I’ve tried my best to limit the amount of columns I write about my favorite teams, but since I wrote about Ohio State last week I feel I’ve earned the right to complain about my Cincinnati Bearcats.
UC, quite simply, has been one of the best football programs in the country the past few seasons. I don’t mean that in terms of national success, which is extremely difficult to do outside of the Power 5 conferences, but few programs have had the sustained success the Bearcats have had in recent years.
Cincinnati has won conference championships in the old Big East and American Athletic Conference in five of the last seven seasons and had won 83 games in the past nine years before this season started. Their .728 win percentage since 2007 is in the top-10 of FBS teams in the nation.
They’ve won at least nine games seven times in the past eight years. They have a nationally known head coach in Tommy Tuberville who’s had plenty of success at a number of big programs, a five-star quarterback in Gunner Kiel and a receiving core most teams would throw a recruiting trip the Louisville basketball program would be proud of to transfer to their teams. On top of that, almost every starter from last year’s conference championship team came back for this year.
So here I sit, with my one remaining season ticket to this year’s final home game and UC has a 5-4 overall record. What’s even more embarrassing is the 2-3 conference record in parenthesis next to the 5-4. They’re currently fourth out of six teams in their division of their conference, a conference they were unanimously picked to win before the season started.
So it’s safe to say I’m not exactly a happy alum at the moment.
In terms of offense, the Bearcats are seventh nationally. They average 578 yards per game and put up over 37 points per game.
A defense that was miserable a season ago and was ranked dead last in the nation before the end of last year has come back in 2015 and been fairly decent – certainly passable when paired with one of the top offenses in the nation.
So what’s been the issue with the Cats? Themselves.
UC has turned the ball over 20 times in nine games this year. Only 10 teams in FBS have more. The UC defense has managed to force 10 this year, hats off to them, but it can’t help how remote-throwing frustrating this team, especially this offense has been this year.
Remember Temple? That lovable underdog that nearly beat Notre Dame in prime time and still has a shot to make a really nice bowl game this year? UC out-gained them at home 557-296 earlier this year. Utterly dominated them. Except in the turnover department, where the Bearcats committed five.
Saturday, against undefeated Houston on the road, the Bearcats out-gained the Cougars by 162 yards, and while only three turnovers officially went into the books, a botched punt with a net-gain of zero yards and an onside kick to start the second half that went out of bounds that Tuberville didn’t even call for really makes it five.
UC lost those games by 11 points combined and what I thought could have been a year where I’d have to be calling in “sick” to work to go see my Alma mater in a big-time bowl game now is more likely headed to the Lysol Toilet Bowl where I’ll begrudgingly watch from my couch while I seriously contemplate if season tickets are even worth it in the fall of 2016.
Reach Charles Grove at 937-544-2391 or email@example.com.