Bearcat Tidbits

bowl-banner3Tomorrow night, the University of Cincinnati Bearcats makes its first trip to a BCS bowl game in the Orange Bowl showdown with Virginia Tech.

Here are a few UC tidbits to add to previous posts.

The Team
Five different QBs led the offense this year. Season starter broke a leg, current starter broke an arm, two freshman filled in for several games, and former ND QB Demetrius Jones played several plays. One could toss in a 6th by considering the failed attempt to get last year’s QB (Ben Mauk) additional eligibility.

The starting defense is composed of a former walk on, a senior who converted from TE this year, a basketball player who transferred from Prairie View who had to earn a scholarship, a transfer from Ohio State, and an under-recruited nose tackle who developed into an All-American.

The roster has 28 local players

The School
Law School graduates include William Howard Taft and Chris Collingsworth.

The most acclaimed programs are the Conservatory of Music, College of Engineering, and the School of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning.

UC originated the first co-op program.

Albert Sabin developed the polio vaccine while at UC.

Go Bearcats!

Sports wise, most fans think of UC as a basketball school, but many don’t realize that the Bearcats had 5 straight trips to the Final Four.

To a Fierce Raider from the Past

While on our Vancouver-to-San Diego cruise last October, we had just walked off the ship in Astoria, Oregon. As we passed a very tall gentleman and his wife, I glanced to see if that was the lady you sat beside me the night before in the ship’s theater. Then I noticed the signature moustache on her husband, who also walked as if his knees were often injured.

Since I respect their privacy, I’m one who seldom approaches celebrities. As I watched him mingle with other passengers over upcoming days, I was sure I would regret not meeting Ben Davidson, the 14-year defensive end who had many great years in the 1960s.

davidson1Later in the cruise at a wine tasting event, I approached him, shook his hand, and had a short discussion. He explained to me that as he’s gotten older, he has grown to appreciate fans recognizing him.

So there I was, anxious to meet a football great from my youth, and the last thing he said to me caught me totally off guard: “Thanks for remembering me.” I’m still stunned.

Here’s a What Happened to Ben Davidson Q&A interview from the Raiders.

Good Deeds by a Good Player

I wasn’t planning this post today, but yesterday’s Cincinnati Enquirer had a great story. Sports news is full of many stories of arrests, guns, drugs, poor behavior, and other negative events. These stories also hide the good deeds done by good people.

Mardy Gilyard, the talented junior wide receiver and kickoff returner for the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, is one of the good stories. This is worth the read.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 5

I wonder what percentage of GM and Ford’s U.S. sales are to people qualifying for the employee discount?

I agree with George Will who states that WW II got us out of the recession, not the New Deal.

President-elect Obama is upsetting the left and of course can’t please the right anyway. This makes me smile as I’ve been hoping for a centrist.

When it comes to politics and religion together, I’m weary of evangelical Republicans. With that said, I have no problem with Pastor Rick Warren’s role in the inauguration because I see this as an attempt to work across the aisle for one America. At least the president-elect is trying to bridge the divide.

If the Republicans were running Congress, how long (and at what $ cost) would they investigate the link between President-elect Obama and Governor Blagojevich? And for those who forget, how much did Ken Starr cost?

Since the Democrats are running Congress, how long will it take (and at what $ cost) to investigate various abuses of power in the Bush administration? Personally, I hope they stay away from it.

The struggling economy is the top story of 2008; not the election. Keep in mind that the September downturn helped swing the election.

We recently lost acclaimed playwright Harold Pinter at the age of 92. Although he had his accomplished, he is forever etched in my mind with The Caretaker – the play that served as the low benchmark in my time as a season ticket holder at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

With a flury of bowl games upon us, let us remember that the BCS is about the 6 major conferences dominating the bowl revenue; not about determining a national champion.

Baseball Hall of Fame ballots are due soon so here are a couple of HOF thoughts.

  • If I was a voter, Bert Blyleven, Ricky Henderson, and Andre Dawson would get my votes.
  • I agree with Johnny Bench; “The HOF is for the very best, not the very good.”
  • How could Pete Rose be declared “no longer eligible” when he was never eligible?

On College Football Coaches

The bowl season is in full swing and the big bowls are just ahead. Besides a few retirees, 19 coaches have already lost their job while others have moved up the program ladder.

I live in Cincinnati and I’m a season ticket holder for UC Bearcat football. No doubt about it, Bearcat football has risen to never-imaginable heights.

UC Coach Brian Kelly receives his share of accolades – and deserve ably so. With a very good two-year record of (22-5), his name has been consistently linked to many of the top open positions.

Over the past two seasons I’ve learned that Brian Kelly can coach, Brian Kelly is a good PR guy for the program, and Brian Kelly is committed to excellence. On the other hand, I still have two important questions that have yet to be answered: Can he recruit and can the team be successful with his recruits?

Coach Kelly’s coaching style and scheme has been successful with the upperclassmen recruited to UC by previous-coach Mark Dantonio (now at Michigan State). I say this because much of a college team’s success lies in the combination of player skills and the coaching schemes.

Similar stories are not new to college football teams. Numerous examples exist of a new coach bringing a new scheme into a situation and then instant success; and many of those examples then turn south over time because they couldn’t recruit as well as the fired predecessor or the quality recruits didn’t fit into the scheme.

This post isn’t about Brian Kelly, but one that’s using his situation as an example. We fans like to think that our successful team will continue to be successful through the rest of time, but realistically, that won’t be so. After all, coaches come and go, as do recruits, schemes, administrative support, and fan support.