What is the definition of a good athletic program? The number of championships you have? The number of wins against a rival you have? How about, the consistency year in, year out of your football AND basketball teams.
With Louisville and San Diego St. not making the field of 68, just three Division I athletic programs have made the last six straight NCAA Tournaments AND five straight Bowl games. They are Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Cincinnati.
That's impressive. That's more than impressive. That's jealousy across the nation.
Think about the University of Alabama. Fantastic football program. They have won four out of the last seven National Championships. They have had two Heisman Trophy Winners in the last seven years. And Bama has Mr. Saban, arguably the greatest college football coach of all-time.
But let's look what happens after the football season ends. Alabama basketball hasn't made the NCAA Tournament since 2012. Before that it was 2006. Since 2012, they have had a record of 94-73 compared to UC's 120-51. Bama basketball did make a tournament this year, the NIT, as a 5 seed.
How about Kentucky? They are a powerhouse in college basketball. In football? Eh, not so much. Kentucky has only played in a total of 15 bowl games since 1947 and their last bowl game appearance was in 2010. I had a guy recently say to me "you can't honestly tell me your college team is better than Kentucky in the last 10 years." Yeah I can, how did Kentucky do in football last year? Oh 5-7. What about in 2014? 5-7. Yikes! And 2013? ........5-7.
Xavier? Ha, don't even get me started. X's basketball program isn't as hyped up as they lead you to believe. In the last six years, Xavier has made the big dance five times. Cincinnati has made it six times. X has made the sweet 16 twice. So six years, two times. Which is one more than the Bearcats. Sure we can give them that.
But take a closer look. In those two sweet 16 runs, X played #13 seed Georgia State and #15 seed Lehigh in the second round. Don't forget in 2012-2013, they went 17-14 and didn't make the tournament at all. They also got knocked out in the play-in game (which I don't count as "in the tournament") in 2014 against NC State. Cincinnati, on paper, is right up there with Xavier in basketball....oh and WE HAVE A FOOTBALL TEAM AS WELL!
Ultimately fans will spin the facts to make their teams seem more superior, more accomplished. The facts are, UC has one of the most consistent athletic programs in the country. The Cincinnati Bearcats are elite.
Regardless of what Cincinnati does moving forward in this tournament, they are in the big dance, again, as always, representing our amazing college. Wear your Black and Red proud on Friday, Sunday, and next weekend (calling the upset against the ducks), and let people know how great the Cincinnati Bearcats are.