Here are 5 questions UC football will face at Big 12 Media Days this week

ARLINGTON, Texas – In terms of respect, the University of Cincinnati football Bearcats are trending more Rodney Dangerfield than Aretha Franklin as one of the four new schools entering the Big 12 Conference. The Bearcats are picked near the bottom in various Big 12 media polls, despite being the fifth-winningest college football program since 2018 (53-11). League media put UC 13th out of 14 teams. Athlon Sports has the Bearcats at No. 12. Phil Steele's publication has them tied at No. 13 with Houston. College Football Network has UC finishing 4-8. The bottom line is new UC coach Scott Satterfield and the Bearcats are a question mark in July with answers to come. Here are five questions about UC football heading into their inaugural Big 12 season: 1. Do the UC Bearcats have enough experience? According to Phil Steele's College Football Preview, which claims to be "the most accurate magazine over the last 28 years," UC has the least amount of game experience in the Big 12. The Kansas Jayhawks, meanwhile, have the most experience. Big 12 media picked UC 13th. Kansas was tabbed No. 9. Counterpoint: Steele's publication ranked UC with the third-easiest schedule of the Big 12 and a No. 53 ranking overall in terms of difficulty. Only Central Florida and Oklahoma State were deemed to have easier slates. 2. Can UC win with another new starting quarterback? After Desmond Ridder led UC to the College Football Playoff and was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, Ben Bryant returned to UC after a season starting with Eastern Michigan. UC finished 9-4 with Bryant starting most of last season. Bryant has since transferred to Northwestern after competing with Emory Jones Jr. and others during through the spring game. Jones was spectacular at times during the spring scrimmage. Freshman Brady Drogosh also showed some promise, with a touchdown pass to fellow true freshman Barry Jackson Jr. Counterpoint: Drogosh and Brady Lichtenberg will compete. But Jones, who is here in Arlington for Big 12 Media Days, is the favorite to win the starting job. He has thrown for 4,800 yards and ran for 1,300 yards in his college career at Florida and last season at Arizona State. Scott Satterfield's offenses in Louisville the past four seasons (mainly with dual-threat Malik Cunningham) averaged 200 yards passing and 200 yards rushing, so Jones fits the mold assuming he remains healthy. Drogosh also showed promise as a runner. 3. What about personnel losses on offense? UC also lost top receivers Tyler Scott and Tre Tucker to the NFL draft, along with Jadon Thompson (Louisville) and Quincy Burroughs (Wisconsin). At tight end, Josh Whyle was drafted and Leonard Taylor signed as a free agent. The offensive line lost Jake Renfro, James Tunstall, Joe Huber, Dylan O'Quinn, Jeremy Cooper and Lorenz Metz. Counterpoint: Xzavier Henderson (Florida), Dee Wiggins (Louisville), Braden Smith (Louisville), Donovan Ollie (Washington State), Sterling Berkhalter (North Carolina A&T, Princeton High), Aaron Turner (Connecticut) and newcomer Barry Jackson appear viable, but no one has seen them in a Big 12 game. Still, several have Power Five experience, and Jones and Henderson hooked up for touchdowns at Florida in the SEC. Chamon Metayer has looked stunning at times and it's his time to shine at tight end as well as Payton Singletary. As for the offensive line, Gavin Gerhardt is back at center and Satterfield's expanded recruiting staff helped land Luke Kandra (Louisville, Elder High), Trevor Radosevich (Penn), Deondre Buford (Kentucky), Phillip Wilder (Southeast Missouri) in addition to Bearcat veterans John Williams, Dartanyan Tinsley and Cam Jones. Then, there's the defense. Pro Football Focus' highest-rated defensive lineman Dontay Corleone is just a sophomore. He made the Big 12 Preseason Media First Team and was joined on the list by Ray Guy candidate Mason Fletcher. Veteran Jowon Briggs also has added some preseason accolades and is joined by other veterans Malik Vann and Eric Phillips. That gives UC representation in Cincinnati from Colerain, Walnut Hills and Fairfield high schools. Working into the fray will be Utah State transfer Daniel Grzesiak at the "dog" position and Louisville transfer Dorian Jones. They'll be aided at the "star" position by Deshawn Pace. Under defensive coordinator Bryan Brown, Louisville led the nation in sacks last year and it would be reasonable to expect a similar result from UC. While the secondary lost Ja'Quann Sheppard to transfer, Anquon Bush (NFL draft) and Ja'Von Hicks, it gained Florida transfer Jordan Young and Arizona State transfer D.J. Taylor (who also played at Florida). Back with Bearcat experience are Taj Ward, Bryon Threats and Sammy Anderson. 4. How will UC Bearcat football adjust to the loss of Ivan Pace Jr.? While the undersized tackling fanatic starred at the Reese's Senior Bowl and all season, he wasn't drafted. Pace Jr. will now take out his frustrations as a Minnesota Viking free agent. Counterpoint: Fear not. Fifteen months younger than his brother, Deshawn Pace flourished in his new role over the spring and is ready to handle unsuspecting opponents. Pace joins teammates Corleone, Briggs and Jones for Big 12 Media Days and is ready for the spotlight. "Every level that me and Ivan played on, it's always been top dogs," Pace said. "I feel that every level we touch, it's going to be top dogs." 5. Is Scott Satterfield ready for the Big 12? Can UC recover from losing Luke Fickell to Wisconsin? As history shows, Luke Fickell went 4-8 in his first year then won 11, 9, 13 and 9 wearing the T.E.A.M. vest. As history also shows, after the American Athletic Conference title game loss to Tulane, T.E.A.M. meant Tomorrow Everyone's At Madison. Enter UC Athletic Director John Cunningham, master of the clandestine coach search. Counterpoint: Cunningham hired Satterfield from hard-luck Louisville where injuries and close calls led to a 25-24 record. However, the Cardinals had some bright spots and previously Satterfield was an up-and-comer at Appalachian State where he was 51-24, so much so that he was in the mix for the UC job before Fickell was hired. His overall record is 76-48 and he's 4-1 in bowl games (Satterfield didn't coach UC or Louisville in December's Fenway Bowl). He was the 2018 Sun Belt Coach of the Year, then the 2019 ACC Coach of the Year in his first year at Louisville. Furthermore, as an assistant coach at Appalachian State, he was part of three NCAA FCS National Champions. Plus, Appalachian State, alma mater, upset Michigan in 2007. Satterfield was in the coaching booth that day as quarterbacks coach next to current UC offensive coordinator Brad Glenn. There are plenty of rodeos in Texas, but this will not be Satterfield's first.

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