The Biggest Game in Bearcat History

Some may say that’s an exaggeration. But it’s not, sooo…they’re dumb. It gets no bigger than this for the University of Cincinnati football program. A chance at back-to-back Big East titles and back-to-back BCS bowl bids, as well as an outside shot at a national title? Games don’t get much bigger for a program like UC.
There are a lot of distractions in the Bearcat camp this week, with all the Brian Kelly/Notre Dame talk, and to say it isn’t a distraction is just ignorant. These 18-23 year-old kids aren’t just putting this in the back of their minds is not going to happen. They read the stories in the papers and on the internet. They’re watching ESPN. They keep hearing about their coach leaving, and it has to distract them at least a little bit. The benefit? Maybe they’re getting so sick of hearing how this is a can’t miss job for BK. Maybe they want to prove to him that he has a better chance to keep Cincinnati on top than he does bringing a crumbling ND program back there. Might be a bit of a stretch, but I think it’s a legitimate mindset.

As for BK’s departure…I wouldn’t be shocked. Let’s be serious here. It’s Notre Dame. Even if they’ve been absolutely miserable for more than a decade, it’s still Notre Dame. Brian Kelly could go there and have the chance to “wake up the echoes” and bring one of college’s premiere programs back to the top of the mountain. You can’t act like coaching at the University of Cincinnati has the same mystique as a chance to revive football for the Fighting Irish.
That being said, I would be willing to say that Coach Kelly has a better chance to win a national title in the next five years in Cincy than he does at Notre Dame. The pressure in South Bend will be ridiculously high and I think expectations will be unreasonably so. Granted, with his track record, I wouldn’t be shocked to see BK make a move and get Notre Dame back to the top quickly.
It’ll be interesting to see what he decides, but I think this video accurately portrays most of the opinions of Bearcat fans everywhere (I especially like the 50 second mark):

Now on to the actual game. I don’t think it will be easy for the ‘Cats to pull out a win. The elements are against them, they’re on the road, Pitt’s defense is stellar, and the Panthers have a very, very good run game. I’ll say right now I won’t be shocked if either team wins by 10 or less.
The last time UC faced a team with a really strong running game that controlled the clock? Fresno State. The Bulldogs held the ball for almost 44 minutes to Cincy’s 16 minutes. They gave up almost 300 yards rushing. They were outgained by almost 100 yards and gave up 25 first downs. And they were never in legitimate danger of losing the lead.
Last week, the Bearcats faced an Illinois team that ranked 24th in the nation in rushing with two good running backs, an extremely mobile quarterback, and a dynamite wide receiver. They had negative rushing yards for more than 80% of the game. They didn’t force a turnover and gave up almost 500 total yards. And the game was never in doubt.
The point of those last two paragraphs? To show that this Bearcat team finds a way to win even when all football knowledge says it shouldn’t happen. I might be a homer, but I think that’s going to be the case tomorrow. Someone’s going to have to give. Cincy has the best offense in the Big East and the third-best defense. Pitt has the league’s best defense and third-best offense. Pitt has the most sacks in the country and UC gives up the fourth-fewest nationally.
One side will have to give. I don’t think it’ll be Cincy. They’ve got too much to play for. As I said above, they’re trying to keep their coach, they’ve got a chance at a national title with a little help, and (according to this guy) Tony Pike is better than Tim Tebow. I think the passing game will open up the running game when they need it, and I think the defense will step up enough to give the offense a chance to get a cushion. As I said last week, special teams could be the difference in this one. Mardy Gilyard returning, Mike Windt snapping back to Jake Rogers. It’s not the Bengals. It doesn’t make me nervous. So, if it does come down to special teams, I think the Bearcats have a decisive advantage. Remember this…

It won’t be easy, but I take Cincinnati to head back to the BCS with a 31-23 win.

As for the BCS…does UC even have a chance at that national title game? Chances are already slim when you’re depending on the 76th ranked scoring offense to beat Texas. I’m a huge Huskers fan this weekend, but I just don’t think Nebraska has the offensive firepower to beat Colt McCoy and the Longhorns.
Even if Nebraska does win, does Cincinnati jump idle TCU? Right now the Bearcats are .142 behind the Horned Frogs, and the Oregon State loss last night put a major dent in their chances to leapfrog Gary Patterson’s squad even if they win. I’m still hopeful, but a lot needs to fall into place for Cincy to play for a national championship. And, sadly, I think that may be the only to keep BK around past next week.

