While the 13th-ranked BYU Cougars finally have a marquee game on their schedule with Thursday’s announcement that they will play the 18th-ranked Coastal Carolina Chanticleers on Saturday, they were reportedly planning on playing an even higher-ranked opponent.

On Thursday, Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger reported that a “potential” contest against the 7th-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats was “nixed” because of COVID-19 issues within the Bearcat program.

Rumors of that potential matchup had not leaked until Thursday, although many BYU fans have been pining for the Cougars to play Cincinnati, a Group of Five team from the American Athletic Conference that at this point has an inside track on a berth to a New Year’s Six bowl by virtue of being the highest-ranked G5 squad.

The Bearcats were forced to withdraw from their conference matchup last weekend against the Temple Owls because of COVID-19, and that game was declared a no contest.

Cincinnati is scheduled to face the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Dec. 12 in a conference game before the AAC championship game on Dec. 19.