Reactions: Cincinnati Bearcats likely secure CFP semifinal spot with AAC title game win

·3 min read
Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) pumps up the crowd behind the bench in the fourth quarter of the American Athletic Conference Championship football game between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Houston Cougars at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. The Bearcats remained unbeaten as they won the AAC Championship with a 35-20.
Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) pumps up the crowd behind the bench in the fourth quarter of the American Athletic Conference Championship football game between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Houston Cougars at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. The Bearcats remained unbeaten as they won the AAC Championship with a 35-20.

Desmond Ridder and Jerome Ford led the Cincinnati Bearcats to a huge 21-point third quarter and 35-20 American Athletic Conference Championship game win against Houston that likely secured a spot in the College Football Playoff semifinals that would be a first ever for a Group of Five team.

The Bearcats - ranked No. 4 in the latest CFP rankings - improved to 13-0 with the victory, and any fear of being jumped by Oklahoma State in the rankings went away with the Cowboys' loss to Baylor in the Big 12 title game.

"Cincinnati is gonna have a chance to play for a National Championship," ABC play-by-play announcer Joe Tessitore said late in the broadcast. "It'll become official tomorrow just after noon, but for now they're already celebrating!"

"They've done everything they've been asked to do," UC head coach Luke Fickell said after the game. "This is a really good football team that deserves everything."

"This is why I came back," Ridder said after the game. "All these people right here. This fan base is amazing. The city of Cincinnati is amazing. And I wouldn't want to be anywhere else."

Alabama, which upset No. 1 Georgia in the SEC Championship game, might await the Bearcats on Fri., Dec. 31.

Ridder was asked which team he would want to face in the CFP.

"It doesn't matter to me," Ridder said. "We'll play anyone. As long as we're playing football, that's all we care about."

Ford, who transferred from Alabama to UC, could face his former team.

Social media reactions to UC's memorable win:

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This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Cincinnati Bearcats likely secure a College Football Playoff berth

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