The first round of the Favorite Cincinnati Bearcat Football Player Since 1997 Tournament was expected to have some obvious winners moving onto the second part of the tourney. The degree of difficulty will increase as the pool of players shrinks, but the first round has the more clear winners. That’s what we found yesterday when Mike Mickens, Zach Collaros and Gino Guidugli cruised into the second round of the Brian Kelly region. But the first round of the Mark Dantonio region had a matchup that was as hard-fought as any in the history of this prestigious tournament. We’ll get to that in a bit, but first, a look at the updated bracket.
The battle, and I mean battle, between Marquise Copeland and Jordan Stepp was something to behold. Despite a week’s worth of voting, the two players each received 50 percent of the vote in their matchup, which forced me to turn to the most democratic of means to decide a victor: a Twitter poll. I know the founding fathers would be proud. Here are the results of said poll, where Copeland dominated much more than in the original voting.
After a week of voting, we have a tie in the Mark Dantonio region of the Favorite Cincinnati Bearcat Football Player Since 1997 Tournament, so its Twitter poll time. Who is your favorite player between the two?— Down the Drive (@downthedrive) May 2, 2018
Elsewhere, Chris Moore and Max Morrison both represented well for the wide receiver contingent of former Bearcats, with Moore ousting Gunner Kiel and Morrison taking down Alex Pace. If Kiel had put forth three years like the one he had in 2014, this probably would have gone the other way.
I was surprised by the overwhelming wins by Terrill Byrd and Derek Wolfe. Byrd defeated Terrell Hartsfield, who was a first-team All-American Athletic Conference player in 2014. While Byrd is in the top 10 in tackles for loss and sacks in program history and a deserved winner, I thought Hartsfield would get more love.
Speaking of all-time sack leaders, Wolfe is fourth in program history, but I thought DeMarco McCleskey, a guy who scored 41 touchdowns in his career, would advance. Of course, my own bias might be showing there.
Round Two Matchups
Terrill Byrd vs. Derek Wolfe
Wolfe has more all-time sacks (19.5 to 16.5). Byrd has more tackles for loss (42.0 to 37.0). What is more important to you, dear reader?
JK Schaffer vs. Marquise Copeland
Schaffer was named UC’s most outstanding linebacker in 2010 and 2011. Copeland doesn’t have those type of honors, but he is a budding star for the current Bearcats, having recorded 63 tackles, 8.0 for loss and 3.5 sacks last season. He also wasn’t charged for assault, breaking and entering and public indecency.
Kevin Huber vs. Dominick Goodman
A punter got 86 percent of the vote in his first round matchup. I’m not sure what that says about UC as a program, but that’s how Huber got here. Goodman finished with 3,732 career all-purpose yards compared to 1,077 from Kenbrell Thompkins, whom Huber beat in round one.
Chris Moore vs. Max Morrison
Eli Apple probably isn’t excited that Moore advanced to the second round. Moore and Morrison played together from 2013 to 2015. Moore had more yards (2,301 to 1,522) and touchdowns (26 to 10) while Morrison caught more passes (126 to 119).
What a first round. Let’s see how the second plays out. Voting starts now.