A good April Fools Day headline must be, on some remote level, believable, yet ridiculous all the same. It needs to be something that doesn't make sense, but you can't rule it out with complete certainty, forcing you to put your faith and trust in the writer of said article. Well, as I'm sure you are well aware of by now, those headlines are running rampant across the internet and your social media.
While I'd love to dive in on the action, I found myself realizing that Cincinnati fans have seen a whole lot of the outlandish and foolishness already. From ridiculous losses to fascinating situations, Cincinnati fans have been living a fandom worthy of its fair share of headlines normally reserved for today.
While I'm sure you've see plenty of the fake "Tommy Tuberville Fired After Feeding Jello to Bats at the Zoo" headlines, it dawned on me that Cincinnati fans don't have to get too creative for some outlandish, "April Fools worthy" headlines, and unfortunately for UC fans, they're all true.
So, let's dive into a particularly painful athletics year for the Bearcats and all the ridiculous, hardly believable things that happened.
1. Cincinnati football doesn't compete in AAC play
If I had told you at the start of the 2015 football season that Cincinnati would finish 4-4 in the "lowly" AAC, you would have checked for the April Fools disclaimer, but alas, it was a very true reality for the Bearcats.
Certainly the preseason expectations were, in part, because we were fascinated with the talent offensively and doubted the ceiling of the teams across the conference, but hey, we weren't the only ones to feel good about Cincinnati's chances. After all, Cincinnati was voted nearly an unanimous favorite to represent the East division in the AAC Championship Game. Then again, UCF received the other vote, so what did anyone know?
2. Backup quarterback sets school-record for passing yardage in three quarters - Cincinnati still loses
A Gunner Kiel injury left Cincinnati with redshirt freshman Hayden Moore at the helm, after he played a little shaky in injury relief against Miami (OH) the week prior. Although many UC fans felt the game was over with Kiel's departure, Moore came in and really dominated much of the game.
Caught in a shootout with Memphis' Paxton Lynch, Moore set the school-record with 557 passing yards to go along with four touchdowns. He also threw two picks, with the second being the most costly in the 53-46 loss.
3. Cincinnati outplays Miami (FL), but struggles with Miami (OH)
Miami (OH) is, technically, a rival, although the series between the RedHawks and Bearcats has hardly been competitive in years. Meanwhile, the other Miami from Florida provided a marquee (at least based on name recognition) opponent for Cincinnati to play in primetime for the national audience.
While Cincinnati barely pulled out a 37-33 win on the road against the RedHawks in Week 3, the Bearcats came to play, largely controlling the game against the Hurricanes, en route to a convincing 34-23 win at Nippert Stadium. We could certainly dive into the many reasonings behind the outcomes, but at the end of the day, it was the RedHawks who offered a greater challenge than the Hurricanes, which would pass for an April Fools story.
4. Cincinnati turns the ball over less than only UCF, Hawaii and Maryland
Cincinnati's 7-6 (4-4) season was characterized by mistakes and, in particular, turnovers. Looking for a telling statistic? Cincinnati lost 33 turnovers over the course of the season. Only UCF (33), Hawaii (34) and Maryland (36) were as bad or worse. They went a combined 6-31.
This is a headline that would have stuck out on a day like today as a misleading headline, but in the case of Cincinnati's 2015 football season, it's a painful, and ridiculous, reality.
5. Six of 11 losses are by two points or less.
Cincinnati basketball, while having more success overall, had a continuation of the heartbreak and April Fools worthy headlines, like how the Bearcats lost six of their 11 losses by two or more points, not including the 4OT loss to UConn in the AAC Conference Tournament or a four-point loss to Memphis.
Not many other schools had the heartbreak Cincinnati had over the course of the season in tight spots.
6. Troy Caupain scores 37 points and Cincinnati loses
This follows the same train of thought from the Memphis football game above; a player stepped up in a huge way for a huge game and, yet, Cincinnati still fell. This is a noteworthy April Fools headline because the whole idea of UC basketball is that if they could manufacture points, they would win more often because of the quality of their defense.
7. Cincinnati loses because they didn't dunk fast enough
This is pretty self-explanatory. If I posted an article on April 1st with this headline in a reality where the Octavius Ellis "late-dunk" doesn't occur, you would immediately assume it was a joke, right?
8. Mick Cronin strongly considers leaving Cincinnati
This is somewhat in line with the "____ coach is leaving to coach at ____" April Fools format you see today, but for Cincinnati, the outlandish nearly did occur. Cronin, a Cincinnati native who has said Cincinnati is his dream job, was linked, and courted, by UNLV over a week span and there were moments where his departure looked like a real possibility. With his background and his connections to the area, this most certainly would qualify as an outlandish headline that might have worked for an April Fools article... if it hadn't already happened.