CINCINNATI — Members of the ESPN College GameDay crew met with local media on Friday and made the prediction University of Cincinnati football fans wanted to hear – they think the Bearcats will make the College Football Playoff.
ESPN's College GameDay is airing on Saturday, Nov. 6, at the UC campus for its first time ever before the Bearcats play Tulsa.
The visit comes days after the first playoff rankings were released, with UC coming in sixth. Georgia, Alabama, Michigan State and Oregon were the top four teams, respectively, with Ohio State fifth and UC behind the Buckeyes. The rankings were highly controversial with UC fans and schools outside the Power 5 football conferences because UC was ranked second in the Associated Press college football poll last week and is undefeated.
Kirk Herbstreit, who attended Centerville High School south of Dayton and grew up a Cincinnati sports fan, said he thinks UC will be among the final four in the playoff once the season ends.
"I think in the end it will be Ohio State, Georgia ... and UC," Herbstreit said.
David Pollack, who played linebacker for Georgia and was drafted in the first round by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2005, said UC should have been ranked higher than Ohio State.
GameDay show host Reece Davis echoed Herbstreit: "I think UC will be in at the end."
The playoff ranking committee has taken criticism for the ranking. UC coach Luke Fickell responded harshly to committee chairman and University of Iowa athletic director Gary Barta when he said UC hadn't beaten anyone but Notre Dame. The Bearcats beat the Fighting Irish 24-13 on Oct. 2. Notre Dame was ranked ninth in the country at the time by the AP and is 10th in the current rankings.
"Who's the chairman?" Fickell said on his weekly radio show. "Did he play football?"
American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco was critical of UC's sixth ranking and one-loss SMU being left out of the rankings entirely.
"It's a self-fulfilling prophecy," Aresco told ESPN last week. "The committee doesn't rank our teams that deserve to be ranked, then they turn around and say they don't play any ranked teams."
College GameDay will air tomorrow at 9 a.m. on ESPN and ESPNU. WCPO will be live at the same location on Good Morning Tri-State starting at 5 a.m. Saturday. The Bearcats will play Tulsa at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN2.