Cincinnati vs. Navy prediction: Bearcats will cover big number

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This week, assemblage shot won’t enactment connected its champion face. No ranked squad plays another. None of the apical 7 teams is favored by less than 19 points. Chaos volition instrumentality a rest. It whitethorn person already worn itself out.

After each of the upsets and mayhem of the past 7 weeks, the College Football Playoff could extremity up looking rather familiar. Even with Clemson acceptable to beryllium a spectator for the archetypal clip successful 7 years, the model to destruct different accustomed suspects mightiness person passed. Ohio State recovered its form. Oklahoma recovered Caleb Williams. If Alabama wins six consecutive games (When has that ever happened?) it volition beryllium backmost to support its title. So, adjacent though Cincinnati achieved its highest ranking successful schoolhouse past by reaching No. 2 this week, the Bearcats can’t consciousness assured an undefeated play volition beryllium capable to beryllium accepted into sport’s astir exclusive state club.

Being unbeaten wasn’t capable past year, erstwhile the Bearcats finished the regular play ranked sixth, down 3 one-loss teams. It wasn’t capable for conference-mate Central Florida successful 2017, erstwhile the Knights finished the regular play down 9 teams, including three-loss Auburn, oregon successful 2018, erstwhile they were ranked seventh, down two-loss Georgia.

A two-loss Alabama — oregon Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Michigan, Penn State, etc., with 1 decision — would beryllium likewise hard to leap. Cincinnati’s champion triumph (Notre Dame) and apical remaining hostile (SMU) are apt to harvester for zero wins against ranked teams.

Cincinnati manager  Luke FickellCincinnati manager Luke FickellUSA TODAY Sports

Remember, the Bearcats aren’t No. 2 successful the lone rankings that matter. The archetypal authoritative playoff rankings won’t beryllium released until Nov. 2. And adjacent those are prone to deception. Precedent was acceptable successful Year 1 of the playoff era, erstwhile TCU entered the regular-season finale astatine No. 3 and fell to No. 6 … aft a 52-point win! The committee tin bash arsenic it pleases. Even if Cincy debuts successful the apical four, it won’t instrumentality a nonaccomplishment for the Bearcats to fall. It won’t substance however severely Cincinnati (-27.5) keeps crushing teams specified arsenic Navy. Perfection astir apt won’t beryllium bully enough.

KANSAS (+38.5) implicit Oklahoma

Yes, I cognize Caleb Williams is the champion subordinate successful assemblage shot history, but from 2017-19, Lincoln Riley’s juggernaut offenses — led by Heisman Trophy winners (Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray) and a Heisman runner-up (Jalen Hurts) — failed to pb the Sooners to wins by much than 38 points against the worst shot programme successful the country. Funnily enough, Spencer Rattler accomplished the feat past year. Remember him?

MICHIGAN (-23.5) implicit Northwestern

The undefeated Wolverines haven’t been arsenic ascendant arsenic their stats suggest, and they could beryllium caught looking up to adjacent week’s matchup against undefeated Michigan State. But aft beating a brace of last-place Big Ten teams by a full of 10 points, Michigan won’t look past different overmatched opponent.

Illinois (+23.5) implicit PENN STATE

The Nittany Lions’ discourtesy is conscionable above-average with Sean Clifford nether center. Without him, James Franklin has nary bully options — too leaving for USC oregon LSU.

Oklahoma State (+7) implicit IOWA STATE

I’ve belittled the Cowboys connected aggregate occasions, but I’ve ne'er disrespected them similar this. Even if the underachieving Cyclones are much talented and much balanced, it’s absurd to laic a touchdown against an undefeated squad which already has travel done doubly this play arsenic an underdog. The comeback triumph astatine Texas is impervious that adjacent if the Cowboys spell down, they won’t spell quietly.

UCLA (-2) implicit Oregon

The Ducks can’t number connected backmost Anthony Brown and they can’t trust connected the moving crippled here, facing a defence allowing 3.2 yards per attempt. Everyone tin spot Oregon’s demise coming. But who ever thought Chip Kelly would beryllium landing the knockout blow?

Lsu (+9.5) implicit MISSISSIPPI

The Rebels can’t dodge play balls forever. After narrowly escaping with wins successful the last seconds of back-to-back games, Lane Kiffin’s atrocious defence whitethorn not beryllium bailed retired again by Heisman co-favorite Matt Corral, who is questionable to play.

PITTSBURGH (-3) implicit Clemson

After aggregate weeks with Clemson arsenic a double-digit favorite, Vegas has posted a Tigers enactment that reflects reality. The unthinkable aboriginal extremity of Clemson’s ACC rubric reign comes against Heisman campaigner Kenny Pickett, who has thrown for 21 touchdowns and 1 interception this play for the fifth-highest scoring squad successful the state (42.6 points per game). Clemson hasn’t topped 21 points successful 4 ACC games.

Kenny PickettKenny PickettUSA TODAY Sports

Tennessee (+25.5) implicit ALABAMA

The Crimson Tide volition cruise until gathering Georgia successful the SEC rubric game, but their defence remains beneath Nick Saban’s standard, offering avenues to the Volunteers’ 10th-ranked offense.

Ohio State (-19.5) implicit INDIANA

I’d consciousness comfy laying different touchdown connected apical of this. The Hoosiers are 0-5 against the dispersed and volition beryllium without their starting quarterback. The Buckeyes averaged 59 points successful their past 3 games. More importantly, they allowed a full of 37 points successful those games.

Usc (+7) implicit NOTRE DAME

The Trojans person alternated double-digit wins and double-digit losses since the play started. Last clip out, USC — which is 2-0 connected the roadworthy — suffered a 16-point nonaccomplishment to Utah. So, Trojans wealth enactment it is!

South Carolina (+20.5) implicit TEXAS A&M

As sincere arsenic Jimbo Fisher sounded successful declaring his tendency to stay successful College Station and crook down the accidental to instrumentality to Baton Rouge, I can’t assistance but callback the words of his erstwhile brag astatine LSU, 2 years into a five-year declaration with the Miami Dolphins: “I conjecture I person to accidental it,” Nick Saban said conscionable 1 week earlier accepting the occupation helium inactive holds, “I’m not going to beryllium the Alabama coach.” This forgotten punctuation from the aforesaid 2006 league whitethorn beryllium adjacent better: “I don’t power what radical enactment connected dot-com oregon thing else.”

North Carolina State (-3) implicit MIAMI

Since being unexpectedly thrust into the starting role, Miami backmost Tyler Van Dyke has faced 2 of the ACC’s softest defenses. Still, the freshman was intercepted 3 times and completed less than 48 percent of his passes for the Hurricanes (2-4). Next comes the Wolfpack’s 11th-ranked defense, averaging much picks than each but six teams, portion ranking 2nd successful the ACC successful opponent’s completion percent (55.5).

Best bets: Cincinnati, Lsu, Ohio State
This play (best bets): 45-58-2 (12-9)
2014-20 record: 904-866-15