Reviews | UC football fans play key role in playoff hopes | Sports

The University of Cincinnati Bearcats earned two spots in the latest AP poll at No. 5 in the country after their 24-13 victory over the University of Notre Dame on October 2, 2021.

Take a deep breath, Bearcat fans. Now breathe out. Your favorite team has just beaten one of the best college football programs in the country in their own home, earning them 5th place in the national rankings.

It was also a great victory. The Cincinnati offense entered Notre Dame Stadium and scored three touchdowns, moving the ball around the field. University of Cincinnati (UC) quarterback Desmond Ridder threw for 297 yards and two touchdowns, wide receiver Alec Pierce had 144 receiving yards and running back Jerome Ford did damage with 67 yards in 17 races. The Bearcat offense avoided first-half struggles that put them in sticky situations the previous two games, and it paid off.

Defensively, cornerback Ahmad Gardner’s interception on the goal line in the game’s first practice was no doubt a huge boost and confidence boost for the visiting Bearcats. Linebacker Deshawn Pace’s interception, along with UC’s two sacks, were enough to keep Notre Dame’s offense to just 13 points. Keep in mind that this attack averaged 35 points per game before the game.

The Cincinnati Bearcats click all the cylinders, which begs the question: Can UC make the College Football (CFP) playoffs?

Time to think too much, Bearcat fans. Being undefeated at the American Athletic Conference (AAC) does not guarantee the UC football team a spot in the PSC national semifinals. The AAC being a non-Power Five conference in the NCAA, programs within the Power Five will automatically be discussed with more respect than those that are not.

That’s not to say UC doesn’t deserve a CFP spot at the end of the season, as they will if they get through the AAC. However, many members of the national media – those who vote for who enters the CFP and controls the polls throughout the season – will likely have different opinions.

How can the Bearcats make the college football playoffs?

Other than the obvious points; staying comfortably undefeated and seeing other contenders lose, something that goes under the radar when you think of CFP is the hype and the fans.

It’s easy to forget that CFP officials are also human, which means these representatives often consider the same human interest factors as fans. They see who we talk about the most on social media and think about the most interesting matches possible.

This is where the fans come in. Bearcat fans have already proven that they can show up in large numbers at a stadium, at home or away. This was evident in Bloomington, Indiana against the Hoosiers, and it was once again evident when the “Go Bearcats” drowned out the cheers of the Fighting Irish in South Bend. It’s obvious every time the team sets foot in Nippert Stadium. However, this will not be enough to get the full attention of the CFP.

It’s crucial to bring the conversation about Cincinnati’s place in the college football playoffs in the national eye via social media. According to data collected by SkullSparks, three of the four CFP teams in 2020 were among the top ten social media interactions throughout this season. Cincinnati hasn’t been named in the top 25 on the list, something Bearcat fans near and far can play a part in.

Accounts like ESPN or Bleacher Report (B / R) have millions of followers on social media platforms, fueling conversations between fans regardless of the most recent post. ESPN’s tweet about UC’s victory over Notre Dame had 9,000 likes. The returns had over 5,000, and both posts had hundreds of comments. Comparatively, B / R’s post about Georgia’s victory over Arkansas had over 11,000 likes. Meanwhile, ESPN gave the Georgia Bulldogs four consecutive tweets about their game.

It’s up to the players to do the work on the pitch, and it’s up to the fans to do the work after the game, to like and comment on the posts or get into those little arguments over which team is better. Because the truth is, the Bearcats could end the season undefeated and still find themselves out of the top four if the hype isn’t there.

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