What a tough time to be a University of Cincinnati sports fan this past weekend. First UC football loses convincingly to Rutgers putting their Big East title hopes on fountain square's ice rink; and with excitement running high going into a year fresh off their first NCAA tournament appearance under Mick Cronin, the basketball team loses a guaranteed win to Presbyterian at home.
I honestly don't know which one hurts their sports program more. While I think many would say the basketball loss hurts more I think you could have a point but, West Virginia lost at home to Northern Kentucky and Pitt lost to Long Beach State. All three games were written down as wins as soon as they were scheduled. But these days kids aren't in awe of program names or players like they use to be. They realize lots of players and programs are only good on paper but more even on the court than many would care to admit simply because the AAU circuit allows these guys to face each other for years eliminating the mystique.
In football I honestly thought the Bearcats would play Rutgers tougher than they did and that Munchie Legaux would play better but that didn't happen either. As a result a season that started out full of optimism and got stronger with each win is potentially going to vanish into thin air. Yes we all realize losing Zach Collaros was the X factor but I guess I just expected more from the defense since Collaros never played on that side of the ball.
This is one of those weekend that will chase fair weather fans right out of the ball park and/or arena because they look at this as the apocalypse of UC sports but in reality it was just one bad weekend of sports; one I'd like to soon forget.
UC basketball has chance at redemption against Northwestern State and they should be made to pay dearly. As Mick said in his post game show, this team was setting themselves up for a bad loss and he tried his best to avoid it. In the end it could be the best thing to happen to this team going into the real part of their schedule. As far as UC football is concerned Coach Jones will find out who wants to mail it in as a sign of frustration and who wants to rise above the tide and hold tight to the belief that any chance is a real chance. I would love to have been in Coach Cronin's practice after the loss and peek into Coach Jones' practice this week. I assure you it won't be pleasant for players on either side but it's a necessary evil to rid themselves of lackluster performances.
What a great opportunity for UC players to make a statement about pride in their sport and their respective programs. The fans deserve better and the university deserves better. But more important than that, the players owe each other an apology for not respecting their craft.
That's the way I see it, sitting in The Box Seat.