Nov 12, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) runs with the ball in the 3rd quarter against the South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

News Articles

No. 5 Cincinnati needs impressive win over SMU in CFP chase

No. 5 Cincinnati can clinch a spot in the American Athletic Conference championship game with a victory against visiting SMU on Saturday.

Of course, as far as the Bearcats (10-0, 6-0 AAC) are concerned, the Mustangs (8-2, 4-2) represent the next obstacle in a bigger pursuit: trying to become the first Group of Five program to earn a College Football Playoff berth since the arrangement began in 2014.

After SMU, the Bearcats end the regular season at East Carolina and could face No. 24 Houston in the conference title game on Dec. 4.

“We’ve got a really tough game this week. We’ve got a really tough game the following week,” Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell said Tuesday. “If we’re fortunate enough to have a third one, we’ll have another really tough one that will give us every opportunity that we want, and I truly believe that.

“I know you’ve got to be in the realm to have any shot, and all we care about is we’re in the realm, and now we’ve got to take care of business.”

Cincinnati can’t afford a slip-up. Not being one of the Power 5 schools leaves the Bearcats needing to not only win but to do so impressively.

SMU looms as a challenge because its offense averages 41.6 points per game, sixth nationally. The Mustangs are led by quarterback Tanner Mordecai, who threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns in a 55-28 win against UCF last week to end a two-game losing streak.

Those two losses — 44-37 to Houston and 28-25 to Memphis — were on the road, and the Mustangs will face another hostile environment for the Bearcats’ Senior Day.

“If you want to win a championship, you’ve got to play well on the road. I think that’s the deal,” SMU coach Sonny Dykes said. “There’s all these things you’ve got to do, and I think playing well on the road is one of them. If we want to try to keep our championship hopes alive, then we’ve got to go play well Saturday and win the game.

“Our guys are excited,” Dykes added. “They like challenges, and this is obviously a challenge, and it’s a good barometer for us to see where we’re at.”

Cincinnati’s 32 seniors to be honored include quarterback Desmond Ridder, who has a 41-5 record as a starter.

Last week, in a 45-28 win at South Florida, Ridder threw two touchdown passes. The second was the 79th of his career to break a tie with Bearcats quarterbacks coach Gino Guidugli for the most in school history.

The senior class is 41-6, and the fifth-year seniors are 45-14 with Ridder sporting a 24-0 record at Nippert Stadium.

“There’s some special people that have done some special things, and I don’t just mean win football games,” Fickell said. “I mean really kind of change the locker room and create an expectation, create a brotherhood and create a lot of amazing things.

“Now, they’ve got to be able to balance emotions. It’s a huge, huge game.”

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

Sportsbooks

Rated 5/5

Rated 5/5

Rated 5/5

Rated 5/5

Upcoming Games

Aug 27th, 12:00 PM

Austin Peay

WKU

@

Aug 27th, 12:30 PM

Nebraska -10.5 -107

Northwestern +10.5 -107

@

Aug 27th, 3:30 PM

Idaho State

UNLV

@

Aug 27th, 3:33 PM

Nevada -16.5 -110

New Mexico State +16.5 -110

@

Aug 27th, 4:00 PM

Wyoming +8.5 -110

Illinois -8.5 -110

@

Aug 27th, 4:00 PM

UCONN +29.5 -110

Utah State -29.5 -110

@

Aug 27th, 5:00 PM

Duquesne

Florida State

@

Aug 27th, 7:00 PM

Charlotte +5.5 -110

Florida Atlantic -5.5 -110

@

Aug 27th, 8:15 PM

Florida A&M

North Carolina

@

Aug 27th, 9:00 PM

North Texas -4 -110

UTEP +4 -110

@

Aug 27th, 10:30 PM

Vanderbilt -4.5 -110

Hawaii +4.5 -110

@

Sep 1st, 6:00 PM

St. Francis-PA

Akron

@

Sep 1st, 7:00 PM

Ball State +27.5 -110

Tennessee -27.5 -110

@

Sep 1st, 7:00 PM

Central Michigan +19 -110

Oklahoma State (11) -19 -110

@

Sep 1st, 7:00 PM

West Virginia +7.5 -107

Pittsburgh (16) -7.5 -107

@

Sep 1st, 7:00 PM

South Carolina State

UCF

@

Sep 1st, 7:00 PM

Bryant

Florida International (FIU)

@

Sep 1st, 7:00 PM

LIU

Toledo

@

Sep 1st, 7:30 PM

VMI

Wake Forest (19)

