The Cincinnati Bearcats football program represents the University of Cincinnati in college football. They compete in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision as a current member of the American Athletic Conference. Their home games are played in historic Nippert Stadium, which has been their home since 1924.
Currently the team has a strong all-time record of over .500 and have reached their 600th victory in 2017. The team has been quiet for some time, but have hit a resurgence going 129-62 from 2006-2020, along with 12 bowl game appearances, 6 conference titles, and three BCS/NY6 Bowl berths. The program has also had 27 players who were NFL Draft Selections.
One thing’s for sure, the Bearcats are on the rise and they don’t look like they’re ready to stop anytime soon. This is the team to watch and you can order your tickets here!
The Bearcat football program is one of the oldest in the nation. The university has fielded a team since 1885. The university played their first intercollegiate football game against Miami in 1888. This match would create a rivalry that has stood the test of time, making it the eight-oldest and 11th-longest running rivalry in NCAA Division I college football history.
Robert Burch was one of Cincinnati’s first head coaches who served from 1909-1911. He compiled a record of 16-8-2. During his time with the program, Cincinnati joined the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC), where they remained until 1927.
The Bearcats Today
Most recently, the Bearcats have been led by Coach Luke Fickell. He was named head coach of the program after serving as Ohio State’s defensive coordinator/associate head coach.
DUring the 2017 season, the Bearcats struggled with a compiled record of 4-8. The following year saw a much improved team that earned a record of 11-2 (6-2 AAC). The program then won the Military Bowl against Virginia Tech. What stands out is that that season was only the third 11-win season for the program over its entire history. Fickell was given the AAC Coach of the Year honor for his work during the season.
Fickell went on to led the team to win the AAC East Division in 2019. The Bearcats then played in the AAC Championship and won the Birmingham Bowl, which was also their 2nd straight bowl win and their 2nd consecutive 11 win season.
Fickell then produced his best Bearcats team yet with the 2020 campaign, despite the COVID-19 Pandemic and the cancellations and postponements it caused. The Bearcats returned to the AAC Championship game, winning it after defeating Tulsa with an undefeated record. The team then returned to a NY6 bowl, but lost after a close game against Georgia in the Peach Bowl.
About Nippert Stadium
The Bearcats home stadium is situated in Cincinnati, Ohio on the University of Cincinnati campus. The stadium is primarily used for American football, but it has been used as a soccer and concert venue. The stadium has a seating capacity of close to 37.978 spectators after their 2014 and 2017 expansions and renovations. The stadium stands out for having classic features that have existed since the early 1900s, making it the fourth-oldest playing site and fifth-oldest stadium in college football to date.
Where the name came from
During the final game of the 1923 season against rival Miami University, UC player James Gamble “Jimmy” Nippert sustained a spike wound injury. He passed away a month later of blood poisoning due to having been infected by waste left behind after a pre-game chicken race. Nippert’s grandfather, James Gamble of Procter & Gamble donated the funds required to complete the stadium.
A locker room and medical training facility was added for the safety of the players. This, along with NIppert’s brother, Louis, being majority owner of the Cincinnati Reds during the 1970s, likely spurred on the decision to name the stadium after Nippert.
In 1895, Arch Carson, the organizer of UC’s first football team, introduced a plan to build a stadium with wooden bleachers on the spot where Nippert Stadium currently stands. His dream became a reality in 1901 while Carson served as UC’s phys-ed director. The inaugural game was on November 2, 1901 when UC faced off against the Ohi University Bobcats. While Cincinnati was defeated, the team didn’t let themselves stay down.
They bounced back a week later and defeated Hannover at their home stadium on November 9, 1901 with a 10-0 shutout.
In honor of Arch Carson, the playing surface at Nippert Stadium is called Carson Field.
October 24, 2015 saw the stadium’s record attendance when the BearCats hosted the UConn Huskies on Homecoming weekend. The crowd had 40,124 spectators, which also made the event the second consecutive sellout in the then newly renovated stadium.
The closest the stadium ever came to beating that record was on October 4, 2019 when 40,121 fans came out to see Cincinnati beat UCF 27-24.
The Cincinnati Bearcats are no strangers to success on the field. Over the course of their long history of football, they’ve earned an All-time record of 650-592-50 (.522). And included in that record are 20 post-season bowl game appearances, of which they’ve won 10. The team has also earned 15 Conference titles from the BAC (2), MAC (4), MVC (2), C-USA (1), Big East (4), and AAC (2). These incredible seasons range from their 1933 win in the BAC to their most recent AAC win in 2020.
In addition, the program fielded several players who have gone on to join the NFL, including Denver Broncos running back Mike Boone, Baltimore Ravens Wide Receiver Devin Gray, and Darrick Forrest of the Washington Football Team.