After defeating Southern Methodist University (SMU) 48-14, the University of Cincinnati fell to No. 4 in the Week 13 Associated Press (AP) ranking.
The state of Ohio undoubtedly stole the attention of college football this weekend, with the Ohio State University gaining more respect than the Bearcats, as they jumped to No. 2 from No. 5. The Bearcat’s drew the short end of the Ohio football stick due to the Buckeyes 56-7 routing of Michigan State, who was No. 7.
Cincinnati now sits behind two one-loss teams, Ohio State and Alabama, while the University of Notre Dame, whose only loss is to the Bearcats is now knocking on Cincinnati’s door at the No. 5 spot.
While the Bearcats travel to Eastern Carolina University for a what should be an easy Friday afternoon showing, the Buckeyes must face rival Michigan, who is now No. 6, despite their one loss. If the Buckeye’s obtain a second loss to the Wolverines, Cincinnati will likely take control as the best team in Ohio.
After Saturday’s showing, Cincinnati secured a spot in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) championship game, which will likely see No. 19 Houston as the other participant. Although the Fighting Irish rose one spot to help the Bearcat’s case, Houston fell two spots, not assisting Cincinnati’s strength of schedule.
Cincinnati remains one of only three undefeated teams in the Top 25, No. 1 Georgia and No. 15 UTSA being the others. After entering the season as No. 8, the Bearcats have now held every spot in the top-four for it least a week, except No. 1.
Following the victory over SMU, Cincinnati wide receiver Tre Tucker said that as much as his team puts on the blindfolds to the outside noise of rankings, he still has family and friends that allow him to hear the distractions.
The Bearcat’s entered the season at No. 8 due to holding the current No. 1 team, the University of Georgia, to a 24-21 contest in last year’s Peach Bowl. Georgia will most likely be facing No. 3 Alabama in the SEC championship, a game that could assist the Bearcat’s if Alabama is blown out and falls out of the top-four consideration.
Cincinnati replaced the University of Oregon at No. 4, who fell to No. 11 after being upset by the Utah Utes, a matchup Cincinnati was alert for. While Cincinnati ran up the score on SMU, Nippert Stadium chanted in favor of the upset which was hours away.
“This isn’t over,” said Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell following an emotional senior night victory against SMU.
Fickell credited the success of his senior class to the “blind faith” they had five years ago in his mission when they took on a 4-8 season. Due to believing in something they couldn’t see, the Bearcats have flipped the script and remain the highest ranked non-power five team as they are in top consideration for a national championship.
The Bearcats are currently No. 5 in the eyes of the College Football Playoff (CFP) Committee, who will reevaluate their ranking tomorrow night at 7 p.m. n ESPN. The CFP Committee is who ultimately decided the final four teams that face off to make a run for the national championship.