Can the Cincinnati Bearcats continue to grow into a legitimately great football program? Well, they’re working on it.
Few college football programs have been as fun to follow over the past couple of seasons as the Cincinnati Bearcats have been. This is a team that was a mess with Tommy Tubberville and, under Luke Fickell’s leadership, has since become a phenomenal program to keep up with.
Fickell’s first team went 4-8, but since then, the Cincinnati Bearcats have a 31-6 record. From 2018 through 2020, Cincinnati is averaging 10.3 wins a season. That’s really, really good. This team has gone through an incredible turnaround and the Big 12 better take notice while it still has a chance.
Why this could work for the Big 12
For reasons other than an incredible football team, let’s look at the fact that snagging Cincinnati and adding the Bearcats to the Big 12’s ranks would immediately expands the conference’s footprint.
Getting Cincinnati on board would get the Big 12 some territory right in the midst of Big Ten country and could potentially get some new eyeballs on Big 12 content each and every week. As the conference will have to negotiate media deals in the future, having as large a viewership as possible is important.
Looking back at that football team for a second, this group has very recently demonstrated that it can win at a high level and also contend against some of the best in the SEC. The Bearcats went toe-to-toe with Georgia and came close to bringing the Bulldogs down in the Peach Bowl. This is a program that is on the rise and could be good for the foreseeable future.
Why this wouldn’t make sense for the Big 12
Honestly, there aren’t many reasons, but there are some pretty big questions that Cincinnati would have to answer.
Fickell has done one heck of a job with the Bearcats, but will he be there forever? What happens with Cincinnati once he’s gone? Would this team fade into relative obscurity or could it continue being a great program beyond the end of Fickell’s tenure?
A move to the Big 12 would obviously help Cincinnati gain some respect and notoriety that it has worked to earn. That elevation in prestige would likely help Cincinnati’s long term winning chances as the program would likely be more desirable if it were in a better conference.