When Luke Fickell’s Cincinnati Bearcats take the field for Saturday’s AAC Championship game to host 21st ranked Houston, they’ll once again be playing the most important game in school history. We’ve heard it leading up to every game since the time they beat Indiana and Notre Dame back to back. Every week. All season long.
I’m not breaking any news here, but the Bearcats have what is probably their best team in school history. They have the chance to become the first team outside of the Power 5 to have the privilege of competing in the College Football Playoff. As we know, the four best teams are selected by the College Football Playoff Committee and given a chance to play for the most coveted prize in the sport – a National Title.
The complicated part about selecting the four best teams in the country is plain and simple. There’s hardly any criteria, if any. Sure, the committee is probably right most of the time. But Cincinnati has now put together two straight undefeated regular seasons and are still struggling to earn respect from anyone in the media. Their lone loss in the last 701 days was to Georgia, who is currently ranked 1st in the country and has the likes of a defense college football has never seen before.
I’ll conveniently leave out how Georgia needed a miracle 55 yard field goal in the final seconds to beat the inferior Bearcats.
The outcry across social media and even from guys like Lee Corso is that Cincinnati will make a CFP appearance just to get dragged around by the big bad Power 5. By taking a few minutes and looking at recent playoff outcomes, it doesn’t take a genius to see there are blowouts almost every single year. Here are a few real scores to real games that real people watched:
- Alabama 38 – Michigan State 0
- Clemson 31 – Ohio State 0
- Alabama 24 – Washington 7
- Clemson 30 – Notre Dame 3
- LSU 63 – Oklahoma 28
I could definitely list a few more, but my point is crystal clear. Blowouts happen every year. Who’s to say Cincinnati is getting blown out in the event they make it? The last two seasons have shown anyone paying attention that nobody besides Georgia deserves a chance more than Cincinnati does.
The Bearcats have a 72% chance of getting their chance in the CFP according to ESPN. However, things may not be that simple. Not only do they need to win, and likely win with style points (again) since they’re held to a different standard, but they need Alabama to lose to Georgia. In this scenario, a potential Big 12 champ is unable to push Cincinnati to one of the teams on the outside looking in.
I’m fully confident that the team knows they can only control what happens in Cincinnati, Ohio on Saturday. Worrying about results in games hundreds of miles away does the team no good. I’m happy to say that Luke Fickell and Desmond Ridder lead us into championship weekend knowing that too.