First, let's keep it real, Louisville is the main reason for the knot in my throat right now. Because it's a program that I have grown to hate and admire all at the same time with Miami Ohio being the number one hated team to me.
Louisville follows a close second. I can't tell you how much I wanted to beat them during my playing days at UC because they always looked at us as a joke and losing to us would be worse than losing to UK. I was fortunate to beat the Cards my sophomore year 30-7. I for one probably wanted to see the Keg of Nails back in the UC trophy case more than the current players because I know the history and the shadow that UC has been under in this series.
On the other hand, what they have accomplished has to be admired for a second because their success is where UC wants to be. But okay, enough of that talk, can you believe I actually gave UL some props?
That is the last time that will happen!
The Cats are in position now to fly 'under the radar' if you will because now the pressure is off. No more talk about an undefeated season, no more talk about the nations' second longest winning streak, no more nationwide press doing stories on UC. All the Cats have now are the coaches and those 100 or more players on that team.
This is a very good thing for UC that it's happening now in their schedule. Think of what the first loss of the season would have been like later on in the year. It could have been devastating for this team to recover from because as the wins would have been mounting, so would the pressure to keep winning.
Ask Rutgers what the loss to UC a year ago did to their mental state. The Cats can control their own destiny by winning their remaining BE games and finishing 11-1. Is this goal realistic? Yes, but the Cats have to really buckle down and play good football the rest of the way because their margin for error is really slim.
The remaining schedule favors UC as the team will travel to Pitt who they should drill, and then the next biggest game of the year allows the Bearcats two weeks to get ready for USF before returning home to sold out crowds at Nippert Stadium against Connecticut and West Virginia before closing the season on the road at Syracuse. It all lines up for UC to accomplish their "Main" goal of winning the Big East if they take care of business. I know what you are thinking, Louisville beat us and if they run the table they will win the Big East, true but that won't happen. Louisville was playing for their lives Saturday and they still have a few losses left in them so I don't worry about them. Their defense is still not that good and UC could have ripped them even more if it had not been for those turnovers.
At 6-1, the Cats are exceeding all of our expectations because nobody thought that they would be this good after seven games. Brian Kelly can use this loss as an example of what happens to teams, let alone a ranked team, that does not play its best each and every game. Sure, the Cats played hard and you always expect them to do that but doing the little things right can keep you winning.
Look at this as a crossroads for the program. Last year Louisville still won the Big East even after losing to Rutgers on the road, so it can be done. The fact that UC is in this position should excite all Bearcat fans that follow the program. Now let's wait and see how this team will respond. Will they fold their tents? Not likely! I expect this team to be extremely upset and focused this week and take out their frustrations on a struggling Pitt team who barely has a pulse. If the Cats do that, they will start a new streak and the Louisville loss will be a distant memory.
Rome wasn't built in a day and this program has to keep building the foundation brick by brick by brick, BK will see to that.