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Cincinnati proves college football playoff worthy, plus more winners and losers from Week 5


How will the College Football Playoff choice committee deal with Cincinnati now?

The Bearcats beat Notre Dame 24-13 on the highway for a program-defining victory on Saturday in a top-10 showdown. Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell earned a signature victory, too. He is aware of what comes subsequent. 

“We may have to fend off people talking about the playoff,” Fickell stated. “That’s a great thing.”

BENDER: Playoff picture gets interesting after Georgia, Alabama

With this victory, Cincinnati must be held to the identical commonplace as Notre Dame with regards to College Football Playoff discuss — a crew outdoors a Power 5 convention. Forget about that Group of 5 label within the American Athletic Conference. Use the attention check, which reveals Cincinnati has surpassed Notre Dame on the sector.

The Bearcats led 17-0 at halftime at Notre Dame Stadium as a favourite and closed out the Irish with a TD run by Desmond Ridder. Remember, Cincinnati was the favourite on this sport. Notre Dame is now not unbeaten, and the Bearcats are the rationale.

Let’s run down the opposite Power 5 conferences not named the SEC, which has the within observe on two CFP spots with Alabama and Georgia (more on that in a bit).

The ACC’s lone unbeaten crew left is Wake Forest. The Bearcats can be favored in the event that they performed the Demon Deacons.

The Pac-12 would not have an unbeaten crew left after Oregon’s loss to Stanford. USC, the convention’s most-prestigious program, is on the lookout for a brand new head coach and has two losses. Fickell shot down hypothesis that he’s that man.

MORE: Questionable call opens door for Stanford’s upset of Oregon

The Big Ten may very well be a difficulty. It has 4 unbeaten groups in Penn State, Iowa, Michigan and Michigan State. One-loss Ohio State continues to be the crew to beat within the convention, too, and the cruel actuality is a one-loss Big Ten champion nonetheless bumps an unbeaten Cincinnati.

So that leaves an fascinating situation. Cincinnati wants its future convention to tank. The Big 12 options Oklahoma, a crew that additionally stays forward of the Bearcats due to its unbeaten file. The Sooners even have received 4 one-score video games towards FBS opponents this season. A one-loss Oklahoma crew wouldn’t deserve a bid over undefeated Cincinnati.

That’s assuming the CFP committee will deal with Cincinnati proper.

The Bearcats could have a percieved simple path to the playoff, however this path hasn’t been simple. It’s taken journeys to UCLA, Michigan, Ohio State and a Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl look towards Georgia for Cincinnati to construct its program towards this season. All it can do is hold profitable in a season the place ranked groups proceed to fall at a file tempo.

“If we do that and we go undefeated and we play 12 or 11 perfect games, whatever it is, as good as we can, and they still don’t put us in there, that’s not our call,” Ridder stated. “We don’t have the call to make the playoff.”

That is the unhealthy factor. It is about how the CFP committee treats the Bearcats from right here on out. In our thoughts, it’s a straightforward name if these situations unfold.

It is time to deal with Cincinnati like a playoff crew.

Here are some more winners and losers from Week 5.

MORE: AP, Coaches polls see shakeups

Winners

JIM HARBAUGH

Harbaugh, the coach we used to like to tweet about, led Michigan to its first win at Wisconsin since 2001 in a 38-17 blowout. It was the Wolverines’ first victory as an underdog since he took over as head coach in 2015.

Can you’re taking Michigan (5-0) critically with out citing Ohio State? You’re going to should as a result of there’s a lengthy strategy to go earlier than the season-ending referendum towards the Buckeyes.

Michigan nonetheless has highway video games at Nebraska, Michigan State and Penn State earlier than it will possibly get to the Buckeyes. The Wolverines additionally seem headed for an elevated time-share at quarterback between Cade McNamara and freshman J.J. McCarthy, who accounted for 2 TDs within the second half.

But that is Michigan’s first 5-0 begin since 2016, a season wherein the Wolverines misplaced to Ohio State on “The Spot.” This appears to be like like Michigan’s greatest crew since then, too.

TWO SEC TEAMS PLAYOFF TALK

More particularly, Alabama and Georgia CFP playoff discuss.

Through 5 weeks, the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs have established a substantial hole between themselves and the remainder of the FBS competitors. Among all Power 5 faculties, they’re the one two to have scored more than 200 factors and allowed lower than 100 factors by way of 5 video games.

MORE: Inside the numbers of Georgia’s two-week run of defensive dominance

Georgia is engaged on back-to-back shutouts after throttling Arkansas 37-0 in a top-10 showdown they received with out beginning quarterback JT Daniels. The Bulldogs have allowed simply 23 factors, and this appears to be like like Kirby Smart’s greatest crew but. The Bulldogs can be ranked No. 1 if the CFP rankings have been launched Tuesday.

Of course, Alabama is engaged on an FBS-best 19-game profitable streak and disposed of Ole Miss 42-21. Bryce Young continues to play like a Heisman Trophy contender, and the working sport picked up towards the Rebels.

If each groups get to Atlanta with an unbeaten file, then it is a honest assumption each would get into the CFP. Anybody who has watched these groups play thus far can be hard-pressed to argue towards that.

KENTUCKY

Is there room for a 3rd SEC playoff crew?

Right now, that will be Kentucky. The Wildcats scored a house victory towards Florida for the primary time since 1986.

Trevin Wallace’s 76-yard blocked discipline purpose return for a TD was the sudden spark, and a goal-line stand sealed a 20-13 upset.

Kentucky (5-0) is the third unbeaten within the SEC, and the Wildcats have managed to win ugly the final two weeks. Quarterback Will Levis has cooled off, however working again Chris Rodriguez Jr. has rushed for 441 yards on 6.1 yards per carry in three SEC victories.

