UC's role at Rocky Top

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Enjoy the scenery, but it's nothing more than game No. 2


There's a lot of folks worked up over this upcoming UC and Tennessee tilt and that's a good thing for the Bearcats.


Provident Travel sold out a bus trip and many are making the four-hour (depending on how many fireworks you buy in Jellico) drive to Knoxville to watch UC face an SEC opponent.


My wife's even fired up--particularly at me, because I was a day late in trying to secure her a spot on the previously mentioned bus.  She did most of her undergrad work at Tennessee, then finished up at UC.


She's now a Bearcat and is looking forward to watching them take down a team that used to pack 100,000 plus at Neyland Stadium.


When we were in college, she came up for a UC game against Rutgers in the early 80s.  I mentioned to her the crowd of 15,000 or so wasn't bad.


Having taken in several games at Rocky Top U., she looked at me like I had three eyes.


Attendance-wise, UC's not on the same scale of Tennessee yet, but things are evening out in terms of football.


As for the crowd, it's the only thing to do that day in the entire state and it is the state school.  Knoxville has no pro sports, so a Volunteer home game is a big deal. No other school in the state has that same following. The rest struggle to maintain fans.


Where UC can compete is on the field.  That's exactly why I think this game is no big deal.


The facts


UC got clobbered in 1992 by the Vols 40-0.

Prior to that, the two schools hadn't met since 1942 when Tennessee
blistered the Bearcats 34-12.


I wasn't on the radio crew when Tim Murphy coached, but covered them close enough to know him pretty well.


Back then, the picture of UC merely playing at Neyland Stadium was displayed proudly in his office and was used as a recruiting tool.


Johnny Majors was still Tennessee's coach, with future SEC coaches Phil Fulmer and David Cutcliffe as assistants.  Heath Shuler was the Tennessee quarterback before going on to a mediocre NFL career and then politics.




UC then had no conference or bowl ties. "Hanging" with a quality opponent was considered good (UC had begun the season with a 24-20 loss to Penn State at Nippert).


A year later, a representative from the Poulan Weedwacker Independence Bowl would come to look at Murphy's team that finished 8-3 and left unimpressed when about "15 and change" showed up for a game against Memphis.


That's how far UC's come.  In the recent BCS race, the Bearcats have been and the Vols have faltered.


Back in the day, Tennessee's archrival was Alabama.  They didn't much like Georgia either.



(Courtesy of www.frumpzilla.com)

Now, UT's hired Dave Hart from Alabama as their AD and their coach is the son of the legendary Vince Dooley from Georgia.  At least one of the UGA's must be rolling in his grave!


Enough embellishing, what about the game?


I don't think for a moment that UC will put up 72 on Tennessee or that Tennessee will smoke the Bearcats 40-zip again.


Regardless of recent changes, the Vols still attract top notch talent and their atmosphere will be the best UC will see all year.


However, the Vols are still young and the coach still doesn't have the track record that the folks around the Smokies are used to. (He is to be commended though for lasting longer than noted scoundrel Lane Kiffin.)


Tennessee struggled to 6-7 last season (yes, they sadly played a bowl game with a .500 record).  If not for winning all of their November games, they wouldn't have even got that far.  Let the record show, the November schedule of Memphis, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Kentucky wasn't exactly "murderer's row" by SEC standards.


My oldest son is getting a Master's degree at UAB and works with their football team. The Blazers were sub .500 in 2010 also, but took the Volunteers to double overtime before falling 32-29 last season.

In the loss, they outgained Tennessee on the ground and through the air.


I watched several of UAB's games and saw them in practice recently.  I also watched several of Tennessee's games.


Based on what I see (which won't get me on ESPN Gameday anytime soon because I'm not a pretty boy or girl and won't wear a stinky mascot head) UC's talent, at the very least, is on par with Tennessee's.


Personally, they're better than UAB and Tennessee.


So, as big of a win as it sounds, UC should approach this game with the attitude that Tennessee should be in awe of them, and not vice versa. (Much like South Florida should look at Notre Dame in the rear view mirror.)


