Cincy claws towards the throne

By Matt Haddad (TheLorian)

With this being the last Article for the semester I think it’s only right to show some respect for teams that have been flying under the radar and give some predictions for the 2021 College Football Playoffs. The Cincinnati Bearcats have been a team that is undefeated sitting at 7-0 and number seven in the nation. East Carolina Pirates travel to take on the Bearcats; the pirates had only 87 total pass yards this game with Holton Ahlers going 9/20 for 87 yards, throwing thtree interceptions and no touchdowns. However, the pirates did run the ball well. Keaton Mitchell had 17 rushes for 124 yards and one touchdown. Rahjai Harris had 23 rushes for 86 yards and one touchdown as well. In total, the Pirates had a total of 208 yards rushing against the Bearcats.

Home team Cincinnati Bearcats proved why they are number seven in the country: Desmond Ridder went 24/31 for 327 yards and three touchdowns. Ridder also had 8 rushes for 75 yards and one touchdown. Cameron Young matched Ridders’ rushing yards with one rush for 75 yards. Ridder and Young helped the Bearcats rush for 300 yards and four touchdowns. The Cincinnati Bearcats win this game against the East Carolina Pirates 17-55. After this win, the Bearcats stay undefeated at 7-0 making a claim that they should have a spot in the college football playoffs. We’ll see if they get in or not. If they do, they’ll be the number four team and likely play Alabama, who sit at number one. If the playoff committee decides to exclude the Bearcats from this year’s playoffs, which is a possibility, and they win the rest of their games, they could be the next 2018 UCF Knights. The Knights went undefeated in 2018 and beat LSU in the Play Station Bowl.

The Indiana Hoosiers sit at number 10 in the country and are undefeated; they head to Lansing, Michigan, to take on the 1-3 Michigan State Spartans. Hoosiers quarterback Michael Penix Jr. had a great game going 25/38, throwing 320 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Ty Fryfogle caught 11 for 200 yards and had two touchdowns. His longest catch was 65 yards. The Hoosiers had a total of 113 yards rushing with Stevie Scott leading the way with 23 rushes for 84 yards and a touchdown.

The Spartans struggled this game, starting from the quarterback position. Payton Thorne went 10/20 for 110 yards while throwing for one interception. Spartan Jayden Reed caught seven passes for 63 yards. Hoosiers win this one beating the Spartan’s 24-0. Indiana is currently 4-0 and sitting at 1st in the Big Ten East, and will be taking on Ohio State next week. This will most likely be a preview of the Big Ten Championship game. The winner of that game will be representing the Big Ten in the College Football Playoffs. 

The PAC-12 has a long shot of sending a team to the playoffs but their best bet is Oregon. The Ducks are now 2-0 and ranked 11th in the country, but even if they go undefeated it would be hard to allow a PAC-12 in, considering they only started two weeks ago. This weekend the Ducks were hosted by the Washington State Cougars. The Ducks quarterback from last year, Justin Herbert, went pro and gained much attention as he led the ducks to the Rose Bowl against the Wisconsin Badgers and ultimately won.

The next quarterback for the Ducks is Tyler Shough, and let’s just say that he’s going to be good. Shough went 21/30 for 312 yards, throwing four touchdowns and one interception. He also ran the ball nine times for 81 yards. However, Shough wasn’t the leading rusher for the Ducks. CJ Verdell had 18 rushes for 118 yards and one touchdown. Jaylon Reed, a senior leader for the ducks, caught five passes for 99 yards averaging about 19.8 yards per catch. The Cougars are led by first year quarterback Jayden de Laura. De Laura went 25/39 for 321 yards and three touchdowns. Deon Mclntosh had pretty much all of the Cougars rushing yards. Deon had 16 rushes for 92 yards for a team total of 100 yards rushing.

On the receiving end for the Cougars Renard Bell was a top dog this weekend. Bell had 10 receptions for 158 yards and one touchdown. The Ducks win this game by a score of 43-29. Like I said before, it would be hard for a PAC-12 to make the playoff due to the fact that they started about a month later than a lot of other conferences, but anything is possible.

Once again, COVID-19 has taken a toll on the college football world. This week alone there were six games canceled. And four out of those six games came from the SEC. Nonetheless, the rankings will come out and the top 10 won’t move in any way. As for the conference championships and college football, there’s a lot of games still to be played to see who gets the four spots to go to the National Championship. But it’s safe to say that Alabama will be securing that No. 1 spot and if Notre Dame can manage to beat Clemson for the second time in the ACC Championship, they will be sitting at the No. 2 spot. As for the No. 3 spot, it’s going to be up for grabs between Indiana and Ohio State in the Big Ten championship. Even though they play each other this weekend, no matter who loses they will be meeting again at Lucas Oil Stadium for that No. 3 spot for the playoffs.

The No. 4 spot is anyone’s game. There are currently three SEC teams sitting in the top 10 but only two (most likely Alabama and Florida) will be playing in the SEC championship. So, if the standings remain the way they are now, Texas A&M will be the one team not getting a shot for the playoffs, and that would give Cincinnati a shot at the playoffs. Also, assuming Indiana beats Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship, it would be hard to see the committee putting them at the third spot, which would jump a total of seven rankings.

A lot can happen in a crazy season like this one, and none of these things is a guarantee or analyzed by a professional sports analysis. These are 100 percent my opinion and thoughts. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving with their families and Christmas, too. Have a great final week at Loras and Go Duhawks!

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