with 96 catches. Jameson Williams (68 catches, 1,145 yards, 15 TDs) will be the focal point. … Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad Gardner hasn’t allowed a touchdown reception in man-to-man coverage in three seasons. He’s also never seen a passing attack like Alabama’s.

Quotable: “If you want to have a shot at the title, you’ve got to beat the champs. This is what we have. We have a shot to beat the champs. Regardless of what the line is of any sort, we’ve said it all year long: The best team doesn’t always win the game. It’s just a reality. The teams that play the best win the football game.” — Fickell

The pick: Can’t think of a better way to end this upside-down calendar year than with an upset for the ages. Cincinnati, 31-30.

Michigan (2) vs. Georgia (3)

What and Where: CFP Semifinal/Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla.

When: Friday, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Line: Georgia 7.5. Total: 45.5.

Records: Michigan 12-1, Georgia 12-1.

Records vs. spread: Michigan 11-2, Georgia 8-5.

Three things: No team has been better against the spread than the Wolverines. They’ve covered five in a row since losing to Michigan State, and eight of their last nine. Michigan is 2-0 straight up as underdogs. … Georgia’s defense allowed 9.5 points per game, easily the fewest in the nation. Take out the 41 Alabama laid on them in the SEC title game and that average dips to 6.9 per game. Defensive coordinator Dan Lanning recently took the head coaching job at Oregon, but is assisting in pregame prep. … Three of Georgia’s last four have gone over.

Quotable: Michigan arrived in Miami a day early to help acclimate to the weather, which is projected to be in the 70s at kickoff. “Definitely going to have to get used to it at first for a little bit,” said defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson, the Heisman runner-up. “But come Friday, I mean, we’re rolling and nothing is going to stop me.”

The pick: I wouldn’t be surprised to see another upset, but the call here is simply over 45.5 points.

Notable New Year’s Day bowls

Penn State vs. No. 22 Arkansas, noon (ESPN2): Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla. … Arkansas is –1, total is 48. … Penn State opened as 4-point favorites, but have had a number of top players — including several on defense — opt out. If Arkansas establishes their grinding run game, the Lions will be looking at closing their season losing six of their final eight. The pick: Arkansas laying a point.

No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 9 Oklahoma State, 1 p.m. (ESPN): Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. … Notre Dame is -2, total is 45.5. … Even “Touchdown Jesus” was annoyed when Irish head coach Brian Kelly bolted for LSU. Defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, who wasn’t even on Notre Dame’s staff this time last year, is in charge now. The pick: This one’s personal for ND’s players, who lobbied for Freeman to get the job. Notre Dame by 10.

No. 7 Ohio State vs. No. 10 Utah, 5 p.m. (ESPN): Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. … Ohio State is -4.5, total is 64. … Eagles fans longing for a first-round linebacker might keep an eye on Utah’s Devin Lloyd (No. 0). Lloyd plays in the middle, but can also be used as an edge rusher. The pick: Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud makes an opening statement for the 2022 Heisman. The Buckeyes cover.

No. 8 Ole Miss vs. No. 6 Baylor, 8:45 p.m. (ESPN): Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. … Ole Miss is -1.5, total is 55. … It’s somewhat surprising (and either foolish or laudable depending on your view), that Ole Miss star quarterback Matt Corral did not opt out of this game. The pick: The Rebels by a field goal.

All lines via