Bearcats make history with # 4 CFP ranking and draw attention to East Carolina

Zach Stipe

AD / Communication Associate

CINCINNATI – The Cincinnati football team made history on Tuesday night with a fourth place finish in the college football playoff standings. The Bearcats are the first non-Power 5 team to land the Top 4 in CFP history (since 2014).

The Head Coach Luc Fickell made a live appearance on ESPN’s CFP Show after the rankings were announced.

“I think that’s awesome,” Fickell said of Cincinnati’s No. 4 ranking. “I think this is great for our entire team, our program, our community and our campus. We know, and we keep trying to point out to our guys, that we have a long way to go, and we have two very big games ahead here. Overall the excitement and recognition is well deserved for a group of guys who have really fought and fought all year. “

There are two other rankings, next Tuesday November 30 at 7 p.m. and the final ranking on Sunday December 5 at 12 noon.

The two “really big games” that Fickell refers to are East Carolina this Friday at 3:45 p.m. in Greenville, NC, and No. 19/15 Houston in the U.S. Athletic Conference Championship on Saturday, December 4 (4 p.m. , ABC).

The venue for that conference championship game is still being determined, but Cincinnati may lock it down with a win at East Carolina on Friday.

The Bearcats will also be looking to finish a perfect 12-0 regular season for just the second time in school history, joining the 2009 squad.

Cincinnati have three straight wins over ECU, including a 55-17 victory at Nippert Stadium last season, with a total of 402 yards and four touchdowns from the senior quarterback. Desmond Ridder.

On their last trip to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, the Bearcats overcame a 12-point deficit with 9 minutes left to win 46-43 in 2019 with Ridder rushing for two goals and throwing in another, cornerback Ahmad Gardner recording a 65-yard pick. six with 4:38 remaining and Sam Crosa scoring a 32-yard field goal as time came to a close for the win. ECU quarterback Holton Ahlers threw for a school record 535 yards in the game.

East Carolina (7-4, 5-2 in AAC) had four straight wins, including straight wins on the close road against Navy (38-35) and Memphis (30-29, OT).

Cincinnati arguably just won their most dominant game of the season in the 48-14 win over SMU on Senior Matchday last Saturday. Ridder totaled five touchdowns, while the UC defense limited SMU to just 199 total attacking yards and 66 passing yards.


Friday’s game will be televised nationally on ABC with Jason Benetti (pxp), Andre Ware (analyst) and Paul Carcaterra (sideline) on the show. Fans can also tune in on Bearcats Sports Network on 700 WLW-AM and on Satellite Radio (Sirius Ch. 136, XM 207) with Dan Hoard (PxP) and Jim Kelly Jr. (Analyst) calling for action.



Cincinnati and current-No. 1 Georgia are the only two teams in the country to make the Top 10 for both offense (UC – 40.0 points per game, 8th) and defense (UC – 16.0 points per game, 6th ). Cincinnati is one of three undefeated teams, joining Georgia and UTSA. UC has nine double-digit wins. Cincinnati is 20-1 (0.952) since the start of 2020 with the Bearcats’ only loss in the last 23 months at three points, 24-21, to Georgia in the 2020 Peach Bowl. UC is the only team. with a double-digit victory over a CFP Top 10 team (24-13 at the current CFP No. 7 Notre Dame). The Bearcats have won 20 straight regular season games – the longest streak in the country.

Defensively, the Bearcats rank No.1 in defensive passing efficiency (94.92), No.2 in opponent’s completion percentage (52.8%), No.2 in passing yards allowed (155.5), # 3 in interceptions (16), # 2. 4 yards per game allowed (4.35), # 4 in touchdown passes allowed (7) and # 6 in total defense ( 305.2). Cincinnati ranks n ° 3 in the country in terms of sales (26) and n ° 5 in margin on sales (+11).

Cincinnati improved to 11-0 by beating SMU 48-14 to clinch a spot in the conference championship for the third year in a row. UC honored 34 seniors on Saturday by taking a 48-0 lead over SMU. Ridder became the first Bearcat with a TD pass, rush and receive in the same game, while the senior wide receiver Alec pierce had two touchdown receptions and a senior defensive tackle Curtis brooks made two bags.

Several Bearcats are winning national accolades for their game this season. senior cornerback Coby bryant was named a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the nation’s top defensive back on Tuesday, while senior linebacker Darrian Castors was named a finalist for the Dick Butkus Award on Monday. The Butkus Prize is awarded to the country’s top linebacker.

Ridder was previously named a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is awarded to the best senior quarterback. He was named the AAC Offensive Player of the Week on Monday for the seventh time in his career.

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