Cincinnati advance to college football playoff position | National sports
Cincinnati positioned for the college football playoffs on Tuesday night, climbing to fourth place behind Georgia, Ohio State and Alabama.
A team outside of the Power Five conferences has never been selected for the semi-finals in the previous seven years of the college football playoffs.
Ohio State (10-1) moved from fourth to second thanks to an unbalanced victory over Michigan State, and Alabama (10-1) fell from one place to three. Oregon’s loss to Utah freed up space in the top four and Cincinnati won, moving up one place.
Heading into the final full weekend of games, loaded with playoff and conference championship implications, Cincinnati (11-0) has a realistic path to a playoff berth no matter what. around the Bearcats.
“We keep trying to point out to our guys that we have a way to go,” Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell said in an interview with ESPN. “The recognition is well deserved.
Cincinnati play East Carolina (7-4) on Friday, then meet Houston (10-1), ranked 24th by the committee, in the American Athletic Conference championship game on Dec. 4.
Before this season, no team in a so-called Group of Five conference had ever been ranked better than seventh by the CFP selection committee.
Michigan (10-1) is fifth before its game against Ohio State which should produce the Big Ten’s best shot to advance to the playoffs.
Notre-Dame (10-1) is sixth. The Fighting Irish’s only loss is against Cincinnati.
Seventh-place Oklahoma State (10-1) is the highest-ranked Big 12 team.
Selection committee chairman Gary Barta, who is also the sporting director of Iowa, said the Bearcats were compared to both the three teams above and below them when the group sorted the 25. best of this week.
“The strength of the schedule is always a conversation with Cincinnati,” Barta said, but added that the Bearcats’ 48-14 win over SMU (8-3) left little to complain about this week.
The top 12 rivals Oklahoma State Baylor (eighth, 9-2) and Oklahoma (10th, 10-1) round out the top 10 with Mississippi (9-2) in between.
The Sooners play Oklahoma State on Saturday in a game that will help determine who will play in the Big 12 title game.
The final CFP ranking will be unveiled on December 5 and the top four teams will play in the semi-finals on December 31 in the Orange and Cotton bowls. The national championship game is scheduled for Jan. 10 in Indianapolis.
DOES CINCINNATI MASTER HIS HOPES IN PLAYOFF?
It certainly sounds like this, but calling it a slam dunk is probably an exaggeration. Here is the storyline that makes things the most precarious for the Bearcats even though they remain undefeated.
–Alabama beat Georgia in the Southeastern Conference Championship game, leaving both the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs 12-1 and easy picks to be in the field of four. Alabama with a competitive loss to Georgia will also be clearly in the mix, although no team with two losses has ever made the playoffs.
If a team wants to break that precedent, Alabama is a good bet.
Barta said of Tide and Ohio State: “Both are considered great teams, not just great teams.”
–Ohio State-Michigan winner takes the Big Ten, making this team a lock to clinch a playoff berth.
– Oklahoma State – or maybe Oklahoma – wins to leave the Big 12 champion 12-1.
Can Cincinnati withstand a 12-1 Big 12 champion or an 11-2 Alabama with a narrow loss to Georgia?
No Group of Five team has ever come particularly close to finishing in the top four, even unbeaten ones like UCF in 2017 and ’18 and Cincinnati last season.
At the start of this season, there was little reason to believe that a Power Five conference champion with a loss would be in danger of finishing behind an undefeated G5 team.
So until that happens, don’t hesitate to keep a little skepticism.
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