The Really Big Week 5 Thing Was …
Cincinnati and BYU, step right up.
It’s not just that Cincinnati beat Notre Dame 24-13 in South Bend that was a big deal in the College Football Playoff chase. It’s that the stars appear to be aligning for someone outside of the Power Five – Notre Dame doesn’t count – to finally get in this thing.
The Bearcats were fine.
Notre Dame wasn’t and isn’t that great – it has a ton of flaws – but it was ranked like it was and is a big-time team, and Cincinnati walked away with a double-digit victory the program absolutely had to have.
Was it an emphatic enough statement to start thinking about plane tickets to Miami or Arlington for New Year’s Eve? No, but Oregon lost to Stanford. That doesn’t knock out the Pac-12, but it sure as shoot didn’t help the playoff chances – there’s no margin for error now for the league.
The ACC effectively tapped out two weeks ago when it became painfully clear that this wasn’t the normal Clemson squad, the Oklahoma looked very, very shaky against Kansas State.
For Cincinnati to have a reasonable shot at getting in, it 1) has to go unbeaten, 2) there can’t be four unbeaten Power Five champions – or a phenomenal one-loss team like a possible SEC Championship loser – and 3) it’s going to take massive win after massive win.
Realistically – with only some due respect to UCF and SMU – this is was for Cincinnati. There’s nothing else standing in the way of 13-0 other than a total gack.
But the Bearcats have another problem – BYU.
Beating Indiana and Notre Dame like Cincinnati did was nice, but after BYU rolled through Utah State, it’s now 5-0 with a much better overall case to be made if it goes 12-0.
The Cougars already beat Arizona, Utah, and Arizona State, and next up is Boise State, and a trip to Baylor, and a trip to Washington State, and Virginia and USC still to go.
Realistically there will be a misfire somewhere, but if BYU really can get though this slate of seven Power Five teams unscathed, it’s almost certainly in. If it can get through 11-1 – or possibly 10-2 – it’s in the New Year’s Six.
By the way, Big 12, get these two programs in your league as fast as you can.