Kenbrell Thompkins should have a fun day.  This is the team that sidelined his college career by a year because they wouldn't release him from his scholarship.


Lane Kiffin was able to bolt in the dark of night, but Thompkins was held
contractually hostage by the unfair policies of college athletics.


I look forward to Zach Collaros and KT hooking up in the creamsicle checkerboard endzone. 


I look forward to Isaiah Pead chewing up yards while Vol fans are searching
frantically for that flask of Jack Daniel's they snuck in.


I look for a routine win, a small dosage of hillbilly music in between, and all eyes forward on bigger and better games.


Silence the banjos!

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LoL Scott that was a pretty funny read. Lots of wishful thinking my man. UT was 2 plays from being 8-5 last year and had LSU and UNC on the ropes the entire game. UC never came close to beating a team with a .300 or greater season.

To think UC has talent anywhere close to UT's is just plan on crazy. You gotta do more research my man. Go to any recruiting service and look at UT's current depth chart and what they were rated out of high school and then do the same for UC. While young 90% of UTs starters had offers to play at UF, Bama, LSU, Auburn, etc. Their o line avgs 315 lbs compared to UC's d line who averages 270.

Everyone thinks because UT is currently a middle of the pack SEC team they are somehow bad. You do realize that the upper part of the SEC pack is typically rated between #15 and #1. You also might want to note that a gentlemen who knows a heck of a lot more about football than you or I, one Phil Steele, said he thinks it will be UT or Bama who emerges as the SEC contender for the BCS NC game next year. It's going to be fun watching you guys get destroyed this weekend. I've never seen so much smack talk from a 4 win team in my life.

Lol waiting on approval. Bet you don't have the sack to post my original comment. Just make sure your thinking of me when UT is stomping your ass off this weekend bro.

After we beat you beloved "xxxxx" cats....I hope you have the xxxxx to admit this was nothing more than you looking for some attention you stupid xxxx.

This might be the xxxxxxxxx article about a football game I have ever read... and I'm a bearcat fan.


At least you don't claim to be objective. I guess that's a plus. From a fan's perspective it's fairly decent, but definitely not a journalist's article.

James B.

I don't have anything agaist uc matter of fact cincy is more like a southern city than most places in Ohio. Very courteous friendly people. But obviously Scott is some closet osu fan taking out his frustrations through this opportunity with uc.


Scott; even though I disagree with most of what you wrote, and question the accuracy of the details, I still enjoyed the read. I think it will be a fairly close game and either team will have a good chance to win it at the end. I hope all the Bearcat fans making the trip down to God's Country enjoy your trip and the atmosphere.


As a UT fan, I enjoyed the article, and the humor, and the optimism. I can't believe how nasty the comments get so quickly. Hopefully, as a writer, you are used to it. Wishing the Bearcats a (otherwise) successful season.

I think UT will put up 40+ tomorrow, not sure uc can score that much against ut.

scott...i think you are wrong...vols should win...if you get to town early enough let's get in some golf together...by the way bruce pearl lied and deserved to be fired...

Nothing wrong with a bit of trash talk before game time in my opinion. however, I would like to point out that Thompkins was the only one to fault for the delay in his release. He did not receive Coach Dooley in a manner in which an adult should act. also, it's program policy(as is in 99% of all programs) to not release kids to transfer to teams on the schedule within the players career. The situation could have been handled better on Thompkins' end. So his attempts to push blame on everyone but himself are juvenile to put it mildly.

But hey, it's Friday and we've only but 27 hours until kickoff. Will be fun to finally settle all of this on the field. I feel confident that Tennessee has the horses to win by multiple scores and keep the Cincy offense off the field. Due to the ungodly storm of last week in Knoxville most of the pregame festivities were canceled, so this week is somewhat of a redo and the crowd and atmosphere should be unreal.

good luck to all the bearcats and their fans.


Glad you have been to Knoxville before and glad you will be able to get out of town easily as you and the Bearcats depart looking in the rearview mirror of despair gloom and agony.

"UC should approach this game with the attitude that Tennessee should be in awe of them" ok admit it you were smoking something banned in Kentucky when you wrote this right?

