(AP) IRVING, Texas — The College Football Playoff has been established. It will be historical: The fourth-seeded team in the CFP, Cincinnati, becomes the first team from a non-Power five league to reach the final four in college football.
The Bearcats won the American Athletic Conference and are the only undefeated team heading into the tournament. They reward with a showdown against the defending national champs.
The Crimson Tide is in the playoffs for the seventh time in its eight-year history.
IRVING, TEXAS (AP) — unlike college football’s playoffs, the NCAA basketball tournament has always encouraged the underdog, from isolated bowls through the BCS to the present four-team playoff.
The upstarts had a chance to face blue blood in many bowl games now and then, from Tulane to Utah, Boise State to TCU, and then UCF, but they never entered the playoffs with a genuine chance to win a national championship.
The first Cinderella squad in college football has arrived: Cincinnati has shattered the glass ceiling.
After being chosen to the College Football Playoff on Sunday, the Bearcats will play Alabama in the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Eve. On December 31, Michigan will meet Georgia in an Orange Bowl semifinal, with the winner advancing to the national championship game in Indianapolis on January 10.
NFL clubs at the top of the standings had a rough weekend.
In the eight-year history of this postseason structure, fourth-seeded Cincinnati is the first team from a non-Power Five league to reach the CFP.
“Today is a watershed moment in history. It is, in fact. This is historic in the world of sports “Commissioner Mike Aresco of the AAC said. Before this season, no club from the so-called Group of Five conferences has ever made the playoffs.
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We want to be ourselves, “Luke Fickell, the coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, stated.
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“Today is a watershed moment in history. It is. “This is historical in the realm of athletics,” AAC commissioner Mike Aresco stated. “This is something that a lot of people never expected to witness.”
Before this season, no club from the so-called Group of Five conferences has ever made the playoffs.
“We don’t want to be the flag bearers for the smaller schools.” Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell stated, “We simply want to be ourselves.”
Tulane was undefeated in Conference USA and didn’t even gain a bid to one of the flashy bowl games when the Bowl Championship Series began in 1998. Scott Cowen, the former president of Tulane University, was one first to criticize the BCS as an exclusive club.
Utah went undefeated as a member of the Mountain West in 2004 and advanced to the Fiesta Bowl but only got to face a mediocre Pittsburgh squad, meaning the Utes had no chance of finishing first.
During its stint in the Western Athletic Conference, Boise State built a reputation as a possible BCS disruptor, winning the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma in 2007. When it defeated Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl in 2010, TCU was a member of the Mountain West.
Power Five leagues eventually snatched up Utah and TCU. Ask them to join you if you can’t defeat them.
In 2014, the playoff increased the number of teams with a chance to win the national championship from two to four, although it didn’t appear to aid the underdogs.
In 2017 and 2018, UCF won 25 consecutive games and never finished lower than ninth in the selection committee’s standings. The Knights went so far as to declare themselves national champions after completing the 2017 season as the only unbeaten team in major college football.
Cincinnati laid the groundwork for this year’s run by being undefeated in the regular season before falling in the Peach Bowl to Georgia on a late field goal.
Aresco admitted that this run has been bittersweet for him at times. Along with UCF and Houston, Cincinnati will be moving to the Big 12 shortly.
With little argument, the Bearcats made history. Gary Barta, chairman of the playoff selection committee, said there was strong consensus for Cincinnati to be ranked fourth, ahead of No. 5 Notre Dame, which had only one defeat – at home against the Bearcats in early October. Ohio State came in sixth place.
Alabama coach Nick Saban stated, “This will be a big challenge for us in every manner, shape, and form.”
Oklahoma State, who entered the game ranked fifth in the CFP rankings, came up just short of scoring the game-winning touchdown in the final minute defeat to Baylor.
Cincinnati’s success, according to Saban, is a healthy development for the sport, as he played at Kent State in the Mid-American Conference.
It’s the third time two teams from the same league have made the CFP and the second time the Southeastern Conference has done it. Years ago, Alabama won the national championship after defeating Georgia in overtime.
Only two Power Five leagues will be represented this season: the SEC and the Big Ten, while conference officials propose increasing the postseason from four to twelve participants as soon as 2024. For the first time, the Atlantic Coast Conference left.
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The next significant bowl games have determined:
- On December 30, Michigan State (10-2) will face ACC champion Pitt (11-2) in the Peach Bowl.
- On Jan. 1, Notre Dame (11-1) will face Oklahoma State (11-2) in the Fiesta Bowl.
- On January 1, Pac-12 champion Utah (10-3) will face Ohio State (10-2) in the Rose Bowl.
- On January 1, Mississippi (10-2) will face Baylor (11-2) in the Sugar Bowl.
- Cincinnati’s prize for achieving history will be against the defending national champions at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas.
After dealing Georgia its first loss of the season in the SEC title game on Saturday, the Crimson Tide are in the playoffs for the sixth time.
Before their game against Georgia, Alabama (12-1) appeared to be one loss away from being eliminated from postseason contention. Instead, Bryce Young and the Tide destroyed Georgia’s feared defense to claim the top seed.
Since 2009, Alabama’s dynasty has won three playoff crowns and three BCS championships.
Georgia (12-1) made the playoffs as the third seed, becoming the second team to lose its conference championship game and still make the tournament. Last season, Notre Dame did the same thing, losing a rematch with Clemson in its lone season in the ACC, necessitating pandemic-affected scheduling.
When the Bulldogs face second-seeded Michigan (12-1) in the Orange Bowl, they will be making their second appearance in the CFP. After winning the Big Ten, coach Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines are in the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Michigan, which finished 2-4 previous season, is also the first team to enter the playoffs after being ranked outside of the AP Top 25 heading into the season.