Welcome to the debut of the “anger rankings”, a new weekly column that will cover more than just football, but focus on the sport for this first one.
What are Cincinnati Bearcats fans angry about this week? I took to twitter to ask, specifically, but before that I had a pretty good sense of what topics were getting under people’s skins.
Honorable mentions (as mentioned on twitter) - Jim Harbaugh, beer sold at college games, Tommy Tuberville
Honestly, they haven’t done anything specifically to anger Cincinnati fans in the past week or so, but there is a general, lifelong anger and disdain and I felt they had to be included on the first ever anger rankings.
4. White Helmets
Cincinnati debuted a white helmet in the 2010 Sugar Bowl, a game they lost to Florida. After going 12-0 in black helmets, many fans thought the white helmets were a jinx. There seemed to be a pattern that developed over time, where Cincinnati did lose in those helmets a few times, but also had notable wins such as Purdue in 2012 and UCLA last season. They also beat SMU and UConn wearing white helmets in 2019, so maybe the magic of Luke Fickell can override the helmet curse?
3. Nebraska football
Cincinnati should be ranked. Whether it’s the AP poll, Coaches poll, or the SBNation FanPulse poll, Bearcats deserve more respect nationally. They went 11-2 in 2018 and got 2019 off to a nice start with a win over UCLA week 1. Cincinnati moved up the rankings, but are still on the outside looking in from the “others receiving votes” category. Meanwhile, Nebraska is ranked. The same Nebraska team that went 4-7 in 2019. And 4-8 in 2017. And struggle to put away South Alabama, winning by 7 points in week 1.
You can justify 24/25 ranked teams ahead of Cincinnati. You cannot justify this one.
Also, I think there will forever be anger from Cincinnati fans for the end of the 2009 Big 12 Championship where they were 1 second away from beating Texas and sending Cincinnati to the BCS National Championship game. Payback is coming 9/26/20 at Lincoln.
People are rightfully frustrated at the lack of respect Cincinnati routinely receives. A lot of it stems from the fact that it sometimes seems like “THE school up north 90 minutes away” has more fans in the city of Cincinnati than THE Bearcats do. It’s not true to say that “every Bearcats player wants to be a Buckeye” which is what the Fox announcers said on Saturday during the Ohio State/FAU game. A lot of these guys have willingly chosen to come to Cincinnati and more and more will continue to voluntarily make that decision.
Saturday’s game with Ohio State is not a rivalry for the teams, like coach Fickell said this week. But it’s absolutely a rivalry for fans. Fans of Cincinnati are tired of the Ohio State fans’ arrogance. Tired of seeing Buckeyes shirts on UC campus. Tired of local media covering the Buckeyes like one of their own. Saturday is a chance for the Bearcats to make a STATEment.
1. “Power Five”
This is the one that received the most responses on my twitter survey. And I admit, I am very guilty of referring to the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, and PAC-12 as the “power 5” conferences, which is a totally made up phrase courtesy of ESPN. This phrase has created a major divide in college football. There are these five conferences, aka the only relevant teams and the only ones that matter. Then, there’s everyone else, aka no one cares about you or respects you.
Dan Ryan noted on twitter that, if one of these teams beats a “P5” school, it means that school is down. For example, more people would tell you that UCLA stinks, rather than Cincinnati is good, after week 1.
It sucks, because Cincinnati has been a good, solid team for a while now but doesn’t get the respect they deserve because of their place in the American Athletic Conference. It’s especially frustrating when you consider that Cincinnati is easily better than 20% of those schools (20% would be 13 - any conference should want Cincinnati football over Rutgers, Kansas, Illinois, Oregon State, Vanderbilt, Indiana, Maryland)
Travis Holmes said it best - “I feel like UC is the best kept secret in college sports. It’s a big time university with big time athletics and nobody outside the UC community seems to realize it”
It doesn’t help that conference commissioner Mike Aresco has led a marketing campaign, referring to the AAC as #Pow6r (power 6 conference). The sooner Cincinnati can crawl out of the bottom of the barrel, and get back to the adult table, the sooner this program can really take off to limits never before seen.