by John Bach
Though the Bearcat football program has plenty to prove to its hometown fans this year, it may have already won some respect from Columbus, Ohio.
First the University of Cincinnati came within inches of upsetting Ohio State, the eventual national champs, in 2002. Next it was invited to join the Big East, becoming only the second Ohio school able to offer recruits an opportunity to play in a major bowl game. Finally, Cincinnati hired its new head coach, Mark Dantonio, away from Ohio State, where he had spent three years as defensive coordinator. Add those elements to the fact that UC opens OSU's home schedule Sept. 4, and it becomes more clear as to why the Bucks' eyes are looking south with a whole new respect for Cincinnati football.