One of the shortfalls of college athletics is that there is no trading. Obviously, it would be ethically wrong to have a system like that as at some level being a student athlete still means you have to be a student and being shifted from school to school would fly in the face of that. Plus, even if the transfer market may sometimes seem like a free agent pool, directly trading would never work.
But let’s push all that logic and realism to the side, shall we? The MLB trade deadline is this Monday and its given me the ol’ trading itch. The Cincinnati Bearcats need help if they want to impress in their first season under Luke Fickell so who would make sense to target if college teams were actually allowed to trade? Here are a few trades (using American Athletic Conference teams only) that I think would be somewhat balanced and would still improve UC.
UC trades Hayden Moore, Kevin Mouhon and Tyrell Gilbert to Memphis for Riley Ferguson
There is a quarterback problem at UC. It is not necessarily that the options the Bearcats have are bad, but Ross Trail and Moore just haven’t provided the type of popcorn-popping offensive fireworks that has made UC so fun to watch in the recent past. I’m all-in for a full-fledged return to the air raid under Fickell and not a neutered version or whatever it was the Bearcats pulled out last year.
Ferguson is one of the top quarterbacks in the conference and Memphis is a team on the rise, so pulling him away would take a king’s ransom. That’s exactly what Memphis would be getting in Mouhon and Gilbert with Moore tacked on to give the Tigers someone to start at quarterback. Mouhon is a tackle for loss monster and Gilbert creates turnovers in his sleep, while playing multiple positions. That would really help Memphis, which was actually a less than stellar defensive team last year, and it still probably wouldn’t be enough.
However, if Memphis thought the price was right, on the UC side, getting a quarterback with Ferguson’s skill would mean Devin Gray and Kahlil Lewis wouldn’t have to run routes and pray that passes would come there way. Instead, they would get crisp trhows and the offense could flow through the air, rather than die in the backfield.
UC trades Linden Stephens to Houston for Will Noble
If the plan is to air the ball out, our new QB will need time to throw. As currently constructed, UC’s offensive line leaves a lot to be desired. Will Steur, David Niehaus and Korey Cunningham are fine, but the rest of the group is inexperienced. Noble is projected to be a second-team All-AAC offensive lineman by Athlon Sports. He would not only help keep UC’s quarterback upright, but perhaps keep a lid on the run defense so UC running backs can get free to do damage on the ground.
Now, why would Houston want to do this? Once again, it’s due to a surprising inefficiency on the part of the Cougars, who only had seven interceptions last season. That was as many as UConn so clearly there was something lacking. Meanwhile, UC ranked second in the conference and tied for 11th nationally with 17 picks. Stephens may have only had two of those, but he is a solid cornerback who can cause mistakes. He would team up nicely with safety Garrett Davis. Hmm, maybe we are building a team that would match up too well with our new pass happy Bearcats?
UC trades Mike Boone to UConn for Junior Joseph
Boone had a down year in 2016 but we all know the firepower he has. UConn has an offense that is about as exciting as watching paint dry while listening to someone read the phone book. Boone would add the dash of excitement that could help make the Huskies at least watchable on the offensive side of things, especially when paired up with Arkeel Newsome.
For the Bearcats, there is a big need for a linebacker and Joseph could easily fit into the space left behind by Eric Wilson. Joseph finished with 81 tackles a year ago and UConn can afford to let him go since it would still have Vontae Diggs. As for the Bearcats new defense, Perry Young could now return to the secondary if need be, since Stephens and Gilbert are gone, without leaving the Bearcats with nothing at linebacker.
What this all really highlights is that the Bearcats need a lot of help at quarterback, on the offensive line and at linebacker, but there are obviously other weak points. Too bad they can’t just trade for the solutions.