Cincinnati is in the top 4, now what?


Cincinnati’s win over Notre dame was a signature win for the program.

The University of Cincinnati’s football team is now ranked no. 3 in the country in the latest AP poll. This puts the Bearcats ahead of many powerhouses in college football, including Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Alabama. Alabama fell to no. 5 in the nation after an unranked Texas A&M team ended its 19-game winning streak.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati has been quietly dominating. Of course, the team got their biggest win in program history at Notre Dame on October 2, but that is one of the only games that has achieved nationwide recognition. This win, along with the win against Indiana have put the Bearcats in serious College Football Playoff contention.

With their current ranking, all Cincinnati needs to do is win out, and they should be in. However, the rest of their schedule is not exactly impressive when compared to some of the other top teams in the country. Because of this, they will have to win all these games in dominating fashion. Cincinnati is coming off a nice win against Temple in which they crushed the Owls by 49 points.

Even though their schedule is considered “easy” compared to some other teams, there are still definitely challenges ahead. The Bearcats always play competitively against UCF, who will come to Nippert Stadium on October 16th. Another game that will be tougher is on November 20th, when the Bearcats take on the SMU Mustangs, who are currently ranked no. 23.

Big 12 Expands To Survive But What Happens Next? - Duke Basketball Report
The Big 12 recently invited Cincinnati to join the conference along with BYU, UCF, and Houston.

While Cincinnati has looked nearly perfect so far, there are still some aspects of their game that could use some improvement. Most notably, in my opinion, the Bearcats seem like a second-half team. This has been proven several times this season. Most recently, against Temple, Cincinnati put up 17 points in the first half, and 28 in the third quarter alone. Another example of this is in the game against Murray State. At halftime, the game was tied at seven. But in the second half, the Bearcats ran away with the game, scoring 35 points.

Another concern for this team is people wondering if they can really compete with some of the “blue bloods” for a National Championship. Despite being ranked no. 3, many fans are skeptical if the Bearcats could compete with teams like Alabama, Oklahoma, and Iowa. In my opinion, they will be fine. We saw this last year in the Peach Bowl against Georgia, who is currently the top team in college football.

UGA v. Cincinnati Peach Bowl: 5 takeaways from Bulldogs' win
Georgia defeated Cincinnati in the 2020 Peach Bowl thanks to a game-winning field goal.

In that game, we saw Cincinnati lead for most of the game, until the fourth quarter. At halftime, Cincinnati led Georgia 14-10. Watching this game, I thought the Bearcats could pull off the upset. The game was going great for Cincinnati until the fourth quarter, when The Bulldogs scored 14 points. If it wasn’t for a poor clock management, as well as passing the ball on third down and short, I think Cincinnati would have won this game.

Despite the loss, they gave Georgia a competitive game that came down to the end. This proves that Cincinnati has what it takes to compete with some of the top programs. If they do get into the playoff, I think they will compete well with whoever they are up against. I think this team is special, and they could be the first “Group of 5” team to compete for a National Championship.