Beers and Bearcats. New Cincinnati football coach talks Ohio State, Oklahoma in Cleveland

University of Cincinnati football coach Scott Satterfield (second from left, with mic) speaks to alumni and fans during the “Day One Tour,” Wednesday, May 17, 2023,  at Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland. The event promoted Bearcats athletics as UC prepares to enter the Big 12 on July 1.

CLEVELAND − Never say never? Maybe say "never" on this one.

Bearcats will never be as big as Buckeyes in football.

Regardless, the University of Cincinnati went out of its way recently, hoping to make you look in this corner of Ohio.

The Bearcats recently rented the tasting room at Great Lakes Brewing Company, where athletic director John Cunningham spoke jovially about joining the Big 12 Conference on the "Day One Tour." The Bearcats are officially in the Big 12 on July 1.

University of Cincinnati athletic director John Cunningham (far right, with mic) speaks to alumni and fans during the “Day One Tour,” Wednesday, May 17, 2023,  at Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland. The event promoted Bearcats athletics as UC prepares to enter the Big 12 on July 1.

"It's massive," Cunningham said as guests strolled in through a tunnel of cheerleaders. "It puts us on a national stage we have not been on in a long time."

A lively crowd of alumni and fans sipped Edmund Fitzgerald and Dortmunder while toasting new football coach Scott Satterfield, men's basketball coach Wes Miller and others.

"We expect to compete for championships in the Big 12," Satterfield said. "I get that it's a big jump, even though Cincinnati just played in the final four (of college football in 2021-22)."

Cincinnati Bearcats head football coach Scott Satterfield speaks during a timeout in the first half of the 90th Crosstown Shootout college basketball game between the Xavier Musketeers and the Cincinnati Bearcats, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022, at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati.

The football Bearcats are staying in their lane, aiming to go fast but not talking in terms of catching Ohio State. There is no plan to schedule the Buckeyes.

"We're playing nine conference games, and we play Miami (Ohio) every year," Cunningham said. "You schedule out these home-and-homes years in advance. We're all the way out to 2030 and '31.

Cincinnati Bearcats football schedule: Check out the University of Cincinnati Bearcats' first Big 12 football schedule

"There's always the possibility it could happen. It probably wouldn't happen until down the line, if it does."

Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Scott Satterfield talks to the 2023 football team at the end of the Cincinnati Bearcats spring scrimmage at Nippert Stadium on Saturday, April 15, 2023.

Satterfield helped beat Ohio State's arch-rival in a famous 2007 game. He was quarterbacks coach for Appalachian State then.

"It was the inaugural game on Big Ten Network," he said. "Michigan was coming off a Rose Bowl.

"I called plays from the press box. We were up two touchdowns at halftime. It would have taken forever to get to the locker room, so I stayed upstairs and got some popcorn.

"We blocked a field goal and won the game … greatest upset in college football history. I remember walking down through the stands in Ann Arbor."

It made quite a stir in Columbus.

"So I've heard," Satterfield said.

Cincinnati rose to No. 4 in the 2021 college football polls. Luke Fickell had his hands on that stir.

"In the last 20 or 25 years, Cincinnati has come off the mat in football," Satterfield said. "When you think about it that way, Ohio State, which obviously has been the team in Ohio forever, is way ahead.

"But hopefully Cincinnati will be able to close the gap a little bit."

Cincinnati Bearcats football head coach Scott Satterfield answers questions during a press conference at Fifth Third Arena on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023.

The Bearcats competed in the American Athletic Conference in Fickell's six seasons.

In 2021, they won at Notre Dame and then swept AAC games against Temple, Central Florida, Navy, Tulane, Tulsa, South Florida, Southern Methodist, East Carolina and Houston.

They join the Big 12 amid comings and goings and insulting expectations for 2023.

A preseason football power ranking of the 14 2023 members, compiled by On3 Sports, has Texas No.1, followed by Kansas State, TCU, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Baylor, Central Florida, Kansas, Oklahoma State, BYU, Iowa State, Cincinnati, Houston and West Virginia.

Cincinnati, Central Florida, Houston and BYU are new Big 12 members. Oklahoma and Texas switch to the SEC in 2024.

How the Big 12 changes Cincinnati's basketball place in Ohio and around the country will be covered in another article.

In football, Fickell will be a hard act to follow.

Satterfield arrived on a six-year contract calling for $3.5 million in the first year. Fickell left for Wisconsin on a seven-year deal worth $4.5 million in Year 1. Each man gets a $100,000 raise each year.

The University of Cincinnati introduced Scott Satterfield as the next head coach of the Bearcats football team on Monday, Dec. 5, 2022.

In contrast to Satterfield, Fickell sports a full-bodied Ohio background. Fickell's 2020 Bearcats went 9-0 before dropping a Peach Bowl thriller to Georgia. His 2021 Bearcats were 13-0 before falling to Alabama in the national semifinals.

Cincinnati closed 2022 with a 24-7 loss to Louisville loss at Fenway Park. A crowd of 15,000 saw the Dec. 17 Fenway Bowl under strange conditions.

Fickell left for Wisconsin on Nov. 27. Satterfield departed Louisville for Cincinnati on Dec. 5. His record at Louisville was 25-24.

Cincinnati safety Ja'von Hicks (3) intercepts a pass intended for Louisville wide receiver Ahmari Huggins-Bruce (9) during the second half, Dec. 17, 2022, at Fenway Park, in Boston.

Anticipation builds for the Bearcats' first Big 12 game, Sept. 23 against Oklahoma in Nippert Stadium. An Oct. 14 date with Iowa State amuses the new coach.

It was mentioned to Satterfield that Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell played basketball like it was hit-somebody football when he lived in Stark County.

"Perry High School, right?" Satterfield said. "Matt and I were together at Toledo in 2009. We played some noon basketball. He still plays that way.

"I talk to him quite often. He's done a really good job at Iowa State."

Satterfield, 50, grew up in Durham, North Carolina, a five-minute drive from the Durham Bulls' baseball stadium. He played three high school sports and was a three-year quarterback at Appalachian State.

He thought back to college when asked about Drew Logan, a redshirt freshman from North Canton who walked on under Fickell in 2022 and remains on the Bearcats' roster.

"Drew is one of those guys out there working hard, and I've got a heart for walk-ons," Satterfield said. "I was a walk-on player, so I know about guys that want to come out and prove something every day."

Senior Ethan Wright of Manchester played nine games as a backup safety in 2022 before moving to running back and rushing for 43 yards on eight carries in the Fenway Bowl.

"Ethan is a good player who practices hard," Satterfield said. "He's trying to prove himself every day. When you do that, you're going to catch the eyes of all the coaches and earn a lot of respect from your teammates. He's done that."

Ryan Montgomery (22) and Ethan Wright (4) are two of UC's running backs who could benefit from the new Scott Satterfield offense.

Satterfield's debut will be Sept. 2 against Eastern Kentucky. Game 2 will be Sept. 9 at Pitt, a day before Joe Burrow and the Bengals open at Cleveland.

"The Bengals have created a lot of buzz," Satterfield said. "It's made the city very excited about football. Hopefully that translates to Bearcats love."

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This article originally appeared on The Repository: Cincinnati Bearcats celebrate joining Big 12 in July with road trip