First of all, shout out to me for writing about how big the Notre Dame/Cincinnati game was at the moment.
Neither team has lost since this moment, as I said at the moment, and the game looms large in the overall picture of college football. I still don’t believe either team is that good, but their laughable schedules have kept them unscathed to this point.
Notre Dame likely has no path if Cincinnati keeps winning, but Cincinnati needs a few more steps to go their way to make the Group of 5 dream a reality. When you draw it out, the Bearcats have to love where they sit at this point in the season. I might even go as far as saying it is likely that Cincinnati makes the playoff this season.
Let’s start as everything does in college football with the SEC.
2 SEC Teams
First of all, if Alabama wins out Cincinnati does not have much of a chance. The committee could reserve two spots for Alabama and Georgia, and one for the Big 10 champion, leaving one spot for Cincinnati, Pac-12, and Big 12.
Yet, Alabama can still lose to Auburn and make the playoff. If the Tide is a 2 loss SEC champion, they will have a spot saved for themselves.
Therefore, Cincinnati is the biggest Georgia fans on the planet to help keep one of their spots to themselves.
Ironically, Cincinnati lost last season in the Peach Bowl to Georgia. I’m sure their fans are still bitter about that game, but if Georgia wins out, Cincinnati might get their chance to avenge that loss.
Next year, THIS, will be the most dangerous man on Cincinnati's roster. He stood and watched THE WHOLE trophy presentation BY HIMSELF after they lost to us in the Peach Bowl. #4 Justin Harris, I see you. TAKE IT PERSONAL. To me, this is powerful… #chills
(Get this to him) 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/4I6reB4eAl
— Chris Milton (@fatherofballers) January 2, 2021
Can Oregon Win Out?
Similar to Georgia, Cincinnati will be pulling for Utah on Saturday. The 3rd ranked Oregon Ducks are underdogs on the road at Utah on Saturday.
One more loss for Oregon will likely keep them out of the playoff and open up another position for the Bearcats.
Utah is not a threat for Cincinnati and can only help their case.
Outside of Saturday, Oregon likely needs to beat the Utes twice to make the playoff. Utah has the tiebreaker over Pac-12 South chaser Arizona State, which shapes up to a rematch in the Pac-12 championship game between Utah and Oregon.
So if you support Cincinnati, you support Utah.
Pokes Play Spoiler
The last bullet Cincinnati needs to dodge is in the Big 12. Either Oklahoma or Oklahoma State have a chance if they win out. Oklahoma State seems to be the better team at the moment, so we’ll call them the biggest threat.
Also, Oklahoma has to travel to Stillwater in the last week of the season.
A one-loss Oklahoma State, and probably Oklahoma, has a better resume than Cincinnati. The committee’s devotion to the Power 5 leads me to believe they will put in a one-loss Oklahoma or Oklahoma State over the Bearcats.
Therefore, the Big 12 seems off the radar at this moment, but the Bearcats need more chaos to help solidify their case.
However, losses from both Oregon and Alabama can make this a non-factor.
Hypothetically, if Oregon and Alabama lose, and Oklahoma State wins out, the final four will include Georgia, the Big 10 champion, Oklahoma State, and the Cincinnati Bearcats.
I think the Bearcats sneak in. I expect a loss from both Oregon and Alabama, making Cincinnati’s path clear.
Key word being sneak, as Cincinnati has not played great football and needs to avoid tripping up in the coming weeks.
Cincinnati losing, in addition to Oregon and Alabama, opens up the ultimate chaos in the final rankings.