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Don't Worry About The BCS . . . At Least Not Yet

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Am I the only Bearcat fan who is not remotely concerned about the possibility that an undefeated Cincinnati team could be left out of the BCS National Championship game?

 

For starters, the 'Cats have a LONG way to go.  If UC is still undefeated on the morning of December 6th, I'll be happy to debate whether the Big East champion is worthy of a shot at the title.

 

But somebody is in this position nearly every year and will be until there is a playoff.

 

In 2004, Auburn ran the table in the SEC - not exactly a conference that struggles to get respect - and watched USC face Oklahoma for the BCS Championship.  Imagine how it felt for Auburn fans to see the Sooners get smoked by the Trojans 55-19.

 

Shoot, as Joe Posnanski pointed out in his phenomenal profile of Joe Paterno in Sports Illustrated this week, Joe Pa has had four undefeated teams at Penn State that were passed over for national championships.

 

(He also pointed out that Paterno was born before Don Shula, Gordie Howe, Arnold Palmer, Shirley Temple, and Elvis Presley among others.  Great stuff.)

 

I've already been through this once before.  In 1987, shortly after I graduated from Syracuse, I was part of the broadcast crew at my alma mater when the Orange went 11-0 in the regular season and did not play for the national title.  #1 Oklahoma and #2 Miami also had perfect regular seasons and met in the Orange Bowl.  Syracuse settled for the Sugar Bowl and finished 4th in the polls after tying Auburn. 

 

I refuse to get worked up about what might happen in January and have the following advice for all UC fans:  Enjoy the ride instead of focusing on the destination.

 

Brian Kelly and his staff have put together one of the most exciting teams in the country (is there a more entertaining player to watch than Mardy Gilyard?) and the #5 Bearcats have already accomplished remarkable feats.

 

Lose 10 starters on defense?  No problem - the 'Cats lead the nation in tackles for loss and rank second in sacks.

 

Lose a Heisman candidate quarterback in the middle of a tight road game?  Big whoop - plug in a seldom-used backup and outscore two conference rivals 58 to 17 in his first six quarters.

 

This is not normal folks.  Have you noticed what happened to Oklahoma when QB Sam Bradford went down?  The Sooners are 4-3.  Winning games after losing a star quarterback is not as easy as Brian Kelly, Jeff Quinn, Greg Forest, Charlie Molnar, Lorenzo Guess, and especially Zach Collaros are making it look.

 

So don't get caught up in the BCS debate . . . and don't look ahead to the monster matchups against #20 West Virginia and #16 Pitt.  Let's enjoy every step along the way beginning with Saturday's game at Syracuse.

 

Yes, I'll be rooting for my alma mater to lose this week.

 

Along with Florida, Alabama, Texas, USC, Boise State, Iowa, and TCU. 

 

 * * * * *

 

I didn't get to see the open basketball scrimmage on Saturday, but I did attend practice the day before and spent much of it focusing on Uber frosh Lance Stephenson.

 

He's the real deal offensively and will be a nightmare matchup for opponents.  Lance is strong enough to overpower most guards, and sufficiently skilled as a ball handler to drive by most forwards.

 

"He's 6'5" and he can put in on the floor like he's 6-foot," Yancy Gates told me.  "He came in strong and able to finish around the bucket with bigger defenders jumping at him and I think that will make him really special with his ability to get to the cup."

 

"He has the ability to make us better on offense right away and not just because he can score," Coach Cronin said.  "He's helped our offense immensely in practice because of his passing - it's tremendous.  He's by far our best passer and has great size to see over the defense.  And he's playing with high-level players who can finish."

 

You can see for yourself next Saturday.  The 'Cats will hold another open scrimmage at 10 a.m.  It's the perfect thing to do before watching and/or listening to the UC/Syracuse football game beginning at noon.

 

I'd love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.

 

And if you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard

 

Enjoy a recent photo of the handsome lad, who enjoyed the beach in South Florida nearly as much as the Bearcats win over the Bulls.

 

Sam in St. Pete re.JPG 

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