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Cincinnati moved up from 5th to 4th in Tuesday’s college football playoff standings and the Bearcats will test their unbeaten position on Friday as the team travel to face East Carolina.

The Bearcats are the first non-Power 5 team since 2014 to make the Top 4 in CFP history, and head coach Luke Fickell told ESPN’s CFP Show after the standings were announced. he thought it was “awesome”.

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Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder points skyward as he celebrates a touchdown by running back Jerome Ford in the first half of the NCAA Team College Football game against SMU on Saturday, November 20, 2021, in Cincinnati.
(AP Photo / Aaron Doster)

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

Ahead of the game against the Pirates, Fickell and the Bearcats lead the series 3-1 with ECU winning in 2017 and Cincinnati taking wins in 2018-2020. But Fickell knows East Carolina will look to extend their American Athletic Conference winning streak, as the Pirates’ longest single-season winning streak in AAC history, and produce the first-ever record. at home 4-0 AAC program. when it hosts No. 4 Cincinnati.

“They are a very good football team. They are really balanced in what they do, running and throwing,” he said. “If you look back a few years ago they pitched for a cargo of yards. Then last year I thought we did a pretty decent job, but they actually handled the ball well. You really see them evolve now, you blow it up and you see they run the football. “

Luke Fickell prepares Cincinnati for a balanced ECU squad

Cincinnati wide receiver Michael Young Jr. (8) celebrates with tight end Leonard Taylor (11) after scoring a touchdown in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Tulsa on Saturday, November 6, 2021 , in Cincinnati. (AP Photo / Jeff Dean)
((AP Photo / Jeff Dean))

The team will need to keep an eye out for ECU running back Keaton Mitchell, who leads the AAC with 1,077 rushing yards and in general purpose yards with 1,335 yards.

“… And then all of a sudden you look down and [Holton Ahlers] also has 400 yards to throw in a game, ”Fickell said. “So I think that’s what you see. Balance is the reason they are where they are. “

Fickell said the Pirates have done a great job on defense as well.

Luke Fickell prepares Cincinnati for a balanced ECU squad

FILE – Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell chats with quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) before an NCAA college football game against Miami, Ohio in Cincinnati, this Saturday, September 4, 2021, photo archive.
(AP Photo / Jeff Dean, file)

“That’s what it takes. It’s not like a one-sided team going out there and having 600 attacking yards, but they don’t have the balance on the other side,” he said. he declared. “But that’s the same way they aren’t going to throw for 400 but can’t lead football. The best teams have a balance in what they do at the end of the year, and that’s what they did. “

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The Cincinnati Bearcats travel to Greenville, NC to take on the ECU Pirates (7-4, 5-2 in AAC) in hopes of completing a perfect 12-0 regular season on Friday. with kick-off scheduled for 3:30 p.m.


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