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Monday Musings - Great to be a Bearcat

It was a successful weekend for Cincinnati football and volleyball and basketball begins this week.

Tulsa v Cincinnati Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

“Survive and advance”

This is a basketball phrase, referring to the NCAA Tournament, but I feel like it applies for football in the case of the 2019 Cincinnati Bearcats. The Bearcats are playing for the American Athletic Conference championship and cannot afford to lose a game. They almost lost on Saturday, to a feisty East Carolina team, but in the end, Cincinnati prevailed and won 46-43.

Amazing, it was the 3rd time in 6 AAC meetings Cincinnati won on a last second field goal.

Bearcats surrendered 650 yards of offense to ECU, gave up season-high 43 points, committed 12 penalties, and trailed by 12 points with 8 minutes to go. And, oh by the way, WON THE GAME.

How? Great question, complicated answer.

Recap of Cincinnati’s incredible victory

Bowl projections

  • CBS - Birmingham Bowl vs Duke
  • ESPN - Cotton Bowl vs Oregon, Liberty Bowl vs Texas
  • SB Nation - Birmingham Bowl vs Duke

Respect the GOAT

I have mentioned this before - Jordan Thompson is the best volleyball player in the world. Not in college. Not among women. The best in all of the world.

Her senior night game was a day to remember. She shattered the Cincinnati and AAC record with an absurd 50 kills. That’s the most by any player in 20 years and the first time since September 1999. 50 kills is also the 7th most all time in NCAA Division 1 volleyball history. Wow.

Maybe more importantly, Cincinnati beat UConn, winning in 5 sets to improve to 20-5 overall and 11-1 in the AAC.

Bearcats have 4 games remaining, including a big one on Sunday at UCF. On the same day that the football team beat UCF back in October, the volleyball team beat the Knights too. UCF won the AAC last year and currently are tied with Cincinnati at 11-1.

Women’s Soccer Season Ends

Bearcats soccer team suffered a heartbreaking, disappointing defeat in the first round of the AAC Tournament on Sunday. SMU came to Gettler Stadium and won 1-0, scoring in the 51st minute. It was just the second time ever that Cincinnati hosted a tournament game.

The Bearcats finished the 2019 season as the 4th seed in the AAC Tournament and finis with a 7-9-3 record.

Following this loss, Cincinnati is now 1-5 in first round AAC Tournament games.

Basketball Is Here

Basketball season officially tips off this week!

On Tuesday, the women return to the court for year two under head coach Michelle Clark-Heard. Coming off a very successful 24-11 season that ended in the WNIT, Bearcats are thinking even bigger, like NCAA Tournament appearance big!

Catch up on the key returning players, the schedule and much more in preparation for Tuesday’s season opening matchup with Utah.

Women’s Basketball Preview

And then on Wednesday, Cincinnati faces 18th ranked Ohio State for the 12th time in history. This is part two of a home-and-home series, where the Buckeyes beat the Bearcats in the opening game last year.

History of Cincinnati vs Ohio State basketball

Men’s Basketball Preview

Best Case/Worst Case for 2019-20 team

Farewell, Mike Bohn

As everyone knows by now, Mike Bohn, who has been the Cincinnati Athletic Director since 2014, is going to USC to take the same job. All we, as fans, can say to Bohn is thank you!

When Bohn arrived in 2014, Tommy Tuberville was the football coach and the baseball team and women’s basketball teams were both long-suffering programs.

  • He ultimately fired Tuberville after the 2016 season and hired Luke Fickell. Fickell has won 18 of 21 games, including the Bearcats first bowl win since 2012 last year.
  • He fired baseball coach Ty Neal and hire Scott Googins, poaching him from Xavier. That helps knock Xavier down and Googins led the Bearcats to an improbable run in the AAC Tournament, knocking off UConn and going to their first NCAA Tournament since 1950!
  • He fired women’s basketball coach Jamelle Elliott after 9 largely unproductive seasons. The controversy in this firing is that it came on the heals of a WNIT appearance, but it took too long to show progress. She was replaced by Michelle Clark-Heard, who had a successful run at Western Kentucky and led the Bearcats to 24 wins and the Elite 8 of the WNIT last year.
  • Mick Cronin, who led Cincinnati to 9 straight NCAA Tournaments, left for UCLA and was replaced with John Brannen. Hard to judge Brannen fully, as he won’t coach his first official game until later this week, but the early returns have been extremely positive.

In addition to his outstanding coaching hires, he helped secure the funds and plans to renovate Fifth Third Arena which by the way, looks beautiful!

Bohn was fired at Colorado because of his lack of success in hiring coaches. Ironic, no?

He was hired to help get Cincinnati into the Big 12 after his success at Colorado, moving them from the Big 12 to the PAC-12 but obviously was unsuccessful. That’s not necessarily a knock against Bohn though, as realignment is something well out of his control. There’s no doubt he tried, but it takes two to tango, and clearly no one wanted to dance with the Bearcats.

Bohn will be missed and while fans should be very appreciative of the job he did, the school is in a much better place now and the new Athletic Director, whomever he or she may be, will inherit a much better, much cleaner situation and will be set up for immediate success.