College Football Playoff: Cincinnati Bearcats officially in

The Cincinnati Bearcats are officially going to the College Football Playoff.

Coach Luke Fickell’s team essentially locked up a berth Saturday by beating Houston in the AAC Championship Game.

The Bearcats learned today they are the No. 4-ranked team and will play No. 1 Alabama in the Cotton Bowl in Texas on Dec. 31.

No. 2 Michigan will play No. 3 Georgia in the other national semifinal, which will be the Orange Bowl in South Florida.

The CFP Championship Game will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Jan. 10.

UC is the only undefeated team in the FBS, and the Bearcats will be the first team from outside the Power 5 conferences to make the playoff, which began in 2014.

Big Ten champion Michigan is also set to make its first playoff appearance while SEC champion Alabama is back for the record seventh time and Georgia is in for the second time.

The No. 4 team has beaten the No. 1 team twice in the playoff era, and both included Alabama. The Crimson Tide lost to No. 4 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl in the first playoff in 2014 and beat No. 1 Clemson 24-6 in 2018.

Alabama is the defending national champion after thrashing Ohio State in last year’s title game, and Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide have a record three CFP titles.

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