CINCINNATI (AP) Nobody gave Cincinnati much thought heading into coach Luke Fickell's second season since he made the 90-minute drive down Interstate 71 from Ohio State to rebuild a bottoming-out program.
Look at the Bearcats now.
After going 4-8 in consecutive seasons, the Bearcats became one of the nation's best teams last year with one of its least-experienced rosters. They went 12-2, including a win over Virginia Tech in the Military Bowl - Cincinnati's best season since 2009. The Bearcats finished the season at No. 24, the first time they were ranked at the finish since 2011.