This will be a good game however but you are an idiot trying to compare YEARS of EXCELLENCE versus some bottom feeder BIG EAST team with South Fla. being the only team with any talent in the last 5+ years.. Talk trash about "Rocky Top Hill" Cinnci is spending their entire savings to come to Knoxville its the biggest game in SCHOOL HISTORY the times they have come to Neyland.. Why doesn't he ask himself why has the GREAT Cinnci come to Knoxville now 3 times and UT has not gone there ONCE!!????!!! You know why that is bc WE ARE WHO WE ARE!!! YOU COME TO US!!! GO VOLS!! I hope we score 70+ on their ass..

FYI Scott, when TN. went to the first BCS BOWL we won a National Title. Please remind me what the score was when the Bearcats played in the BCS games ? Didn't think you would talk about that in your post. Tn shut it down after half time last week, you guys won't be that lucky. Go Big Orange !

We just saw why you're not on Gameday. It ain't because you're ugly. It's because you're not much of an analyst. The Bearcats got treated like that girl from Rocky Top.

Hey captain douche bag, yall got OWNED... SEC is your daddy, tell Kenbrell he's a fool for picking Cincinnati lol, VFL!! MEANS SOMETHING BOOM

The Vols were in awe of how bad the UC secondary was. Bray could have thrown for 600 yards if the coaches would have let him but luckily for you guys they felt kinda bad for the Bearcats so they removed his foot from y'alls throat.

Well, Scott, this column was a giant waste of your time, wasn't it? "Routine win?" Really, really solid analysis on your part. I'd keep going but I'm pretty sure you watched the game today. HAHAHAHA

Tennessee in awe of Cincinnati?

We laughed about this before the game, and we're still laughing.

Tyler Bray says Scoreboad B***h

Just another routine day for UC today.... hahaha

Good call. What are your picks for next week, wise one? Haha. I kid, though you do sound like a total xxx. We aren't all hillbillies; that's a very narrow cultural view you have. I've met quite a few challenged individuals from Ohio, but I don't classify them all as dumbxxxes.

As for the game, take out those two fourth downs, and it is a much closer game.

I bet Thompkins had a great day. I can imagine the regret that clown has knowing he could be catching passes from the best QB in the country. Good job clown, now go apply for the comics department where you belong.

Your right Scott, it was a routine day for UC... Getting that xxx beat! GO VOLS!!!!!!

Hey Scott,
Just to let you know I enjoyed my Jack Daniels I snuck in while watching the Vols destroy UC while listening to our "hillbilly" music. Let me know if your fellow UC fans enjoyed the fireworks they bought in Jellico along with the ones that were shot off at the stadium after all the touch downs we scored on your bearcats!!!

UC might not get that many to attend at home, but, you guys represented yourselves well in Neyland.

IMO, UC is a pretty good team, will win more than they lose. Very good O, mediocre D.

Pead is the best TB I've seen since Trent Richardson. NFL type there.

Personally, I was impressed with UT's defense after the first quarter.

BTW, I have family in Columbus and I was sort of surprised this summer at the intensity of support, Buckeye fans are definitely intense about their team.


lifelong Tn fan in south carolina here ( I was actually born in Cincy in '80)...

no need to pile on more than others have

I was very impressed with Cincy's offense and I could see UC making a bowl game this year for sure... not many teams will be able to stop that offense

thanks for putting up with some saucy smack from our fans

I understand you taking us lightly but come on man its 2011 the comments about our fans are a little childish for an accomplished writer.

Scott, I am sure you will agree that crow is about the most tastesless dish in the world.
Several points for you to consider. The bearcats were a much better team than I thought they would be. I think the coaching on the part of CU was really bad in many instances. Had it not been for that I think it would have been a much closer game. I look for UC to have a very good year. I also thinki you have handled yourself very well in your responses to the drubbing that the bearcats took. Best of luck to you and the bearcats in the future. Grandpa

Where are all the Tennessee fans after a drubbing to Florida? Scott, way to handle a poor representation of a great fan base.