Brian Kelly’s former team will travel to South Bend to play Notre Dame on Saturday. On paper this is a huge game, two top 10 teams with a lot on the line. Yet, there might be more to this game than people realize.
Both teams might also be slightly overrated, having come off of double digit wins that their team was outgained. However, they remain undefeated and one of the two will be in great position.
Breaks in the schedule moving forward, and overall chaos in college football means Cincinnati and Notre Dame have a massive opportunity this weekend.
Notre Dame Outlook
This year’s team is not the same as in year’s past, but Notre Dame has a real chance to end up back in the playoff.
For starters, Notre Dame’s schedule becomes very manageable after this week. Yes, a trip to Blacksburg to play Virginia Tech next week is tough, and beating Sam Howell is no easy task, but the Irish will be favored in every game the rest of the way.
Notre Dame still might not be that good of a team, but you play the team’s on your schedule and an undefeated Notre Dame makes the playoff 10 times out of 10.
Saturday is an opportunity for Cincinnati to assert themselves as an elite team in college football. The Bearcats were tested early by Indiana, but used a dominant second half to win fairly easily.
Similar to Notre Dame, Cincinnati will be heavily favored in the rest of their games this season. The American is having a down year and it seems likely that the Bearcats walk through the schedule unscathed, in one of their last years in the conference.
2021 is a statement year for Cincinnati as they will soon move to the Big 12. If they can make the playoff as a group of 5 team, the sky’s the limit moving forward.
Down Year for the Powers
Another contributing factor is how some of the elite teams of college football are having down years this season. Whether it is Ohio State, or Clemson, college football is more wide open than it has been in a long time.
In year’s past, the committee was able to block off three spots to Alabama/SEC Champion, Clemson, and Ohio State. This year is different. An undefeated Cincinnati or Notre Dame would be almost impossible to pass up on.
In addition, the lack of strength at the top might lead to ultimate chaos, and the teams being able to take a loss this weekend. It is harder for Cincinnati to overcome a loss, but a one-loss Notre Dame could be more appealing to the committee than some of the conference champions.
Now, will Cincinnati or Notre Dame win a game in the College Football Playoff, of course not.