UC Football in 2013

» Posted by on Jul 2, 2013 in UC Football | 0 comments

It’s the start of July, and in one month it will be the start of one of my great sports passions: The start of University of Cincinnati Football. For seven years I was a season ticket holder, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I never missed a game, and only had to leave early once. That was at halftime due to a prior engagement. I would like at this time to share some thoughts, opinions and other things that come to mind. I have not been able to attend a game in a few years due to work commitments but I still follow the program closely. Hopefully this situation changes and I can get back to Nippert on Saturday afternoons and evenings.
I am encouraged by the 85 million dollar investment to upgrade the stadium. This is to build luxury boxes and increase the capacity to 40,000 seats. This keeps the Cats on campus, where they belong. College Football should be played on campus whenever possible. It adds to the aura and excitement and provides a real home field advantage.
It’s my understanding that they will play the home games at Nippert this year, move to another location (PBS?) next season and everything should be done by 2015. I have no doubt in the end this will be a wise investment and be a huge boost for the University, the team and its fans. I have also watched a lot of high school football there and it’s a great venue for that as well.
I am also very excited about the arrival of Tommy Tuberville as head football coach. This man is simply a great Division 1 college football coach. He has won everywhere he’s been. He has rebuilt Ole Miss and Auburn into quality football programs. This was done in the SEC no less. He led Auburn to an undefeated season and had a winning record against Alabama while he was there. He is one of the very few Auburn coaches who can make that claim. He has coached many All Americans and sent many players on to the NFL.
He recently piloted Texas Tech to a winning record coming into a very difficult situation. He had to replace a very popular and successful coach (Mike Leach) and still won in the ultra-competitive Big 12 Conference. To go into such a toxic atmosphere and win speaks volumes of this man’s ability to not only run a program but be a great game coach as well. I also think at age 58 and with his wife being from nearby Indiana that he really doesn’t want to start over anymore. I really and truly believe that we have finally found somebody who wants to really be here and coach here for a long time. This will really help recruiting and especially during bowl season, when players and fans are constantly wondering if our coach is staying. This is one distraction nobody needs, and this will really help us when bowl season rolls around.
He’s also coming into a very good situation. He doesn’t need to totally rebuild. He inherits a talented, experienced roster that knows how and expects to win. They won a bowl game last year over a pesky Duke team with only five coaches and dealing with the distraction of the head coach leaving. So really nothing is going to faze these guys. The Cats have two experienced senior quarterbacks who have won at this level. I’m guessing Brendon Kay will be the starter going into preseason camp but will be pushed by Munchie Legeaux, the starter last year until Kay took over late in the year. This is a great situation for us. Kay did a great job but I still like and believe in Legeaux. Munchie is a great talent, with NFL-like ability. I really do believe that. Hopefully he gets more consistent with his passing and if he does it will be hard to keep him on the bench. I can see him on an NFL roster in 2014. I really believe that. We also picked up Gunner Kiel, a transfer from Notre Dame who will be eligible in 2014. By all accounts this kid is a real stud, and we’re happy to have him in a Bearcat uniform!! The Bearcats suffered significant losses in the graduation of leading rusher George Winn and stud TE Travis Kelce. I guarantee Kelce will make an NFL roster since he’s like Brent Celek (one of my all-time favorite Bearcats) only bigger and faster. But with the program the Bearcats have it will be the next man up and will be fine.
The schedule will be different obviously with the new conference starting this year. We keep Louisville, Rutgers, USF, and Connecticut. The new additions are SMU, Temple, Houston and Memphis. The non-conference foes are Purdue, Illinois, Miami of Ohio, and Northwestern State (LA.). This is indeed a very competitive schedule. Purdue has a new coach in Darrell Hazell, who was the MAC coach of the year last year, ahead of Dave Doeren of Northern Illinois, who led his team to the Orange Bowl. Coach Hazell totally rebuilt Kent, and he’ll have better athletes at Purdue. This will be a tough opening game. Illinois should be better. There will be quite a few tests this year. This may be the last year we play Louisville, who’s heading to the ACC in 2014. This has been a great rivalry. The games in most years were very competitive, with fans on both sides really getting into it. I congratulate Coach Strong and the Cardinals on their big bowl win over Florida in January. I implore administrators on both sides to do what they can to keep this rivalry afloat. It would be great not only for the cities of Cincinnati and Louisville but for College Football as well. Many of the great college football rivalries are falling by the wayside due to conference realignment, which I not only think is sad but is bad for college football. Rivalries are what make college football really special, like UC and Miami for the Victory Bell. To take these away for whatever reason is just flat-out wrong and bad for the product. Stay tuned for my next post where I will share some of my favorite memories from the UC games I attended.