This years schedule has been a talking point for the Bearcat fans for a while. From its weird construction, with two byes in September followed by 10 games in 10 weeks, to its composition. The schedule was the most frequent talking point this off season, well aside from the Munchie talk. Truth be told, once the games started, the schedule became a secondary issue, and Munchie took center stage. (Notice the Munchie specific post becoming a weekly fixture. But its back in the forefront with the release of the BCS standings today.
After a 5-0 start the Bearcats are faring quite well in the human polls, ranked 18th in both the Harris Poll and the Coaches poll. The computers see the Bearcats in a slightly different, and more negative, light. UC is ranked 21st in the computer polls, primarily due to that softer than expected non conference schedule.
The non conference schedule was always going to be a knock on this team. How could it not be with two FCS teams, and two MAC teams on the schedule to boot. Jeff Saragrin has the Bearcats schedule ranked, to date, 147th. Each computer pollster accounts for strength of schedule differently, but each take it into account. That is why the Bearcats are slipping in the computers, relative to the human polls.
In fact there are only three teams in the top 25 of the BCS standings with a schedule strength in the triple digits, Mississippi State, Florida State and, of course, the Bearcats. Florida State is the only one of the trio with a loss, but they also have the biggest pelt, with that curb stomping of Clemson.
Its likely that last nights ritual slaughter of Fordham, currently ranked 171st, pushed the Bearcats computer numbers down. Its just as likely that the Bearcats strength of schedule will get two big boosts in the next two weeks. Toledo is ranked a respectable 54th in the Saragrin rankings,* and Louisville is currently ranked 20th, and will likely be even higher when the Bearcats head south to the Pizza Palace, assuming they beat South Florida.
* That will make the Rockets the second most highly ranked opponent, at least according to the Saragrin rankings. UC's victims to date in descending order. Virginia Tech 51, Pitt 86, Miami (OH) 101, Fordham 171, Delaware State 198
The Bearcats are currently getting punished for the weak non conference schedule, but the damage is temporary, with two top 50 teams coming up in consecutive weeks. If the Bearcats win at Toledo, and against the Cards, expect the Bearcats computer numbers to soar.