Path To The Playoff: UCF, Houston, Cincinnati, Memphis, USF

Path To The Playoff: UCF, Houston, Cincinnati, Memphis, USF

American Athletic

Path To The Playoff: UCF, Houston, Cincinnati, Memphis, USF

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3. Cincinnati Bearcats

Step 1: Beat UCLA – again – and pull off the shocker at Ohio State. The Bearcats have lost all five all-tie meetings with the Buckeyes, but go 2-0 with wins over the two Power Five teams on the slate, and they’d be well on their way. But to do that …

Step 2: Be perfect. That means there can’t be the lost fumbles there were throughout last season – 13 in all – and there can’t be so many penalties. The Bearcats were among the worst teams in college football when it came to getting flagged. There’s no beating both the Bruins and Buckeyes without being close to perfect. And then …

Step 3: Keep up the energy and focus. Miami University is almost always a spirited and dangerous rivalry game, and then comes the trip to Marshall, and then comes the East showdown against UCF, and then comes the date at Houston. On the plus side, if UC is 5-0 after all of this. it really does belong in the College Football Playoff picture. And then …

Step 4: No, really. Keep up the energy and focus. Let’s say the Bearcats do ALL of that and really do get to 5-0 – don’t blow it against Tulsa or at East Carolina. The work isn’t even done after that. with at South Florida, Temple and at Memphis to close.

Step 5: Win the American Athletic Conference championship against – likely – Memphis or Houston in a rematch. However, again, if Cincinnati goes 13-0 against UCLA, at Ohio State, at Marshall, UCF, Houston, at USF, Temple, at Memphis, and in an AAC Championship, it has to get very, very strong consideration for a CFP spot.

NEXT: Houston

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