The Cincinnati Bearcats just might have the best chance of any Group of 5 team to advance to the College Football Playoff since it started. It’s still highly unlikely Cincinnati will crack the top four, but if it wants any chance the Bearcats will need to win convincingly in the AAC title game against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Dec. 19 at Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium.
This was originally going to be a back-to-back rematch of the same two teams, but with Cincinnati getting Covid-19 and canceling the game for December 12th, the game for December 19th will be at Nippert Stadium and for the conference championship.
Here are the opening odds from DraftKings Sportsbook for the AAC Championship Game:
Point Spread: Tulsa vs. Cincinnati (-13.5)
Moneyline: Tulsa (+400) Cincinnati (-670)
How they got here
Cincinnati ran through the entire regular season undefeated with a 9-0 record including 7-0 in AAC play. Despite being known for their excellent defense, the Bearcats put up high point totals led by quarterback Desmond Ridder’s ability as a passer and a runner. For Tulsa, it is among the surprises of the AAC as it won its first six conference games with only a 16-7 loss to Oklahoma State to open the season as a blemish. Tulsa’s defense ranks among the best in the country and is the main reason the Golden Hurricane find themselves with a shot at the conference title game.
Cincinnati needs a lot to happen to be a part of the College Football Playoff, but the Bearcats have a good chance at cracking a New Year’s Six bowl, taking the Group of 5’s spot. As for Tulsa, AAC teams not in the CFP or New Year’s Six are slotted to play in a bowl that makes sense geography-wise with the opponent.
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