RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Cincinnati's tough start to the season brings the Bearcats to the heart of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Cincinnati (1-1) visits North Carolina State (2-0) on Thursday night in the latest test of a critical four-game swing to open the season for the new-look Bearcats under new coach Butch Jones.
They opened with a loss at Fresno State, and play host to No. 7 Oklahoma next week.
Jones calls the stretch "a great challenge but also a great opportunity."
The Wolfpack have a lopsided victory over an FCS team and a win at Central Florida in which they forced five turnovers.
Coach Tom O'Brien grew up in Cincinnati and is impressed by the Bearcats' rise. They reached two BCS bowls under former coach Brian Kelly, who left for Notre Dame.