Mark Stoops continues to do an exceptional job, however the subsequent two weeks there may be more historical past to beat. Kentucky hasn’t beat LSU since 2007 or Georgia since 2009.

IOWA

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Every six years the Hawkeyes produce a crew able to profitable a Big Ten championship underneath Kirk Ferentz. The 2009 and 2015 groups had that really feel, and this yr’s crew has that take care of a powerful 51-14 blowout towards Maryland.

Iowa’s protection has produced 16 turnovers and a +12 turnover ratio, and Spencer Petras performed his greatest sport of the yr towards the Terps. This is a veteran crew, however Penn State has received the final three conferences at Kinnick Stadium.

The final two have been by a mixed complete of seven factors. Ferentz is 11-22 towards top-10 opponents with Iowa, however that features a 7-8 file at residence.

A win right here, and the Hawkeyes are an incredible guess to be 11-1 with an opportunity to win the Big Ten championship in Indianapolis.

KENNY PICKETT

It’s not usually a Pitt quarterback will get put in the identical sentence as Dan Marino, however Kenny Pickett pulled that off in a 52-21 victory towards Georgia Tech.

Pickett now averages 346.2 passing yards per sport with 19 TDs and one interception by way of 4 video games, and the Panthers are as sound a guess as anyone to win the muddled ACC Coastal Division.

Pickett, an excellent senior, can construct on that fringe Heisman marketing campaign when Pitt returns from its bye week. The subsequent two video games (at Virginia Tech, vs. Clemson) can be towards plus defenses, and it might generate some buzz from NFL scouts.

Losers

LANE KIFFIN

Kiffin, the coach we like to tweet about now, invoked “get your popcorn ready” mic drop earlier than taking up No. 1 Alabama.
 

Kiffin was little question entertaining within the first half, and the Rebels trailed 28-0.

Ole Miss opted to go on fourth down 5 occasions —  twice in its personal territory — and missed 3 times. Alabama received by three TDs in a 42-21 blowout consequently.

How a lot are you able to second-guess the calls?  On the opening drive, Ole Miss transformed two earlier than Jerrion Ealy was stuffed on fourth-and-1 on the 6-yard line. Any coach will go for these. No huge deal.

Kiffin tried once more on fourth-and-2 from his personal 47 yard line, however Braylon Sanders was pushed out of bounds earlier than he might catch a cross. Kiffin went one more time from his personal 31 yard line on fourth-and-1, however Ealy was stuffed once more.

Perhaps Nick Saban was in Kiffin’s head as an alternative of the opposite manner round.

Matt Corral completed with 213 passing yards and missed out on a Heisman Trophy signature second. Ole Miss might end 11-1 and hope for CFP assist, however that is what Texas A&M did final yr. A New Year’s Day Six bowl doubtless is the best-case situation now.

Saban is now 24-0 towards former assistants. Social media wished Kiffin to name his shot so unhealthy, however as soon as once more Twitter is not actuality. About that popcorn …
 

PAC-12 PLAYOFF HOPES

What occurred to Oregon? The Ducks had the catastrophe situation unfold towards Stanford. Offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead missed the sport with a non-COVID associated sickness. CJ Verdell left with a leg harm. Kavyon Thibodeaux was ejected for concentrating on on the ultimate drive in regulation. There have been questionable calls, too.

The Cardinal then tied the sport on the ultimate play in regulation with a landing and received in time beyond regulation in a 31-24 shocker that put the Pac-12 within the same-old scenario. Oregon’s Week 2 victory at Ohio State on Sept. 11 looks as if a distant reminiscence.

The Pac-12, a convention that hasn’t had a CFP crew since 2016, has simply three groups left with one loss or much less. That’s Oregon, Oregon State and Arizona State, which knocked off UCLA 42-23 on Saturday. The Ducks might nonetheless run the desk and use that victory towards Ohio State as collateral, however that is a harmful proposition realizing what number of top-10 showdowns the Big Ten has on the calendar beginning with Penn State-Iowa in Week 6.

TEXAS A&M’S OFFENSE

It’s been a brutal two-week stretch for the Aggies in losses to Arkansas and Mississippi State.

Texas A&M averaged 16 factors per sport in these losses, and quarterback Zach Calzada averaged 143 passing yards with one TD and two interceptions in these losses.

It’s not all on Calzada. The Aggies have allowed six sacks and have transformed simply 32 p.c of their third-down alternatives in these losses. Quarterback Haynes King’s leg harm in Week 2 additionally was an element.

Still, a 9-3 or 8-4 season wasn’t the expectation. Jimbo Fisher has but to have a three-game dropping streak since taking on at Texas A&M, however that prospect is actual with No. 1 Alabama coming to Kyle Field in Week 6.

The schedule clears out afterward in principle, but when Texas A&M can not beat Arkansas and Mississippi State, then can any sport within the SEC West be thought of a gimmie?

WISCONSIN

The Badgers are in a uncommon tailspin after a 38-17 loss to Michigan. Wisconsin is 1-3 for the primary time since Barry Alvarez’s first season in 1990; a yr wherein it completed 1-11 earlier than this system turn-around started. The Badgers lack a Heisman Trophy-caliber working again, and quarterback Graham Mertz left with an harm within the third quarter. Other teams are using “Jump Around” to get fired up within the fourth quarter now. 

Take it again to final season, and the Badgers 5-6 of their final 11 video games underneath Paul Chryst. Is there any excellent news available in Madison?

Well, the tough begin is a product of a brutal crossover schedule that included Penn State and Michigan and the neutral-site loss towards Notre Dame at Soldier Field. The excellent news? The Badgers can nonetheless compete for the Big Ten West championship, and that highway begins towards Illinois and former Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema subsequent week.

The Badgers completely can not afford to lose that one.

 



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