You can’t blame Cincinnati Bearcat fans for being angry after the College Football Playoff Committee ranked them No. 6 in the first poll released this past Tuesday. The “College Gameday” signs on campus Saturday said it all. But ever since the program’s marquee win over Notre Dame and blowing out UCF, Cincinnati, ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press poll the past three weeks, are falling short of expectations.
Yes, they continue to win and are 9-0, and are just barely clinging on to that No. 2 A.P. ranking this week, but close calls against Navy and Tulsa, two teams that will finish the season with losing records and an average performance at 1-win Tulane have some seeking a second opinion regarding Cincinnati’s Playoff resume.
In the latest College Football Playoff rankings, Cincinnati came in at No.5, sliding up one spot after then No. 3 Michigan State was upset at Purdue.
After the UCF win, I said that the Bearcats had to have a strong showing against Navy and put it to other, lesser opponents like Tulane and Tulsa. Simply put, U.C. needs to dominate those inferior foes like they did the first six weeks of the season, and since UCF, they haven’t.
Cincinnati will be heavy favorites in their final three regular season games (USF, SMU and East Carolina) and appear to be on a collision course to face No. 17 Houston in the American Athletic Conference championship game. If the Bearcats win their last three games in style, beat the Cougars, who for Cincinnati’s sake, is hopefully still ranked if they were to meet, and get some help in front and behind them in the rankings, they have an outside shot at the No. 4 spot in the College Football Playoff.
But the reality is, the last three weeks may have been wins, but when you’re a Group of 5 school trying to jump the likes of Ohio State, Oregon and Alabama, you have to not only get that quality win (Notre Dame), but also crush foes that should be down and out by the time the 3rd quarter ends.
What’s playing out currently is exactly why Cincinnati is bolting for the Big 12 Conference soon.