Cats' Have Something To Prove In ‘08

Greetings to all Bearcat fans, it's been a long off season. But the season is right around the corner and I have enjoyed chatting about Bearcat football on Bearcat Insider with all UC fans and fans of other programs. Here is the first of many stories for the year and it's "FREE".

This year is the year that the Bearcats can prove to the nation that they have turned the corner and will remain a force to be reckoned with in college football.

I know what Coach Kelly is telling his team, "Last year is over!" That should be the theme for the season this year. Sure, 10-3 was great, winning the PapaJohns.com Bowl was great but that is in the history books and where you build tradition is by returning this year and duplicating or beating your performance from last year.

The transformation is happening all around the program though and it's very fun and exciting to watch. Season ticket sales have gone over 10,000 for the first time ever. More top recruits around the country are taking a very hard look at UC instead of blowing them off as second rate. Commitments for the next recruiting class are filling up by the day and UC will have their first game on ABC @ 3:30 pm., September 6-th against Oklahoma.

These events are happening because of the success the team had in '07, but it will be a lost cause if the Cats don't succeed in '08.

Hey, I am the eternal optimist so I know that UC will be able to duplicate the magic from last year but we live in a ‘what have you done for me lately society' and people only believe in you when you do something consistently. Take Florida State for example, the Seminoles have not been playing up to par for the last three or four seasons but they have had success for so long, people haven't exactly ridden them off completely.

Miami (FL) is in the same situation, somehow I think everyone believes that the Canes will be back and with a recruiting class ranked in the Top 15, I tend to agree with that as well. The formula of success doesn't just happen by talking; it must be proven on the field week after week.

When you have the opportunity to win close games you must do it. When you have the chance to beat ranked teams, it's a must. When you have the overall talent and ability to beat and crush a team that is inferior to you, take care of business. All these things translate into a winning and successful team.

The Big East is going to be tough again this season but the Cats are in a pretty good spot. Having the majority of magazines and experts picking this team to finish no better than 5-th should not only outrage you; but make you happy at the same time.

Remember, these were the same magazines and experts that were picking the Cats to finish sixth of seventh last season, talk about motivation! Being an underdog is lovely and if people want to doubt the Cats again, let them because it will be a much sweeter win when the Cats win the Big East.

Let's not get too overconfident though because I don't think for one moment that anyone in the Big East will take UC lightly, they know the Cats are for real.

A couple of parting thoughts before I end this article, let's be honest, we owe three teams big time this year and they are Pitt, Louisville and West Virginia. If UC wants to win the Big East, these are three teams that they must beat not only to erase past losses but to establish themselves as the team to beat. It will not be fun to lose to any of these teams this year and it would be great beating UL and WVU on the road.

I personally think these conference games are the most important, not because I think the rest of the conference is terrible, I just think that these are going to be the contenders this year and if you want to be the champ, here's who you need to K.O.

Now to be fair to all the other teams I didn't mention, here are quick reasons why I feel the Cats will win those games.

UConn-Can't beat UC, match-up problems, style of play.

Syracuse-Lost best receiver before season even started, need new system.

Rutgers-Can RU win without Ray Rice? UC still beat them with him the past two seasons.

South Florida-Have a hard time playing in the cold especially late in the year at Nippert Stadium.

Enough said.

Bearcat Insider Note On Bob Duckens Jr.

Bob Duckens Jr. is a former member of the University of Cincinnati football program who earned four letters (1990-91-92-93) during his career. This is his second year with Bearcat Insider providing an inside look at the Bearcats football program from the view of a former player. From now until after the football season you will find Bob on the message boards of Bearcat Insider as well as have a chance to read his takes on what is going on with the Bearcats.


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