Happy New Year! As we close out 2015 and beckon in 2016, I wanted to offer our readers a glimpse back at our most popular pieces from the last year and maybe offer a sort of walk down memory lane, revisiting some of the big games, the big moments and events from Cincinnati athletics in 2015.
Using a list of page views, dating back to January 1, 2015, I have found and listed below Down the Drive's most visited stories of 2015.
10. Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Temple Owls: Game Preview - Our 10th ranked post from 2015 is the Cincinnati vs. Temple football game preview from September. Cincinnati would go on to drop their first game of their 7-6 campaign to the Owls, losing 34-26 behind five Bearcats turnovers.
9. Cincinnati Bearcats 2015 Nippert Stadium Renovation Expansion - This isn't so much a "post" as opposed to a frequently visited section of Down the Drive. The Nippert renovation was a major storyline for Cincinnati fans throughout the summer, culminating with a football season with an electric atmosphere, made possible by the rowdy Bearcats fans.
8. Ranking the Schedule: #3 Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes - My "Ranking the Schedule" series was part of our preseason football season coverage and the most frequently visited of the pieces was my Hurricanes piece. Despite some strong comments from Hurricanes fans, Cincinnati ultimately backed up my preseason analysis with a 34-23 win over Miami (Fla.).
7. Sean Kilpatrick Deserves a NBA Contract - Former Cincinnati great Sean Kilpatrick was an All-American in his final year as a Bearcat, but is still seeking an extended stay with an NBA team. This piece from July was based on a dominating performance in the NBA Summer League and how NBA execs need to open their eyes to what he can offer. To this point, Kilpatrick is in the NBA D-League, still killing it with the Delaware 87ers.
6. Hawaii Bowl Preview: Cincinnati Bearcats vs. San Diego State Aztecs; Tough Matchups for Cincy - In terms of page views, our Hawaii Bowl Preview was one of most viewed articles of 2015. The preview itself served as a word of caution for the matchup against the San Diego State Aztecs. Still, I didn't expect the 42-7 Cincinnati loss to close out the season.
5. Clippers get what they need in Former Bearcat Lance Stephenson - Another former Bearcat in the NBA was the subject of conversation for us here at Down the Drive in late-July/early-August when Lance Stephenson found a new home with the Los Angeles Clippers.
4. Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Temple Owls: Television, Radio, & How to Watch Online - Yes, I'm including a "How to Watch" post in our 2015 review. The Week 2 clash with the Owls was, if you remember, one of the most exciting weeks of the year in terms of excitement and hype. Both teams entered the game with lofty postseason aspirations and were both 1-0. It also didn't hurt that the newly renovated Nippert Stadium was hosting the big-time clash. This is our most viewed "How to Watch" post of 2015.
3. Game Preview: Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Memphis Tigers; Watch Out for Memphis' Paxton Lynch - Following a hard-fought on the road against the Miami (OH) RedHawks, Cincinnati traveled down the Memphis, Tenn. to take on the Tigers on a weekday primetime matchup. Gunner Kiel suffered a scary injury and redshirt freshman Hayden Moore came in to pass for a school-record 557 yards in a 53-46 loss. As far as the preview is concerned, Paxton Lynch proved to be one of the best quarterbacks Cincinnati faced in 2015 with 412 passing yards, two touchdowns and 52 rushing yards.
2. The Miami Dolphins Will Be Happy They Signed Jeff Luc - The 2015 NFL Draft didn't see any Cincinnati red and black taken amongst the 256 players to be drafted. However, Cincinnati did have a couple players picked up as undrafted free agents, including bull-dozer Jeff Luc at the linebacker position by the Miami Dolphins. Our second most viewed article from 2015 also happens to be my first post here at Down the Drive, where I spoke about what Luc had the potential to offer the Dolphins with the signing. Unfortunately, Luc didn't make the regular season roster and is currently a free agent. That said, Miami is 5-10, sooo... maybe they should have kept Luc (I'm like half joking).
1. Octavius Ellis And The Thug Athlete Narrative - The number one post from 2015 is this reaction from the Octavius Ellis ejection against Purdue last March. Matt Opper provided a refreshing response to those who defaulted to the "Ellis is a thug" narrative in response to his latest transgression, cautioning people to consider the entire story before applying labels.