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The Top 10 Stories of the Year at Down the Drive Part One

Here’s what got everybody going in 2017.

NCAA Basketball: Southern Methodist at Cincinnati David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

With just a week left until 2018 starts and 2017 recedes back into our collective memory bank, its about time to look back one last time at the year that was in Cincinnati Bearcats sports. The year started with Luke Fickell putting his stamp on the football program, continued with the best finish record-wise of any Mick Cronin team and here we are once again touting Fickell for his staff’s excellent recruiting. In between, the women’s basketball team finished at or above .500 for the first since the 2011-12 season while the baseball team had its largest win total since 2011.

Before we get to the list, here are the rules. Each story had to have been published after Jan. 1, 2017. Full pages, story streams and more perfunctory posts (How to Watchs) were excluded. That’s it. To the rankings!

10. Cumberland Proving to be Legit

Date published: Jan. 4

Synopsis: Jarron Cumberland was blossoming as the basketball season hit the midway mark.

Excerpt: During this recent hot streak, Cumberland has served notice to the rest of the American Athletic Conference that he is a player to be reckoned with. He has won the league’s Rookie of the Week honor twice in the last three weeks and you can just ask Tulane whether or not he can ball.

9. Opponent Preview: East Carolina Pirates

Date published: Jul. 27

Synopsis: Breaking down one of the few teams UC beat in 2016 in preparation for the 2017 season. An oversight (which was later corrected) involving Jimmy Williams may have sparked some visits as well.

Excerpt: The only thing holding the Pirates together last season was Zay Jones and even he couldn’t make the team avoid disaster completely. Obviously Montgomery has a lot of work to do in year two but I’m not sure he can do it without Jones.

8. Fresh Meat: Assessing the Handsomeness of College Football’s 20 New Head Coaches

Date published: Mar. 30

Synopsis: Clayton ranks the new coaching hires for the 2017 college football season based on aesthetics.

Excerpt: 15. Luke Fickell, Cincinnati: Equinely Cena-esque. Not fetching but clearly fecund.

7. Bearcats Land Four-Star PG Logan Johnson

Date published: Sept. 14

Synopsis: The headline pretty much sums it up. Mick Cronin and his staff landed a commitment from four-star point guard Logan Johnson.

Excerpt: Since Luke Fickell was hired, we’ve talked a lot about his ability to turn around the recruiting for the Cincinnati Bearcats. However, its high time we are reminded that Mick Cronin and his staff know their way around the recruiting trail as well.

6. AAC Women’s Basketball Tournament Preview

Date published: Mar. 2

Synopsis: Clayton broke down the field in the American Athletic Conference women’s basketball tournament, but let us know that it was UConn’s event to win.

Excerpt: The Bearcats are a feisty, intense team led by juniors and seniors. Shanice Johnson, Ana Owens and Bianca Quisenberry are among the best at their positions in the conference and have had few bad games. If UC can return to midseason form, they can play with anyone in this conference, except UConn.

Check back tomorrow for the rest of the rankings.