Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Miami Fans Break Down the Cincinnati Bearcats

It could be a long time before the Miami Redhawks beat the Cincinnati Bearcats again. The Bearcats have now taken three straight from their one time bitter rivals, looking pretty dominant during the last two meeting. I was interested in seeing how the Miami fans were taking the game so I scoured the internet for fan interest. Lucky for me I found a little know Miami Redhawks fan site called where Miami fans had discussed the action before and after the game. I thought I would their thoughts with a wider Bearcat audience.

Right Before Kickoff:

Muredhawk27: Alright everyone, kickoff is in a few minutes. Any predictions?
Poppinmycollar: Well, last year was bad for us, but UC does not have Mauk anymore. We will not let that happen again. Plus Michigan and Vandy are both better than UC. I think we can win.
Muredhawk27: I think you’re right. We need to shove it Brian Kelly’s face. We have a 13 game lead in this series and Kelly thinks they are better than us. What a crappy program.
Poppinmycollar: Good point. Yea, we missed a great chance last year to make Kelly regret those words. You know we will be pumped up this year.
Thinksbigbenisstillaredhawk: We are every bit as good as the Bearcats. We out-recruit them every year. We have just as talented of players. It all comes down to coaching.
Firemonty: Monty sucks, but this will still be a better game. The Bearcats gave up freaking 52 points last week and are playing a QB who has never played a down. You know they will struggle.

Right After Kickoff:

Poppinmycollar: Great start. We kick it short to avoid a runback and give them great field position, just great.
Firemonty: Awful move. Our coach should be fired. He is no Randy Walker, he is no Terry Hoeppner. We are Miami, we always have great coaches. Why wouldn’t you just kick to whoever UC’s crappy return guy is?
Reasonableredhawk: Well their “crappy” return guy set an all purpose yards record against Oklahoma last week. That may have something to do with it.
Poppingmycollar: Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.
Thinksbigbenisstillaredhawk: Three and out, held UC to three. See their offense is really going to struggle this week. We gave Michigan all they can handle and if Michigan cannot move the ball on Miami, no way Cincinnati can.

After Bearcats go up 10-0:

Reasonableredhawk: Well that was too easy.
Poppinmycollar: We gave up one big play. UC is not going to be able to sustain drives against us. We just have to take that away.
Firemonty: Just terrible defensive play calling. Someone should fire Monty already.

Redhawks drive deep into Bearcat territory down 10-0:

Thinksbigbenisstillaredhawk: I told you they could not stop our offense. We are about to get 6. This is all of a sudden a game.
Reasonableredhawk: Do not speak too soon we still have to convert.

Bearcats hold Redhawks to three:

Firemonty: Of course, the play calling gets awful when we get in the red zone. Be aggressive, spread the Bearcats out.
Bearcats score another touchdown to go up 17-3:
Reasonableredhawk: I think the Bearcats are probably just a lot better than us. We cannot stop them. That was a great catch by Marty Gilyard.
Thinksbigbenisstillaredhawk: We have just as much talent. We just stalled in the red zone earlier and their guy made a nice play.
Firemonty: They are not better, we are just getting outcoached.

Redhawks score after two awful pass interference penalties:

Reasonableredhawk: Well we got two big breaks there.
Firemonty: UC was all over those receivers
Thinksbigbenisstillaredhawk: The Cincinnati corners simply cannot keep up with our receivers. Big touchdown by the offense.

Bearcats go into half time up 24 to 13

Poppinmycollar: Well, we get the ball to start the second half. The offense has looked really good let’s see what we can do.
Reasonableredhawk: Yea we are still in the game. We got a few breaks with the Bearcats committing some really bad penalties and having some tough calls against them. I was glad to see the offense take advantage. We still have not been able to stop the Bearcats, they have not punted yet.
Firemonty: We get the ball to start the second half. It will be nice if Montgomery does not screw it up.

