OK we're all back to reality after dreams of an undefeated season right? With the drubbing of Austin Peay many probably thought we were going to shock the world in Knoxville. We probably did with some questionable decisions, according to us arm chair and recliner coaches. But I leave that to the film room, coaches and qualified pundits who played the game as to whether there was justification in the moment.
But what we now have in two games versus two teams from Tennessee is two teams; one who played up to their capabilities against Austin Peay and another one who played up to their potential long enough for us to know they are a serious contender if they can make plays for all four quarters and decrease giving up big plays. While the score would indicate blow out, it didn't start out that way because UC matched the Volunteers in all three phases of the game early on. And with Tennessee playing at home, despite having a young team, you saw the effects of speed and power in the SEC; and a little weather fatigue.
UC is on the right track and Isaiah Pead showed he can run against any team in the country, again. Zach Colloras made throws that even the broadcast booth praised repeatedly and the defense woke Tennessee up, albeit, to its detriment. But the point was made in that UC can play big time football if they play for 60 minutes. They're not good enough yet that they can play SEC type schools for 37 or 43 minutes and win. I think the coaches and players will admit that. The reality is games like these show you what you have to do to play at a high level for 60 minutes and now the challenge is before them.
With Akron up next that should be their only focus; secondarily it should be to play hard, smart and turnover free for the whole game. That type of effort will get them ready for the Big East and any other team that has talent in abundance. The reality is you can only put 11 of those high end players on the field at one time and the Bearcats can too. UC just has to sustain their level of play for 60 minutes and the Big East team from Cincinnati will get some big wins and a big bowl bid.
That's the way I see it, sitting in The Box Seat