The Bearcats football team has had it's ups and downs throughout the years (at one point almost being dissolved altogether), but since the late 2000's they have been a powerhouse, winning the conference championship in 5 of their nine past seasons, been to a postseason bowl game in eight if the past nine years, and won four of those games. Finally, the Bearcats rank in the top ten most winning FBS teams since the 2007 season. Gamedays at historic Nippert stadium are always well attended by both students and alumni alike, with tailgates and activities both before and after the games.
The Bearcats have a large amount of history in their books. Not only do the Bearcats participate annually in the oldest rivalry in college football, they participated in the first college football game played in the state of Ohio, and were one of the first teams formed in the state. Their home, historic James Gamble Nippert stadium, is the fourth oldest site of play in he country, as well as the fifth oldest stadium nationwide.
Nippert Stadium Timeline
1895 – UC physical education director Arch Carson introduced a plan to build a stadium in Burnet Woods.
1901 – Cincinnati played its first game on Carson Field. Wood bleachers were built on the surrounding hillside.
1909 – Lights were first used because the large number of co-op students on the team could practice only at night.
1915 – Construction began on a permanent brick-and-concrete structure.
1923 – James Gamble donated $250,000 in memory of his grandson, Jimmy Nippert, to complete the stadium. Jimmy died on Christmas 1923 from a football injury a month prior.
1924 – The completed James Gamble Nippert Stadium was dedicated on Nov. 8, 1924. Capacity was 12,000.
1954 – Reed Shank Pavilion was completed along the east sideline to boost the capacity to 28,000.
1968 – Nippert served as the first home of the Cincinnati Bengals while the city constructed a facility for the new pro franchise.
2001 – A new video scoreboard was added in the north end zone and 10,000 seats were upgraded.
2005 – A permanent grandstand upgraded seating behind the north end zone and provided new locker rooms at field level for game use. A new, larger video board was installed and the FieldTurf playing surface replaced.
2014 – Nippert closed for renovation. UC played home games at Paul Brown Stadium.
2015 – Capacity increased to 40,000 with addition of premium seating, new pavilion, additional restrooms, upgraded concessions and improved concourses. #NIPPERT2015
Gameday in Cincinnati always starts with the GRIDiron tailgate on Campus Green, opening four hours before the kickoff of each home game. Tailgates on the GRID start early and include games, food, beverages, music from the UC Band, and the "Catwalk." The RallyCats beer truck is at the center of all the action, serving beer and food for the entirety of the tailgate before every home game at prices friendly for both students and alumni alike (volunteer to help us out here!). Starting roughly two and a half hours before kickoff, the Catwalk consists of the Bearcat mascot, cheer team, and football team walking down Campus Green Drive and across Campus Green led by the band playing "Cheer Cincinnati." Fans have the chance to high five and cheer on the student-athletes and coaches as they continue their walk into the Richard E. Lindner Athletic center where they begin their pre-game preparations. After that, fans typically begin to file into Nippert Stadium to find their seats and watch the pre-game festivities.
Leading up to the game, a number of traditions take place. First, the band marches down Corry Boulevard, onto Varsity Village Drive, and into the stadium playing "Down the Drive," a nationally recognizable and extremely old cadence (song played by the drumline) played at the beginning of each game. When the band arrives at the stadium, they stand at the top of the student section and play "Down the Stairs," during which the entire band rushes down the stairs to meet the drumline on the field, then transition directly into "Cheer Cincinnati." After the band finishes their pregame show, they play the National Anthem. Afterwards, the players run onto the field while the band plays and the student section sings "Cheer Cincinnati," the game ball is delivered by skydivers, and all is set to go!
- On every kickoff, we "amp it up," saying "Cinciiiiiiiiiiii..." Getting louder as the kicker approaches the ball. Once it's kicked we all shout in unison "'N-A-T-I!"
- For every first down, the Band plays a short tune then the student section cheers "First and ten, do it again! Let's-go-'Cats!"
- On every touchdown we sing "Cheer Cincinnati" and the UC ROTC fires the gameday cannon while cadets perform one pushup for every point that the Bearcats have while the student section counts their push ups.
- On 3rd down when the other team has the ball, get crazy and make as much noise as possible! On 4th down, if the other team goes for it, be louder than you've ever been!
Bearcats fans ALWAYS stay to the end... and it's not over until the Alma Mater is sung!! If the 'Cats win, we sing "Cheer Cincinnati," then the Alma Mater. If we lose, we only sing the Alma Mater.