@

Sep 1st, 8:00 PM

LA Tech +16 -107

Missouri -16 -107

@

Sep 1st, 8:00 PM

Penn State -3.5 -107

Purdue +3.5 -107

@

Sep 1st, 8:00 PM

Eastern Illinois

NIU

@

Sep 1st, 8:00 PM

Alabama A&M

UAB

@

Sep 1st, 9:00 PM

New Mexico State +37.5 -107

Minnesota -37.5 -107

@

Sep 1st, 10:00 PM

Northern Arizona

Arizona State

@

Sep 1st, 10:30 PM

Cal Poly

Fresno State

@

Sep 1st, 10:30 PM

Portland State

San Jose State

@

Sep 2nd, 7:00 PM

Virginia Tech -7.5 -107

Old Dominion +7.5 -107

@

Sep 2nd, 7:00 PM

Western Michigan +20 -107

Michigan State (14) -20 -107

@

Sep 2nd, 7:00 PM

Eastern Kentucky

Eastern Michigan

@

Sep 2nd, 7:00 PM

William & Mary

Charlotte

@

Sep 2nd, 7:30 PM

Temple +6.5 -110

Duke -6.5 -110

@

Sep 2nd, 8:00 PM

Tennessee Tech

Kansas

@

Sep 2nd, 8:00 PM

Illinois +3.5 +103

Indiana -3.5 +103

@

Sep 2nd, 10:00 PM

TCU -9 -107

Colorado +9 -107

@

Sep 3rd, 12:00 PM

Sam Houston State

Texas A&M (7)

@

Sep 3rd, 12:00 PM

Rutgers +9 -110

Boston College -9 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 12:00 PM

NC State (13) -10 -110

East Carolina +10 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 12:00 PM

North Carolina -4 -110

Appalachian State +4 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 12:00 PM

South Dakota State

Iowa

@

Sep 3rd, 12:00 PM

Buffalo +20.5 -110

Maryland -20.5 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 12:00 PM

Colorado State +30 -110

Michigan (6) -30 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 12:00 PM

Central Connecticut State

UCONN

@

Sep 3rd, 12:00 PM

Delaware

Navy

@

Sep 3rd, 12:30 PM

Richmond

Virginia

@

Sep 3rd, 1:00 PM

Northern Iowa

Air Force

@

Sep 3rd, 2:00 PM

Southeast Missouri State

Iowa State

@

Sep 3rd, 2:30 PM

Bowling Green +3 -110

UCLA -3 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 3:30 PM

Cincinnati (22) +7.5 -107

Arkansas (23) -7.5 -107

@

Sep 3rd, 3:30 PM

Oregon (12) +16.5 -107

Georgia (3) -16.5 -107

@

Sep 3rd, 3:30 PM

Arizona +10 -110

San Diego State -10 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 3:30 PM

UTEP +39 -110

Oklahoma (9) -39 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 3:30 PM

Bethune-Cookman

Miami-FL (17)

@

Sep 3rd, 3:30 PM

North Dakota

Nebraska

@

Sep 3rd, 3:30 PM

Houston (25) -6.5 -110

UTSA +6.5 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 3:30 PM

Tulsa -1.5 -110

Wyoming +1.5 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 3:30 PM

Norfolk State

Marshall

@

Sep 3rd, 4:00 PM

Troy +21.5 -110

Ole Miss (24) -21.5 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 4:00 PM

UC Davis

California

@

Sep 3rd, 4:00 PM

BYU -13 -110

USF +13 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 5:00 PM

Nicholls State

South Alabama

@

Sep 3rd, 5:30 PM

Texas State +11 -110

Nevada -11 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 6:00 PM

Rice +33.5 -110

USC (15) -33.5 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 6:00 PM

Middle Tennessee +4.5 -110

James Madison -4.5 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 6:00 PM

Morgan State

Georgia Southern

@

Sep 3rd, 6:00 PM

Florida Atlantic -1 -110

Ohio +1 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Mercer

Auburn

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Utah (8) -1.5 -107

Florida +1.5 -107

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Miami-OH +20 -110

Kentucky (21) -20 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Elon

Vanderbilt

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

South Dakota

Kansas State

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Albany-NY

Baylor (10)

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Illinois State

Wisconsin (20)

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Massachusetts +31.5 -110

Tulane -31.5 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Army +3 -110

Coastal Carolina -3 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Liberty -4 -110

Southern Miss +4 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Grambling State

Arkansas State

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Southeastern Louisiana

Louisiana-Lafayette

@

Sep 3rd, 7:30 PM

Utah State +34.5 -106

Alabama (1) -34.5 -106

@

Sep 3rd, 7:30 PM

Memphis +12.5 -110

Mississippi State -12.5 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 7:30 PM

Georgia State +11 -110

South Carolina -11 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 7:30 PM

Notre Dame (5) +13.5 -107

Ohio State (2) -13.5 -107

@

Sep 3rd, 7:30 PM

SMU -7.5 -110

North Texas +7.5 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 8:00 PM

Colgate

Stanford

@

Sep 3rd, 8:00 PM

Louisiana-Monroe +37 -110

Texas (18) -37 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 8:00 PM

Murray State

Texas Tech

@

Sep 3rd, 8:00 PM

Louisville -4 -110

Syracuse +4 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 8:00 PM

Maine

New Mexico

@

Sep 3rd, 9:30 PM

Idaho

Washington State

@

Sep 3rd, 10:30 PM

Boise State +4 -110

Oregon State -4 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 10:30 PM

Kent State +21.5 -110

Washington -21.5 -110

@