Illinois is a good team, far better than most experts had predicted. They will have their issues on defense, as any Tim Banks coached defense will, but the combination of Bill Cubit and Nathan Scheelhaase will produce an above average offense at least. That kind of offense should be able to offset the defense enough to get the Illini to a bowl.
Before the season Purdue and Illinois were lumped together as easily conquerable Big 10 teams. Purdue is as advertised, and is a solid bet to get boat raced this Saturday against Notre Dame. But the fact that Illinois is going to be better than expected, and that UC lost to them does not justify the outburst of anger that was so prominently displayed.
What goal that UC had coming into the season is now off the table? None of them is the only serious answer. Everything that was on the checklist in August is still there. UC can still win 10 games. UC can still win the conference and go to a BCS bowl. UC can still find their way back into the polls. Every realistic objective, whether from the fans or the team itself, is still in play.
So why all the hand wringing? The Bearcats can still accomplish a lot this year, at the very least they can maintain the run of success started by Brian Kelly and sort of carried on by Butch Jones. The Illinois game did not expose any festering flaws in this team.
I am not naturally an optimist. It is not my nature to look into dire straits and expect good things to emerge from them. But I simply do not understand the fatalism that Saturday afternoon inspired. As I see it today UC is still going to be fine this year. Or am I the crazy one.