Cincinnati moved up to make the College Football Playoff on Tuesday night, rising to fourth after Georgia, Ohio State and Alabama.
No team outside the Power Five Conference has been selected to the semifinals of the College Football Playoff for the past seven years.
Heading into the final full weekend of games loaded with playoff and conference championship effects, Cincinnati (11-0) looks to have a realistic path to a playoff spot, no matter what the Bearcats are around.
Cincinnati plays in East Carolina on Friday and will meet No. 24 Houston (10-1) by committee on Dec. 4 in the American Athletic Conference Championship game.
Prior to this season, no team known as the Group of Five Conference had been ranked better than seventh by the CFP selection committee.
Michigan is fifth in a game against Ohio State that produces the Big Ten’s best shot to make the playoffs.
Notre Dame (10-1) is sixth. The only loss for Fighting Irish was for Cincinnati.
The seventh-ranked Oklahoma State (10-1) is the highest ranked Big 12 team.
Big 12 rivals Baylor (eighth) and Oklahoma (10th) rounded out the top 10 with Mississippi.
The Sooners play Oklahoma State on Saturday to help determine who will play in the Big 12 title game.
The final CFP rankings will be revealed on December 5, and the top four teams will play in the semifinals on December 31 at the Orange and Cotton Bowl. The national championship game is scheduled for January 10 in Indianapolis.