After defeating Southern Methodist University (SMU) 48-14, the University of Cincinnati rose to No. 4 in the latest College Football Playoff ranking. After coming in weeks prior at No. 5 and No. 6, Cincinnati’s four-quarter dominance over SMU is seemingly what did it for the committee to put the Bearcats in the top-four.
Assisting Cincinnati’s rise was the loss of Week 12’s No. 3 Oregon Ducks, who were majorly upset by the Utah Utes. Cincinnati remained at No. 5 for the past two weeks after coming in No. 6 in the initial CFP rankings on Nov. 2.
“I think Cincinnati is going to be okay in the top-three,” said ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit ahead of Cincinnati being announced as No. 4.
Cincinnati’s placement by the committee at four breaks yet another record as the highest ranked non-power five conference.
Cincinnati’s head coach Luke Fickell joined the ESPN crew for the one-hour show dedicated to the rankings reveal, crediting his team’s leadership and seniority for their success.
“The excitement about it and the recognition is well deserved,” Fickell said on the meaning No. 4 has to his team.
Fickell said that his team had more energy in the week leading up to SMU, a proven lethal combination for SMU who walked into an emotional senior night in Nippert Stadium. Fickell said he is continuing to remind his team that they must play their best ball at the end of the season.
Fickell admitted that the ranking is great for his team who part of has been with him in Cincinnati since his first 4-8 season as well as for the Cincinnati community.
“[Desmond] Ridder just continues to show why he is one of the best quarterbacks in the country,” said Gary Barta, chairman of the CFP Committee following Cincinnati’s ranking.
Rising to No. 6 in the Week 13 rankings was the University of Notre Dame, whose sole lose is to the Bearcats, adding respect to Cincinnati’s undefeated schedule. Knocking on the door with the Fighting Irish is the University of Michigan, who will make or break their case as they face the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes this Saturday at noon.
Also assisting Cincinnati’s strength of schedule is the placement of the University of Houston at No. 24. Cincinnati is set to face Houston on Dec. 4 at 4 p.m., ET in the American Athletic Conference championship.
If the Week 12 rankings were to be the final say, the world would get to see a rematch of the 2021 Chick Fil-A Peach Bowl, as the Bearcat’s would face the No. 1 University of Georgia who left a revengeful feeling in Cincinnati after winning on a field goal.
With just one more CFP ranking to be released before selection day on Dec. 5, UC heads to East Carolina University for their final game of the regular season this Friday at 3:30 p.m.
“It’s about keeping the players in check, keeping them focused and locked in on the game, because the fans are right there at your back, and they’ll let you hear it when you’re not doing so well. And if you let that get to you, then it can really mess up your game,” said Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder ahead of traveling to Greenville Friday.