Just how are the Bearcats dependent on the humans? Almost completely, the average computer ranking for UC is a shade under 50. So lets just get this out of the way up front, there is simply no conceivable mechanism in play that would allow the Bearcats to catch up and/or pass Central Florida. Short of the Knights deciding to take a turn towards modern art and dropping their up coming games with USF and SMU in an attempt to show us all the fallacy of believing in such plebeian concerns as "winning" and "championships". That would be hilarious, but UCF hate the Bulls with the passion of a thousand fiery suns, and the SMU game is by far the biggest in school history. I have a hard time seeing this Knights team dropping either of those games. But they did almost lose to Temple, so maybe its not as far fetched as I thought.
Does that mean that the polls don't matter? Of course not. Pride is such a nebulous concept to be playing for, but it is there on this topic. There is the legacy of this program which has, against all odds, become if not a fixture then a pretty regular house guest near the top of the year end polls.
That might seem like bad consolation for a year in which the Bearcats could wind up winning 10 games again, but without the chance for a conference title to sit on the mantle. It might feel insignificant, but it matters in selling this program to the Big 12 should they feel the need to expand. Few of the programs that have been picked to move up in the realignment wars had the kind of sustained success on the field that the Bearcats have had. If the Bearcats keep putting up these 9, 10 and 11 win seasons with poll finishes on the board good things will happen, eventually. Here are the games for this coming week for the teams ranked 15th through 27th. The Bearcats probably need two or three of them to lose to ensure the first ranked vs. ranked Keg of Nails, which would be a hell of a way to send out that series/Old Nippert.
- #15 Wisconsin -- Vs. Penn State
- #16 Fresno State -- @ San Jose State
- #17 LSU -- Vs. Arkansas
- #18 Oklahoma -- BYE
- #19 UCF -- Vs. South Florida
- #20 Louisville -- BYE
- #21 Texas A&M -- @ #5 Missouri
- #22 UCLA -- @ #23 USC
- #23 USC -- Vs. #22 UCLA
- #24 Duke(!) -- @ North Carolina
- #25 Notre Dame -- @ #8 Stanford
- #26 Ole Miss -- @ Mississippi State
- #27 Georgia -- @ Georgia Tech
If you are looking for likely losses circle Notre Dame/Stanford, and Texas A&M/Mizzou, one of USC and UCLA is going to fall out of the polls unless the game is an all timer. Ole Miss, Duke and Georgia will probably all be favored, but it is conceivable for one or all of them could go down. Rivalry games on the road, stranger things have happened.