Miami cuts the lead to 24-20

Poppinmycollar: Yes!
Thinksbigbenisstillaredhawk: I told you we were as talented as them.
Reasonableredhawk: Ok we cannot give up anything big on the kickoff.
Firemonty: ONSIDE KICK!
Thinksbigbenisstillaredhawk: Now that was a gutsy move!
Reasonableredhawk: Great decision, our defense has not been able to stop that Bearcat offense all game. Pike has looked like Peyton Manning out there. Let’s get some points.

Mickens returns the interception for a touchdown

Thinksbigbenisstillaredhawk: Who was he throwing to?
Poppinmycollar: If we lose this game because of that play I am going to flip out.
Firemonty: I am sure it was Shane Montgomery’s fault. We have just as good of players.

UC scores another TD to go up 38-20

Reasonableredhawk: Well this game is getting out of hand quickly.

Game ends with 45-20 UC win

Poppinmycollar: Remember when we used to beat the Bearcats?
Thinksbigbenisstillaredhawk: This is embarrassing. Two straight seasons of just getting killed by the Bearcats, three straight losses.
Poppinmycollar: I think this may be how it is going to be for a while. Wow.
Firemonty: It will be like this until we fire Monty. Jeez, we were every bit as talented as the Bearcats, but they just have better coaching.
Reasonableredhawk: Were you watching the same game? We did not have the athletes to keep up with their depth at wide receiver. Their offensive line moved our defense all game long. They were faster across the board, both on defense and on offense. We did a good job not letting them get pressure on our quarterback, but other than that they were simply a better team. We needed some breaks to make it this close.
Poppinmycollar: Brian Kelly pissed a lot of us off two years ago, but he has backed it up both times he has played us. We simply are not in Cincinnati’s league anymore.
Reasonableredhawk: Nothing to be ashamed of. We can still compete for MAC titles, but the athletic ability of the Bearcats is just above our level.
Firemonty: No man… we can win. We are Miami… Just fire Monty.

My Thoughts:

Last season when Brian Kelly declared that UC playing Miami home and home may not be what a program of Cincinnati’s stature should do there was a large outcry from the Miami population. I went up for the game and talked to a number of students who had little faith in the Bearcat football program and still believed that Miami was every bit as good of a program as Cincinnati. I think the last two seasons have shown that the programs are going in entirely different directions. For the most part the Bearcats are in an entirely different league than the Redhawks. I have even noticed some Miami fans starting to acknowledge the clear separation.

I believed from day 1 that Kelly’s comments had little to do with trying to insult Miami or belittle the rivalry and far more to do with getting Bearcat fans and local media to start viewing the Cincinnati program as the BCS program that it is. Cincinnati has an opportunity to play in a BCS bowl each and every year. We are clearly the number 2 program in a very talent rich state (and yes I say number 2 because at this point the Buckeyes are more established). Kelly’s comments were there to get people talking and get people thinking about what the Bearcat program can become.
UC’s dominance over Miami the last two seasons reinforces how far the Bearcats have come since joining the Big East. Gone are the days when Miami and UC would battle it out year after year. That simply is not going to happen anymore. I hope UC and Miami continue to play. If we continue to play year in and year out there will be seasons where Miami is up or UC is down where the Bearcats could lose, but they will be few and far between. If this series continues the Bearcats are going to eventually catch Miami in the overall series and the rivalry will start to lose some significance, but I cannot foresee beating Miami as ever getting old.

As the Battle for the Victory Bell continues I see it playing out more as a tune-up game than anything else (and what a fun tune-up game it will be for that matter). UC simply has bigger and better things ahead. The dominance the Bearcats have shown over Miami the past two seasons illustrates the direction the Bearcat program is heading. We are no longer a small time college football program. We are UC. We are a program that can play in BCS bowls and eventually play for BCS championships. We are a program that will have the opportunity to recruit the best athletes and schedule the best teams. We are going to start selling out Nippert and going to eventually have to expand. Bearcat fans who have been there from the start there is no need to lament attendance, or media coverage, or not being ranked…we will get there. What the Miami game best illustrated for me is the progress we have made already towards being a big time BCS program. In the future I expect that progress to continue. Bearcat football is moving forward at a rapid pace and that is something we can all celebrate.

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