They were the better team ... for one game. That's all they, and supporters of their claim like you, have. And is the entire point for why they aren't deserving of a top 4 bid.The problem with your take here is that the Bearcats ARE being punished for playing in the AAC. It's why they are behind multiple one loss P5 teams. And here's the thing.....if there were more one loss P5 teams......Cincy probably WOULD be left out. But the PAC-12 and the ACC are both really weak and played themselves out. And the Big Ten and the Big 12 are both going to have one team MAX with only one loss.
Notre Dame would possibly have a claim if they weren't beat at home convincingly by the Bearcats.....but they were. Bearcats are the better team.....and the best team they played all year. If ND was in a conference....they'd have a shot to add to their resume by playing a championship game against another ranked team. They aren't and they don't. Tough break.
If it was top 12, then not even a question, they're in. Not top 4.