Before 1997, the Cincinnati Bearcats had never played in a modern bowl game. Then, during that 1997 campaign, the fourth of the Rick Minter era, the Bearcats went 7-4 in the regular season and defeated the Utah State Aggies 35-19 in the 1997 Humanitarian Bowl. At 8-4, the Bearcats finished with their best record in four years and just their second eight-win or better campaign since 1976.
Including that 1997 campaign, the Bearcats’ football program has undergone some seismic changes in the last 20 years, changing conferences twice and even reaching to the peaks of the bowl hierarchy. The Bearcats have played in 14 bowl games and had a winning record 14 times in that time. Along the way, there have been hundreds of players who have strapped on the red and black. But which ones stand out above the rest?
That brings us to this year’s offseason tournament. A year ago, we determined that Kenyon Martin was the all-time favorite Cincinnati Bearcats men’s basketball player. This year, we’re doing something similar, just substitute football for basketball.
Just like last year, I have compiled a 64-player bracket, with help from the fine readers on Twitter dot com which you can peruse below. Remember, this is about who your favorite player is, not the best. You’ll notice there are no seeds in this tournament, which was done on purpose. Take time to soak these in because tomorrow we’re going to get started with the first round.
Brian Kelly Region
Editor’s note: Haruki Nakamura’s name was misspelled in the original post. The error has been corrected.
Mark Dantonio Region
Rick Minter Region
Editor’s note: After a grievous mistake by our crack editorial team (aka me), the community responded and demanded that Tinker Keck be added to the bracket. He has replaced Marcus Barnett on the Rick Minter region.