We are going to be doing a few cross over articles with Cincy On The Prowl. They are a Cincinnati Blog on the FanSided Network to get all of our fans ready to go for the Hawaii Bowl. This is the first of a few articles between the two websites. If you would like to read my article on Meet the Aztecs click here.
First off, big thanks to Dave for working with us over at Cincyontheprowl.com! Secondly, I am a contributor to COP and am only a fan so if you don’t like what I say don’t take it out on the university or the fanbase!
Cincinnati football is one of the oldest programs in the country. Founded in 1885, it is among the first five college football teams in the country. The Bearcats own one of the oldest rivalries in college football with Miami Ohio dating back to 1888. Many people in the country (and some in our city) were unaware that Cincinnati even had a football team. Basketball has been the defining sport for UC with its multiple national championships and big success throughout the 90’s.
The Bearcats football team got pretty decent in the late 1940’s and early 50’s under coach Sid Gillman. The program didn’t go to a bowl from 1951 until 1997. In the late 90’s they picked up some momentum again by winning the Humanitarian bowl in 97 and three consecutive bowl bids in 2000, 2001, and 2002. The success of the basketball team and other athletics led to Cincinnati being invited to join a BCS conference (Big East) in 2005.
Joining a power conference was apparently the push that the football program needed and it resulted in a meteoric rise. Like all programs on the rise, Cincinnati became a cradle of coaches. Mark Dantonio served at Cincinnati for 3 years before leaving for Michigan State. He was followed by Brian Kelly who served 3 years before going to Notre Dame. After Kelly was Butch Jones who served 3 years before heading to Tennessee. Finally the merry-go-round stopped as Cincinnati plucked Texas Tech’s coach Tommy Tuberville (formerly of Auburn). In the last 10 years, Cincinnati has gone to 9 bowl games including the Sugar Bowl and Orange Bowl, they have sent many players to the NFL (16 active at the moment) and they have housed many great coaches (John Harbaugh, Rex Ryan, Jimbo Fisher, Mike Tomlin, and more).
The Tommy Tuberville era has been a disappointment by most UC fan standards, as the team has finished 9-4 the last two seasons. This season the Bearcats were unanimous picks to win their conference and possibly go undefeated. Obviously things haven’t gone as planned. The offense is led by 5 star junior quarterback Gunner Kiel and features 7 senior wide receivers and 3 running backs with over 700 yards per back There have been a few times this season where Gunner went out with an injury and red-shirt freshman Hayden Moore stepped in to play. Hayden Moore took over in the middle of the Memphis game and ended up setting a school record for single game passing yards. Suffice it to say, the offense is highly potent (top 10 in offensive yards).
The problem is that this team is dead last in the country when it comes to turnover margin. The defense is playing a lot of freshman and has suffered many injuries. The offense turns the ball over a lot and stalls in the redzone more than they should. And the special teams have not done anything to help (and several things to harm) this season. All this to say, we have no idea what version of our team will show up for the Hawaii bowl but our seniors are hungry for a bowl victory!
Fun Fact: The last time Cincy played SD State was in 2007 and it was the first time Cincinnati had been ranked since 1976!
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