The Case for the Cincinnati Bearcats to Make the College Football Playoff
A month ago, the Cincinnati Bearcats were on the outside looking in on the College Football Playoff. Many reporters stated that they could not compete with the Power 5 schools and that they would continue to be looked down upon, being part of the Group of 5.
Things have changed and are now in the hands of the Bearcats to make the playoffs if they are able to take down Houston on Saturday afternoon at 4 pm EST at Nippert Stadium for the American Athletic Conference Championship game.
The Bearcats are one of only two teams that are perfect in the 2021 regular season at 12-0. They are coming off a 35-13 win at East Carolina last Friday.
Let’s look at the percentages of Cincinnati making the playoffs ahead of Championship Week.
Chances for Cincinnati to Make the Playoff
As it stands right now, ESPN is predicting that the Bearcats have a 74% chance of making the Playoff, which is only behind Georgia who has a 99% chance. The next closest teams include Michigan at 72% and Alabama at 59%. An Alabama loss would potentially open up doors for teams like Oklahoma State and Notre Dame.
If all the favorites in the top Conference Week matchup win, which includes Georgia, Oklahoma State, Cincinnati, Michigan, Utah, and Pittsburgh, the Bearcats have a 90% chance of getting in.
In most scenarios in which they win their conference championship, the Bearcats have a 70% chance or higher of making the Playoff. Cincinnati is predicted to have an 83% chance of winning their game at home against Houston, coming in at 10.5-point favorites.
They have the highest chance of winning their conference championship over any of the other teams competing in the championships for the Power 5 conferences. With a win, the Bearcats could make history by being the first team to make the College Football Playoff as a Group of 5 team.
Conference Championship Game Preview
The Bearcats are favorites at -10.5 (-107) and the Houston Cougars have the same odds of -114 at +10.5. The opening over/under for the game is 54 with -110 odds to bet the over or under.
This Houston team has been good this season, only losing once with their 11-1 record. I expect the defense of Cincinnati to be a big factor in this matchup as they were the last time they played at Nippert for senior night against SMU.
Desmond Ridder and the offense could use a blowout for some needed momentum going into the College Football Playoff as they will be facing some of their best competition of the season.
It would be some icing on the cake for the Bearcats to come out and make a statement win in the Conference Championship. A big win would be some extra cushion to give the committee more of a reason to put Cincinnati in the Playoff.
The Bearcats came in at No. 4 in the most recent College Football Playoff rankings behind Georgia, Michigan, and Alabama.
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