NCAAF Notebook: Bearcats inch closer to CFP spot
After a week that saw three teams in the top 12 and eight in the top 25 suffer defeat, college football’s continual chaos shows no sign of slowing down.
Before we witness the next round of upsets, let’s take a look at the top stories from around the sport in this week’s edition of the NCAAF Notebook.
Cincinnati Gets Closer
The Cincinnati Bearcats debuted at No. 6 in this year’s College Football Playoff rankings and knew they would need significant help to earn their spot in the final four.
After struggling but surviving against a gritty Tulsa team, the Bearcats moved one step closer to earning their bid, as they moved up to No. 5, following third-ranked Michigan State’s loss.
The Bearcats still have a long way to go to break into the upper echelon of the sport’s elite, but they’re getting closer. If they can defeat South Florida, SMU, ECU, and their opponent in the conference championship, it will be hard for the committee to keep them outside the top four come season’s end.
Nebraska shakes up coaching staff
Nebraska has once again put forth a season to forget, as it sits just 3-7, with only two games remaining on the schedule.
The Huskers have struggled in one-possession games, and with offensive effectiveness.
With Scott Frost successfully landing a long-term contract at the beginning of his tenure, the program appears stuck with pursuing a path forward under its existing regime.
To signify changes are coming, Frost let go of four of his assistant coaches on Monday, in a move that will inject new perspective and strategy into his offense.
Frost also agreed to take a pay cut, as well as reduce his buyout. These moves were done with the intention of securing his position as head coach and signaling he is aware of the failings thus far.
Despite their seven losses, the Huskers haven’t lost a game by more than 11 points this year and have been competitive in every defeat. The closeness of those defeats will prolong Frost’s career in Lincoln, but as of this week, his seat is as hot as it can get.
Georgia the clear No. 1 in the country
For the first time in a decade, the Alabama Crimson Tide don’t look like the best team in the country. That distinction now belongs to the Georgia Bulldogs, the odds-on favorite to win the national championship.
The Bulldogs are 6-3 against the spread, despite being listed as massive favorites week after week. They are led by their defense, who give up an incredible 6.6 points per game, more than half the number of points surrendered by the second best defense in the country.
The offense has plenty of talent as well, and the only question mark that the Bulldogs face is who will play at quarterback in the season’s final games.
J.T. Barrett kicked off the season, but it appears Stetson Bennett has replaced him and it is his spot to lose as they close in on the College Football Playoff.
The Bulldogs will face the SEC West champion in Atlanta, but even a loss in that matchup would not see them lose a position in the top four.
It is the Bulldogs’ best opportunity to finally win a championship for the first time in 40 years.
College Football Games of the Week
With just a few weeks left in the regular season, there are a number of matchups set to take place that will decide division races and set teams up for championship opportunities.
One big matchup that also pits highly ranked teams is Oklahoma vs. Baylor in the early slot on Saturday.
Sat, November 13 2021, 5:00 PM
Baylor is coming off a loss and very likely needs to upset the Sooners to still have a shot at the Big 12 championship — something they could certainly do as six-point underdogs at home.
The other surprisingly interesting matchup this weekend takes place late Saturday evening, when Washington State takes on Oregon, with first place in the Pac-12 North on the line.
Sun, November 14 2021, 3:30 AM
The Cougars are 6-3 ATS, while the Ducks are 3-6 ATS. Even though the Cougars are big underdogs, this late-night Pac-12 matchup may serve up plenty of excitement.