3. Cincinnati (8-1)
The 24-17 loss at Temple a few weeks ago wasn’t all that awful.
It was a tight game in overtime on the road to a team that will be bowling. It wasn’t anything amazing, and the rest of the schedule isn’t all that great, but the Bearcats might just control their own New Year’s Six destiny.
They’ve got the win over UCLA on the road, and they beat Ohio, but that’s it. So far, the win over the Bobcats and the victory over Tulane are the only two victories over teams with a shot at going bowling.
But it’s about what’s next.
Beating USF isn’t what it would’ve been a few weeks ago, but if the Bearcats do it, it would still be a decent victory to throw on the pile. And then comes the big one.
Beat UCF at UCF and – in a perfect world – end the winning streak, and that’s it. They’re in the lead dog spot for the New Year’s Six Bowl.
So why aren’t they higher? They have to actually beat UCF at UCF, and even if they do, they have to beat – most likely – Houston in the American Athletic Conference title.