Eight years ago, the University of Cincinnati departed from the Big East Conference to join the American Athletic Conference. Since then, the Bearcats have fulfilled some and disappointed others while consistently looking in on the dominant conferences from the outside.  

After the University of Cincinnati (UC) football program lost previous defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to Notre Dame earlier this month, head coach Luke Fickell appointed Mike Tressel as the Bearcats new defensive coordinator and linebacker’s coach on Wednesday.

Denying the legitimacy of Luke Fickell’s 2020 No. 8 overall Bearcats football team is undeniable at this point, even for Power Five diehards. However, the bigger picture paints a silver lining to UC’s impressive representation of the American Athletic Conference.