Cincinnati Bearcats Are Validated in Big 12

Live blog: UC Bearcats beat the Indiana Hoosiers 45-24

Cincinnati Bearcats have spent the last 10 years in the abyss, but now, as of July 1, 2023, it's time to party.

Despite a lot of recent success over the past decade, which includes winning 3 football conference championships and participating in 7 bowl games (2 NY6) plus winning 2 MBB tournament championships and appearing in 6 NCAA Tournament, the Bearcats have been in hell.

Over a decade ago, UC went from a "power conference", which was the best basketball conference in America, and a rising, underrated football conference to a geographically-challenged, attendance-challenged, interest-challenged conference called the American Athletic Conference. 

In the Big East, Cincinnati played Syracuse, Louisville, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and in basketball played Villanova, Notre Dame, Marquette, Georgetown. 

These games were great! Stadiums and arenas were often filled up and loud. TV partners were excited about the broadcasts. 

But for the last 10 years, Cincinnati has been stuck playing Tulsa, East Carolina, Tulane, Temple.

Imagine, from a recruiting standpoint and a fan interest perspective, going from playing basketball on a Wednesday night at the Carrier Dome vs the Orange in front of a sell out crowd on ESPN, with guys like Jay Bilas and Sean McDonough on the call. Then, a few years later, playing in Philly vs Temple in front of 500 quiet fans on ESPNU (at best) or (more likely) ESPN+, with D-level announcers.

Cincinnati had a lot of success in both football and men's basketball during their time in the AAC, yet spent most of that time in hell.

Bearcats produced back-to-back undefeated regular seasons in 2020-2021 in football and you know what? It was way more stressful and challenging then it needed to be because fans had to spend the better part of two years defending themselves against slander from the media and other fans who felt the team's success was the result of inferior competition, and not because of their own abilities. 

Let's ignore the fact that going undefeated is extremely difficult, and ignore the fact that the 2021 team produced a total of 11 draft picks over two years (2022 and 2023 Draft), along with countless awards and honors. Those teams were GOOD and deserved praise. Not constant defense. 

Cincinnati basketball won a couple of conference tournament championships, yet their tournament seeding never quite reflected how good the team was. Conference strength of schedule and media disrespect often played a big role in the Bearcats being dismissed as a "good team".

Cincinnati DESERVES this moment.

Men's basketball is one of the all-time winningest programs, with two National Championships (from the 60s). Football has been on an upward trajectory since 2006, with 2 BCS bowls and 2 NY6 bowls, including a College Football Playoff appearance to show for it. That's right, Cincinnati has made the CFP - something schools like Texas, Penn State, Miami have not yet done. 

Every game is against a "real" team and every night, every week the Bearcats will garner attention. They deserve the attention. But it's up to them if they deserve respect. Win a few games against Iowa State, Baylor, Oklahoma State and respect will be there! Respect will be there in a way no one saw while beating Tulsa and East Carolina. 

As for the other 3 teams? Good for Houston, UCF, BYU. I hope they enjoy this moment. 

For UCF, they are the perfect replacement for Texas. Texas has a delusional fan base, and the media consistently portray the Longhorns as a "good" football team, despite them proving otherwise. UCF fans are similarly delusional, and the school portrays themselves as "National Champs", something even Texas hasn't been able to pretend to claim.

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