It's not often I write a full post without mentioning the Bengals, or a former Bengals player, or someone at one point related to the Bengals -- though in truth there is geographical location, so I suppose in the "neighborhood" is applicable.
What I'm efforting here is to increase your awareness with the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. No, there isn't someone asking me to do this. No, I actually don't have friends in UC right now -- but I know a good friend that went there all too briefly. I took a tour there while in high school. Me and three friends went for about an hour, returned back to town and went to BW3's. As luck would have it, the owner needed help moving boxes to the back, giving us an hour of free pool as a reward. Talk about good timing; and talk about actually benefiting skipping because we kind of lied about a college visit. Sorry Mr. Huff (my former truant officer and offensive line coach).
The best story in Cincinnati football (excluding the awesome high school football in the area), isn't really the Bengals. In truth, fans are cautiously optimistic or bitterly pessimistic. What most of us are not, is excited. We find ourselves questioning at least one move a week, going back to the same dull (though justified) anti-Brown rant. Though by default, kickoff weekend is always exciting, if the Bengals have a losing record by the third week, it's going to hit the fan. Football is back in season, games are fun. And if you're like me, a general football enthusiast, you can find any game entertaining.
What I'm really excited for is the UC Bearcats this fall. I like Brian Kelly, a lot. How he changed that program to actually get Oklahoma concerned about us, after only a year of employment, is phenomenal. If it wasn't for a 28-23 loss to West Virginia (the one with Pat White) during the final non-Bowl game of the season, the Bearcats are Big East champions; then wouldn't they be playing in a BCS bowl game.
The best thing about the Bearcats right now, is their confidence, and eagerness to go outside the boundaries of being a basketball school.
"Going against one of the top teams in the country, this would do a lot for us coming out with the win," receiver Dominick Goodman said. "It would put the program where it needs to be at."
Matt Hinton, one of my former colleagues and one of the best writers in the business, doesn't think highly of the Bearcats against the Sooners -- and he might be right.
The fact that Cincinnati, though the buzz is weak, is looking not to just to compete, but win, is something unheard of before Kelly. With talented offensive weapons, and a very strong defensive secondary, they could pull off the upset -- though most people admit, if the Bearcats win, it wouldn't be that much of an upset.
So I say you, as Cincinnati Bengals fans, put on your Cincinnati sports caps and be aware of the Bearcats. For all we know, they could be the best Cincinnati football story this fall. Disclaimer: I'm in no way suggesting that you should cheer the Bearcats and no other team. Just that you should include the Bearcats in your list of high-fives near the water cooler.