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The Cincinnati Bearcats football program represents the University of Cincinnati in college football. They compete at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision level as members of the American Athletic Conference. The Bearcat football program is one of the nation's oldest, having fielded a team as early as 1885. In 1888, Cincinnati played Miami University in the first intercollegiate football game held within the state of Ohio. That began a rivalry which today ranks as the eighth-oldest and 11th-longest running in NCAA Division I college football.
Sid Gillman, a member of the College and National Football League hall of fame shrines, was the architect of one of the top eras of Cincinnati football history. He directed the Bearcats to three conference titles and a pair of bowl game appearances during his six seasons (1949–54) before leaving for the professional ranks. Cincinnati, with Gillman developing the passing offenses which would make him successful in the pro ranks, became known for its aerial attack in the early 1950s.
In 1968, the Bearcats were the nation’s top passing team. Quarterback Greg Cook was the NCAA’s total offense leader with receiver/kicker Jim O'Brien the national scoring champ. A year later, Cook earned Rookie of the Year honors as a Cincinnati Bengal. Two years later, O’Brien kicked the game-winning field goal for the Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl.
With more than 90 players advancing into the professional ranks, 35 earning All-American honors, and 12 garnering Verizon Academic All-America recognition, Cincinnati football clearly has a history of accomplishments, both on and off the gridiron.