- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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Each Monday from now until the regular season ends, we'll present the case for every legitimate BCS title contender. My job is to present Cincinnati's case:
The Bearcats were off last week and stayed at No. 5 in the BCS standings. TCU has nothing left to prove and can only be hurt in the computer numbers this week by playing 1-10 New Mexico. Cincinnati has a chance to move ahead of the Horned Frogs by beating Illinois and No. 9 Pittsburgh in the final two weeks.
Cincinnati fans should also be rooting hard for Oregon State in the Civil War game versus Oregon this week. If the Beavers win that game, they'll claim the Pac-10 title. And the Bearcats' win in Corvallis back in September would then be more impressive than anything TCU or Texas has done before the Pitt game is even counted. How could anyone say that an undefeated Big East champ who beat the Pac-10 champ on the road doesn't deserve at least a shot at the national title?
The computers certainly think the Bearcats are worthy. Right now, Cincinnati ranks No. 3 in the aggregate average of the six computer rankings that comprise the BCS formula, trailing only Alabama and Florida. In fact, half of those computer services -- Jeff Sagarin, Kenneth Massey and Peter Wolfe -- have the Bearcats ranked No. 2 in the country, ahead of Florida and behind only Alabama.
Cincinnati's BCS computer percentage of .920 has a significant edge on both TCU (.870) and Texas (.880).
Brian Kelly's team still needs to win out, and doing so impressively wouldn't hurt. If so, then at 12-0 the Bearcats would be just as worthy as anyone else of playing for the national title.