As you know, this is the first year for the college football playoff system, and Mark Schlabach of ESPN listed the Bearcats as one of five non-power-conference teams that could make it to the playoff. In order to do so, UC has to get big wins at Ohio State and at Miami (FL). But will that be enough?
That depends largely on the early season performance of the Buckeyes and Hurricanes. Most analysts aren’t sure how well Ohio State will play early in the season in light of the recent season-ending injury sustained by QB Braxton Miller. Before playing the Bearcats in Columbus, Ohio State plays Navy in Maryland and Virginia Tech at home. If Ohio State limps into the game against Cincinnati with close wins (or even one loss), an otherwise huge Bearcats win against a prestigious Buckeyes program could be discounted by the national media.
Likewise, the Miami Hurricanes are a mystery. They have been picked by some to win the ACC Coastal Division. Yet, they play at Louisville, at Nebraska, and at Georgia Tech all before playing the Bearcats in the sunshine state. If Miami struggles early in the season, their national perception could quickly plummet (along with UC’s chances of breaking into the playoff).
However, if Gunner Kiel performs consistent with his pre-season billing, and the Bearcats perform under the lights of Ohio Stadium and Sun Life Stadium, Cincinnati may muster enough national attention to upset the college football applecart.