Cincinnati football is finally getting the respect it deserves.
The Bearcats got some help from previously-ranked No. 3 Oregon last Saturday as the Ducks fell to Utah 38-7. That opened a door for Cincinnati, which jumped to No. 4 in Tuesday night's newest College Football Playoff rankings.
Cincinnati is now the first-ever non-Power 5 team to ever make the top four of any playoff ranking. Luke Fickell's team has made history.
Congrats, Bearcats. The job's not finished, though.
College Football Playoff chairman Gary Barta is high on the Bearcats.
He explained on Tuesday night that the committee was very impressed with Cincinnati's dominant win over SMU over the weekend.
"We've had a lot of respect for Cincinnati all year," Barta said. "We've certainly talked about their strength of schedule. This win against SMU, when we were looking at the way they played offensively and defensively, they came in at No. 4."
Looking ahead, Cincinnati needs style points to remain in the College Football Playoff.
The Bearcats battle East Carolina this Friday. Then, on Dec. 4, they'll take on the Houston Cougars in the AAC Championship. Cincinnati needs convincing wins over both to leave little doubt it belongs in the postseason.
Luckily for the Bearcats, the rest of the College Football Playoff will sort itself out. No. 1 Georgia plays No. 3 Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. No. 2 Ohio State and No. 5 Michigan, meanwhile, play each other in Ann Arbor this weekend.
All Cincinnati needs to focus on is taking care of business. Style points would help, too.