Cincinnati finished the regular season with a 9-3 record, becoming bowl-eligible for the fifth time in the last six seasons. This will be Butch Jones' first bowl game at Cincinnati, as the Bearcats missed the postseason in his first year as head coach.
The Bearcats, who claimed a share of the Big East Championship by defeating UConn yesterday, would have been selected to play in the Orange Bowl if they would have finished higher than West Virginia in the final BCS standings.
With the Mountaineers finishing ahead of the Bearcats, Cincinnati is relegated to playing in the Liberty Bowl, which features a Vanderbilt team that will be playing in just their second bowl game since 1983.
The Bearcats trail the all-time series with Vanderbilt, having won only one of the first four matchups between the two programs. Cincinnati lost their last meeting against Vanderbilt by a score of 34-24 in 1994.