Alabama Football: Why delusional Cincinnati fans predict an upset


Based on social media, it appears lots of Cincinnati fans are confident the Bearcats will upset Alabama Football. Fans should have optimism about their team’s chances. Rooting for a team through a prism of pessimism cannot be much fun.

Unfounded optimism carries the risk of a big emotional letdown. That is what Bearcats’ fans are facing on Dec. 31, when their upset dreams come crashing down.

Why can Alabama Football fans be so confident in a Crimson Tide victory? The answer is, talent normally prevails in college football, as in the roster talent of each team’s top 45-50 players. The most frequent exception occurs when the most-talented team makes enough mistakes to beat itself.

Cincinnati fans inaccurately compare the Bearcats’ top seven or eight players to the Crimson Tide and conclude there is no talent disparity. Those seven or eight Cincinnati guys are legitimate NFL prospects. But, it takes more than eight, or even 18 guys to win big football games. Compare the top 25 players on each team and the Tide has a significant talent advantage. Take that comparison to each team’s top 40 players and the Crimson Tide has an overwhelming talent advantage.

Cincinnati fans are also confused by their team’s undefeated season. The Bearcats are a legitimately good team. Their resume from the 2021 season does not qualify them as a great team. Just look at the competition.

Cincinnati Opponents – Sagarin Rankings

Using the data from Jeff Sagarin, the teams the Bearcats beat are ranked:

  • Notre Dame Fighting Irish – No. 5
  • Houston Cougars – No. 39
  • SMU Mustangs – No. 53
  • UCF Knights – No. 56
  • Tulsa Golden Hurricane – No. 74
  • East Carolina Pirates – No. 80
  • Miami-Ohio Red Hawks- No. 89
  • Indiana Hoosiers – No. 95
  • Navy Midshipmen – No. 97
  • Tulane Green Wave – No. 105
  • South Florida Bulls – No. 130
  • Temple Owls – No. 166
  • Murray State Racers – No. 191

The second-best team, beaten by the Bearcats; the Houston Cougars are rated at No. 39 by Sagarin, making them loosely equivalent to Washington State, Louisiana, Air Forde, Nevada and North Dakota State. Cincinnati fans, seeing their team romp over mediocre and worse foes, mistake being unbeaten with being elite.

Alabama Football and Cincinnati Schedules Not Comparable

By comparison, the Alabama Crimson Tide beat nine teams, ranked by Sagarin between No. 2 and No. 37.

One more point has misled most of the college football world. Cincinnatti beat a now highly-rated Notre Dame team in South Bend. First, overrating the Fighting Irish is a national pastime. Second, in early October, Brian kelly had not found an offense. The week before playing Cincinnati, the Irish handily beat Wisconsin, mostly because the Badgers made five turnovers.

But the Irish could not run on the Badgers, averaging 0.1 yards. Kelly decided the Irish passing attack would have to carry his team. Against Cincinnati, Kelly tried three different quarterbacks. None were effective. QB mistakes caused most of Notre Dame’s first-half deficit of 17-0. Credit to Cincinnati for the road upset, but Notre Dame mostly beat itself.

No Bill O'Brien ... no problem.. dark. Next

Cincinnati fans want to ignore these facts. It is fine for them to choose what they want to believe, but for their team, an Alabama Football reckoning is coming.