Because I mentioned it, how about the Civil War last night. Nothing like a major rivalry game with such huge implications. A Pac-10 title and Rose Bowl trip on the line for Oregon-Oregon State? Even a kid from Ohio knows how great that is. Oregon’s running game is really good. Especially with LeGarrette Blount back. The kid’s a linebacker playing running back. He and LaMichael James are an awesome one-two punch in the backfield. Then you throw in Jeremiah Masoli? That’s a tough offensive attack to prepare for. Good luck, Jim Tressell. Still, if Oregon State could’ve tackled, they win that game. And, even though he gets no publicity, Sean Canfield is really good.
I wanted the Beavers to win for my Bearcats’ sake, but this video I posted a while back makes it easier to swallow the Ducks’ big win.

SEC Championship this weekend. I’ll probably tune in but I don’t care all that much. It’s a de facto national semifinal. I think Florida wins because of Alabama’s lack of a passing game and Mark Ingram’s hip pointer. If I hear that the Gators will win because of Tim Tebow’s “will” one more time, I may vomit.

Big 12 Championship, too. I think Nebraska keeps it close for a while, but Texas will pull it out. Longhorns take this one 35-13.

ACC Championship is a waste of time. I’m pretty sure Georgia Tech already beat Clemson earlier this season, so I will take the Yellow Jackets to win again.

MAC Championship. Ohio Bobcats vs. Central Michigan. Dan LeFevour is a great QB and Central Michigan has been outstanding in conference play this year. I have no idea who will win this game, but I will go with my heart and take the Bobcats to win the MAC title.

If the Bengals lose to the Lions, I will weep. Bob Bratkowski just needs to pass the ball. Detroit’s pass defense is absolutely miserable. If Carson doesn’t have 300+ yards, I consider this game a failure. They need to get the passing game going if they want to compete in the playoffs. But a win guarantees the second winning season in my lifetime! WhoDey!

The whole Tiger thing is getting a little hackneyed in my opinion (you like that vocabulary, Mr. Reuben?). He cheated on Elin, apparently. Holy cow! A famous athlete (allegedly) cheated on his wife. I still don’t know if this attention whore off of Tool Academy is telling the truth or not. Let’s be serious…she was on that stupid reality show for a reason. Jesper Parnevik was a little harsh with his criticism, if you ask me. I understand you’re unhappy with the guy, but whether you set the couple up or not, it’s still his business, not yours. And the whole “driver instead of a 3-iron?” Have some class, Mr. Parnevik.
My opinion? It’s Tiger and Elin’s business. Not mine. Not yours. Not the media’s. Tiger owes no one an explanation. Tiger knows he messed up in some way. He admitted it. Does he need to come out in public to tell you? Not at all. Rick Reilly puts it perfectly. What he’s done is already so far beyond his usual public persona. It’s not our business. He’s done all he needs to do. Let he and Elin work it out in private.
As for people saying they won’t cheer for Tiger anymore, it’s ludicrous. I will never stop rooting for the guy. I never started rooting for him because I watched him win a U.S. Open on a broken leg and thought to myself, “That was impressive, but what I really love about Tiger is that he’s a family man.” No. I root for Tiger because he’s the best golfer in the world, maybe in the history of the sport. I root for Tiger because he makes the most difficult things seem pedestrian. I root for Tiger because of his impact on my favorite sport in the world. I root for Tiger because, on the golf course, he’s almost inhuman. I root for Tiger because he’s an amazing golfer. I root for Tiger because of how amazing he is between the ropes. I’m not condoning any “transgressions” against his family, but I became a fan of Tiger as a golfer. I’ve never cared what he does off the course. As long as he’s providing us with the amazing entertainment that is his golf game, I have no reason to change my thinking. On the course, he’s a golfer. That’s where I root for him. Off the course, he’s a human being. He deserves his privacy.
But this is still funny…

World Cup draw earlier today. United States gets an extremely favorable draw. Even if they can’t beat England, they’d better beat Slovenia and Algeria. A draw with England would go a long way to winning the group based on goal differential. Either way, as Alexi Lalas said on ESPN, it is a huge failure if the U.S. doesn’t make it out of group play. And I am so excited for the World Cup. If it weren’t for the Masters being an annual event, the World Cup would be my favorite sporting event ever. As I said…I’m very excited.

I’ll let Chris Farley send you into the weekend. Everybody’s working for it…



~ by nchaney3 on December 4, 2009.

One Response to “The Biggest Game in Bearcat History”

  1. […] About The Biggest Game in Bearcat History […]

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