Team preview: Cincinnati

Editor's Note: ESPN Insider has teamed with Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook to provide a comprehensive look at all 119 Division I-A teams. To order the complete 2005 edition of Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook, visit www.blueribbonyearbook.com or call 1-866-805-BALL (2255).

(All information as of July 1, 2005)


Cincinnati isn't a program in transition. The Bearcats are in a full-fledged metamorphosis, reshaping themselves on the fly as they make the jump this season from Conference USA to the Big East.

The transformation started last year when Cincinnati hired Mark Dantonio to replace Rick Minter, who was fired after a 5-7 season in 2003.

Dantonio, a first-time head coach, came to Cincinnati with impressive credentials. He was Nick Saban's secondary coach and an associate head coach at Michigan State from 1995 to 2000 before joining Jim Tressel's staff at Ohio State in 2001. Dantonio won a national championship with the Buckeyes in 2002 and coached the Buckeyes' defense to a No. 1 national ranking in rushing defense (60.5) and a No. 9 rank in total defense (290.1) in 2003.