From the Bearcats ticket office twitter account (Because ticket offices have twitter accounts for moments like this).
Cincinnati Bearcats (@GoBEARCATS) November 3, 2012
Basically the NCAA created contingency plans to fill the legion of bowl games. First contingency plan, as you probably know without knowing is for 6-6 teams with 1 win over an FCS school. The second one? Well this.
Next up for consideration are 6-6 teams with two wins over FCS schools. It's really rare for an FBS school to schedule two FCS opponents in a single year.
Looking at the Big East standings it is apparent that the Big East will struggle to field six bowl eligible teams. More than that though, the odds of the country producing enough bowl eligible teams to fill all the slots aren't looking great this year. Thus, the Bearcats are effectively bowl eligible, though not officially