The Cincinnati college football playoff bid has officially entered the realm of possibility. Maybe even probable. The Bearcats could be two wins away from breaking the 28-for-28 CFP vise of the Power 5 Conferences.
After nearly two full seasons of doing no favors at Cincinnati, the selection committee ranked the Bearcats undefeated at No.4 on Tuesday night, the highest ranking for a Group 5 conference team in seven years of history. playoffs. With games remaining at East Carolina on Friday and against Houston in the American Athletic Conference Championship game, it looks like Cincinnati is in control of its own destiny. Committee Chairman Gary Barta cited the Bearcats’ 48-14 rout of an 8-3 SMU team as a boost to their credibility. “Cincinnati at four, the committee was very keen on this,” Barta said.
Barta said the committee compared Cincinnati in the CV capsules with the three teams above and the three teams behind. The Bearcats appear to have settled in a middle ground between these groups, despite earlier blows on their schedule. “The strength of the calendar is always a conversation with Cincinnati,” Barta said. “It was still a conversation this week. But they… controlled the game (against SMU).
Given that Cincinnati will be heavily favored in their last two games, it might depend more on style points against East Carolina and Houston than anyone else still in the playoff mix.
The other big move in the top five was Ohio State which passed Alabama for second place after housing the top-ranked Michigan State, while the Crimson Tide battled a bit against Arkansas. With Oregon on the sidelines after being knocked down by Utah, the head-to-head loss to the Ducks is no longer a hindrance for the Buckeyes. “It certainly catches your eye when they lead 49-0 at halftime,” Barta said of Ohio State’s breakup against the Spartans, while also citing the close-knit nature of the game. Alabama vs. Razorbacks as the impetus for this change to No.2.
The only team that continues to own their no-debate playoff spot is top-ranked Georgia, who only need to beat a plummeting Georgia Tech team on Saturday to almost lock in an offer no matter what the outcome. of the Southeastern Conference Championship game against Alabama. This game will be much more important for the 10-1 Crimson Tide, who may need to win to advance to the playoffs for the seventh time in eight iterations.
The No.5-7 ranked teams all appear to be within reach of qualifying for the playoffs: No.5 Michigan, No.6 Notre Dame and No.7 Oklahoma State. The Wolverines would certainly climb into the top four on Saturday with a surprise win over Ohio State. The Fighting Irish only have one game left, at 3-8 Stanford, but could potentially benefit from losing either Michigan or Ohio State on Saturday. And the Cowboys have two more opportunities to improve their resume with the Oklahoma No.10 this week and then the Big 12 Championship Game.
If the Sooners can win, scoring an upset in Stillwater and then defeating the Cowboys again in the Big 12 Championship game, they could enter the contention as well. The overdue Big 12 schedule offers some intrigue over the past few weeks.
If everyone wins the games they will be favored to win, it could come down to Georgia and Ohio State solidly at 1-2 and several teams in the mix for 3-4. Cincinnati has a closed card to Notre Dame, having beaten the Fighting Irish at South Bend in double digits. How Notre Dame might compare to a defeated Big 12 champion might ultimately be where the greatest tension is (and the final playoff bid).
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