The American Athletic Conference announced Wednesday that Saturday's scheduled football game between Cincinnati and Temple has been canceled because of positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within both programs.
Although both Cincinnati and Temple have an open date on Dec. 5, the game will not be scheduled since not enough players would be eligible to play under the AAC's return-to-play protocols. As a result, the game will be ruled a no-contest.
Had the game happened, Cincinnati would have looked to improve its 8-0 record against 1-6 Temple.
In the first set of College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday, Cincinnati came in at No. 7 behind only Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson, Ohio State, Texas A&M and Florida.
The Bearcats are the top team outside the Power Five conferences in the rankings, seven spots ahead of undefeated BYU despite the fact that the Cougars have one more victory than the Bearcats at 9-0.
Of Cincy's eight wins, two of them came against teams that were ranked at the time. They beat then-No. 22 Army 24-10 and then-No. 16 SMU 42-13.
The Bearcats are in the hunt to become the first non-Power Five team in history to be part of the CFP thanks largely to the play of dual-threat junior quarterback Desmond Ridder.
Ridder has thrown for 1,821 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions, while also rushing for 526 yards and 11 scores.
Cincinnati's game against Temple almost certainly would have been another win for the Bearcats given the Owls' struggles this season, but it would have done little to impress the CFP committee.
The Bearcats will still have opportunities to pad their resume, though, including their next game on Dec. 12 when they face No. 25 Tulsa, who is 5-0 in AAC play and 5-1 overall.
Cincinnati was supposed to play Tulsa earlier in the season, but the game was postponed until Dec. 12 because of positive COVID-19 cases within the Cincinnati program.
With a win over Tulsa and a win the following week in the ACC Championship Game, which could be a rematch against Tulsa, the Bearcats would finish 10-0.
Cincinnati would likely need some help in the form of Clemson, Texas A&M and Florida all suffering a second loss, but a top-four finish in the CFP rankings is not out of the question.