Jan. 10, 2012
The University of Cincinnati football team, 2011 BIG EAST Conference Champions and 2011 AutoZone Liberty Bowl Champions, finished the season ranked No. 21 in the USA Today Coaches poll and No. 25 in the Associated Press poll.
The Bearcats (10-3, 5-2 BIG EAST), league champions for the third time in four years, are ranked in both final polls for the third time in four years. UC is the only NCAA FBS program to have won its conference title and the league's academic award in the same year and one of two FBS AQ programs to have won three league titles in the past four years (Oregon).
UC ranks as the most improved NCAA FBS AQ team with a 5.5 game improvement over its 4-8 season in 2010.
"This is a culmination of a lot of indivduals' hard work and effort," Head Coach Butch Jones said. "Seeing all of that hard work come to fruition with a 10-win season, a Liberty Bowl win and a BIG EAST Conference championship. I'm excited for our players, especially our seniors. We always talk about leaving a legacy, and they have left a legacy both on and off the field. We have something really special here in Cincinnati. We have big-time college football in Cincinnati. We are a Top-25 program, and I think we've proven that. I hope people realize what we have here."
UC had the fifth 10-win season in the program's 124-year history, won the Bearcats' 12th conference football title and moved its all-time record in bowl games to 7-6 with a 31-24 defeat of Vanderbilt in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, UC's first bowl win against a BCS opponent.
UC is one of only five NCAA FBS AQ programs to have won 10 games in four of the past five seasons, joining Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon and Virginia Tech.
Head Coach Butch Jones was the 2011 BIG EAST Coach of the Year, RB Isaiah Pead (Columbus, Ohio/Eastmoor Academy) earned BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year honors and DT Derek Wolfe (Lisbon, Ohio/Beaver Local) earned spots on five All-America teams and shared BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year honors. Eight student-athletes earned All-BIG EAST honors.
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