CINCINNATI, OH – As their slim CFP playoff chances were ultimately decided 1,200 miles away in a conference room in Arlington, Texas, the eighth-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats were robbed of a chance to prove their worth in the postseason.
Cincinnati, fresh off of a 27-24 victory over Tulsa in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game played in the friendly confines of ancient Nippert Stadium, the Bearcats had an undefeated 9-0 season, won their conference title and beat three ranked teams on their schedule in No.22 Army, No.16 SMU and the 23rd-ranked Golden Hurricane.
With the final CFP rankings now official, what makes this such a injustice is that despite being undefeated and a conference champion, the Bearcats were jumped by a one-loss SEC team that didn’t even play in Atlanta in Texas A&M and a two-loss Oklahoma Sooners team, that did win the Big 12 title.
Sorry, this isn’t a crime, but a form of blatant money-fueled, ratings-drive inside job in which Cincy was used as a patsy.
For the record, and just to be clear, I’m from Cleveland and have been conditioned since birth to hate anything and everything from the Queen City, as our views and tastes are diametrically opposed.
Cleveland is a working-class industrial Democratic city, Cincinnati is a wannabe Southern-loving Republican GOP-leaning stronghold.
They have the Bengals, we have the Browns.
They have the Reds, we have the Cleveland Baseball Club—nee Indians—for now.
They have Skyline Chili, we have Melt.
As both a fan of Ohio State and UCF, the disdain I have for the Bearcats is both unique and of much contempt. Even though I do thank UC for Urban Meyer, we gave them Luke Fickell. So there’s that.
I hated the late Sam Wyche and his infamous “you don’t live in Cleveland, you live in Cincinnati” post-game announcement following the Bengals win over the Browns, and i hated those great Bengal teams that had Boomer Esiason, Cris Collinsworth, Icky Woods and that annoying shuffle, but they always gave the Browns problems.
That being said, a Cleveland guy defending Cincinnati is so 2020.
From top to bottom, Cincinnati is one of the best teams in the country offensively and defensively as they score 39.3 points a game and average 467.3 yards per game, with a top ten strength of schedule (7th) and a FPI that ranks 16th.
Again, all of these fancy analytics mean nothing now, but, it clearly shows that the CFP is an embarrassing exhibition of the haves such as Clemson, Notre Dame and Ohio State vs. the have nots such as the Bearcats and that it’s time to reform—or reboot—the CFP to include Power Five teams such as Cincy, BYU and Coastal Carolina.
Riddle me this? How does two Power Five teams with a combined three losses jump an undefeated team with none?
Answer: Name recognition, money and ratings!
Sad, but true, and even more tragic is that unless someone has tapes on the CFP committee, then the CFP is nothing more than a human-driven fraud and that the BCS needs to be brought back.
With 2020 being 2020, this would have been the perfect opportunity for the CFP to expand to eight teams in a one-off experiment to showcase “wildcard” teams such as Cincy, BYU and Coastal Carolina.
But, as in all things in life, money rules all, and the status quo wanted to keep things just the way they are and in settling for the same four teams in their so-called invitational, now is the time for calls to expand the playoff format to change, or the NCAA could be looking at those whispers of teams and conferences breaking off into their own league growing louder.
It’s no pain or consolation for teams like Cincinnati to be playing the a New Year’s Six Bowl game, but with their Peach Bowl matchup vs. No.9 Georgia down in Atlanta officially announced, perhaps they can pull a UCF and crown themselves national champs and really force the CFP committee to take a long hard look at themselves and their so-called criteria once and for all.