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Monday Musings - Cincinnati Bearcats

Latest thoughts and news on Cincinnati Bearcats football, basketball, volleyball, and soccer.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 04 UCF at Cincinnati Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Football

The football team is 5-1 after a 38-23 victory in Houston on Saturday.

Win over Houston

You can read more about the Bearcats win and check out the 10 key plays that helped guide the Bearcats

XFL Draft

This is a big week for Cincinnati football. Among the many reasons why, the new pro league, the XFL, will conduct their inaugural draft this week and 7 Bearcats are on the draft eligible list.

Rankings

As a result of the win. Cincinnati is now up to #21 in both the AP and Coaches Poll. In 2018, they were ranked as high as #19 at one point and prior to that haven’t been ranked this high since being #21 in 2012.

Cincinnati is one of three AAC teams ranked, joining 5-0 SMU and 5-1 Temple. Temple beat Memphis on Saturday for their second win over a ranked opponent in 2019 (Maryland week 3).

Vegas Messed Up

As noted, Cincinnati now has 5 wins. Prior to the season, several Vegas sports books set the Bearcats over/under win total at 6.5. Some even listed it as 5.5. Cincinnati was coming off an 11 win season, with most of the team coming back, and playing a not that difficult schedule. 7-5, 6-6 would have been disastrous seasons, but also would have won you your bets. 8-4 was what I considered worst case scenario. If you made the over/under bet, you’ll likely cash it in the first weekend of November.

Brian Kelly Returns

The next game is Saturday at 3:30 against Tulsa. At halftime of that game, the 2009 team that went 12-0 in the regular season and won back-to-back Big East titles and made the Orange and Sugar Bowls, will be honored.

That includes former coach Brian Kelly’s return as well. Kelly went 34-6 in three seasons (2007-2009) but left in an extremely messy manner. Look, I was really, really pissed off and angry when he left. Because he left and because of the way he left. And it’s okay if you never forgive him. But understand that Notre Dame is 100 levels above Cincinnati in the college football world. This was a dream job for Kelly and it’s hard to blame him for leaving. Of course, the way he left and the timing is another story and he should be blamed for that.

All this to say, please don’t boo. The man made Cincinnati more than relevant. He put the Bearcats on the national map and they came within 1 second of actually playing for a National Championship. You don’t have to cheer. You don’t have to applaud. But than just stand there. Show him the respect, that I personally believe he deserves.

And then when Cincinnati plays at Notre Dame in 2021, you can boo and hiss and yell whatever words you want at him because they’ll be the enemy that day. He’s not enemy on Saturday.

Volleyball

If you haven’t been paying attention, you really should. And if you live in the Cincinnati area, you should totally check out the ladies in person.

Cincinnati improved to 6-0 in AAC play with the 3 set sweep against Temple on the road. None of the sets were particularly close as Cincy won 25-17, 25-16, and 25-12 to complete the 3-0 victory. Bearcats are now 13-4 overall on the season.

All-world player Jordan Thompson led the team with 19 kills and also added 10 digs. Thompson leads the NCAA in total kills in 2019.

Bearcats have a big week coming up. They play at Tulane on Friday and then on Sunday play at Houston, who is also 6-0 right now. That game could end up having a strong influence on who wins the regular season championship.

Basketball

AAC Media Day for both men’s and women’s hoops takes place in Philly on Monday. Stay tuned to Down the Drive for coverage on twitter and on the site throughout the day.

Men’s hoops officially tips off in 23 days!

The women’s team, coming off a 24 win season, will host Utah at Fifth Third Arena, to open the season in 22 days (Tuesday November 5).

For the men, the expectation is the coaches will rank them in the top 3 in the pre-season poll. They could be as high as 2 with Memphis likely the #1 team and Houston in the mix as well. Wichita State, Temple, South Florida, UConn will all be competitive and in the mix in the AAC as well.

It will be interesting to see where the women rank in the pre-season polls in the AAC. This will be the last year that they have to do with UConn. Entering 2020, perhaps the women can really break out and realistically begin competing for conference titles. A goal that is quite challenging with UConn’s presence.

Soccer

Women

On Sunday, the women beat Tulsa 4-2 to improve to 3-1 in conference play, and are now just 1 game below .500 overall (5-6-2).

Han Tang scored 2 goals in the first 18 minutes (her 4th and 5th goals of the season) to give Cincinnati a nice start and Camryn Hartman increased the score to 3-0 in the 28th minute with her second goal of the season. Libby Greenwell scored her first of the year to conclude the scoring for the Bearcats

Men

The men lost 2-0 at UConn on Saturday and are now 0-2-1 in AAC play and 4-7-1 on the season. Head Coach Hylton Dayes has been at Cincinnati since 2001. The team’s run in 2006, winning the Big East and making the NCAA Tournament, along with earning national rankings within the top 25 was amazing. But beyond that, Dayes’ longevity and occasional big wins is all he really has to show for a 19 year run.

With the way Mike Bohn has hired coaches and the influence and growth of FC Cincinnati in the town, you wonder if at some point in the near future, they will turn the page on Dayes and move on.

Here are the men’s soccer win totals since 2013, when the AAC was officially formed:

  • 2018 - 3-14-1 (1-6)
  • 2017 - 7-9-1 (0-7)
  • 2016 - 9-7-1 (3-4)
  • 2015 - 8-9-3 (1-5-3)
  • 2014 - 7-10-3 (2-6-1)
  • 2013 - 6-14-1 (1-8)