It is, without a doubt, the most annoying part of the Cincinnati fan base. Going onto a UC message board or perusing twitter in the wake of a loss is a journey into the very heart of negativity. This time I saw plenty of "fans" vow to never again attend a bowl game, or buy season tickets, or renew their season tickets because in the future. Because the AAC sucks or, the bowl tie ins suck, or that the program is somehow headed in the wrong direction after a 9-4 season. In what universe does any of that make sense?
That this year did not go to plan is obvious. The plan was to roll through an easy non conference schedule setting up a winner take all showdown in the Keg of Nails. For a variety of reasons that didn't happen. A rash of injuries on parallel with 2010, chronically slow starts to games, one phenomenal game plan from Illinois offensive coordinator Bill Cubit, a meltdown of the first order in Tampa and Teddy Bridgewater doing Teddy Bridgewater things making the difference in the final Keg of Nails. So, what do we have for this disaster of a year? A 9-4 record and a depth chart that barring injury will be in much better shape next August than it was this August.
The hurricane of negativity is inescapable, but it isn't logical. I have a friend who has been a season ticket holder since we graduated in 2010. In talking to him about the season last night he mentioned that he doesn't think he is going to get season tickets for next season, and probably not in the years after next. When asked why he said it was because he doesn't want to see any of the teams that UC is playing. Whatever UC's home schedule winds up being it won't move the meter for him and his wife.
That is, unfortunately a very common attitude among the newer UC fans, and it is a big problem. This is the golden age of UC football, that is beyond dispute, and yet there are multi year season ticket holders who aren't going to renew because there "isn't anyone on the schedule worth seeing." That isn't the majority of the season ticket holders, but from what I hear in emails from readers, and the general internet chatter that is a significant subset of UC consumers.
At this point shouldn't we be beyond going to UC games to see teams other than the Bearcats? This is a program that has played the best football in program history over the last decade. But for a large group of supposed fans they won't go see UC next year, or the year after that because they won't play anyone "good". And by good, I mean a team that your mom has heard of. That is where we are at now, which is really sad.
However, if word broke tomorrow that the Big 12 or the ACC was expanding, and that the Bearcats are likely to get an invite that subset of fans would disappear over night. The hole in the logic of that particular group of people is immense. They won't support UC now that they are in a "bad" conference, but they will support the program if UC is in a "good" conference. The problem is that their demonstrated lack of interest in the Bearcats while in the non power 5 conference makes an invite to a power 5 conference less likely to occur the longer the Bearcats are stuck in the AAC. As of now the Bearcats are in the American for the foreseeable future.
To some the AAC is a death sentence. The one thing that is finally going to send the program back from whence it came. Back to the days of 7-5 or 6-6 being a good season. I just don't see that, I see a conference that gives the Bearcats a chance to be at or near the top of group of 5 schools most years, a much more robust non conference schedule going forward that will give the Bearcats chances make statements in most years, should they win. A chance to make the Bearcats an attractive option to a conference in the market for expansion.
No, that is not ideal, but is where Cincinnati is right now the sooner all of us realize the only thing we as fans can do to influence circumstances is by showing up to games, and giving our money. Refusing to spend money because of the current circumstances will only ensure that those circumstances become permanent.