Okay lets look at the game one last time, shall we! Tim Tebow looked like Superman in his last game as the Gators' QB and he should have because the Cats didnt play any type of defense that could have slowed him down. I guess they left the kryptonite at home in BK's garage.
Nevertheless, life is about learning experiences and the Cats just got a valuable lesson from one of the best teams in college football.
To me that lesson is, UC needs to recruit some four and five star recruits. The bottom line is that Florida was just a bad matchup.
Too much speed, too much experience and too much talent.
I know you have all heard me say before that recruiting rankings dont mean alot but they do when it comes to overall talent and ability. Sure there are alot of players that slip through the cracks but the numbers are not that far off and they generally dont lie.
If you look at the top programs in the country that return to BCS games annually, the one thing they have in common is that they finish the recruiting season every year ranked in the Top 10 or 15.
Is that an exact science? No, but it seems to me that you have a better shot at winning big when you can attract those type of players. Now am I saying anything bad about UC? Absolutely not! UC has done well over the years of getting players and developing them but at some point if you want to play with the big boys, that is going to have to change.
Enough of that and lets focus on the '09 season. Bearcat fans should not be disappointed in the results of the Sugar Bowl, why you say? If I would have told you at the beginning of the year that the Cats would finish 12-1 and their only loss would be to the defending national champions, would you have taken it? Well of course you would, it just stings a little because the perception of UC is not good by some so-called experts and I say thats a bunch of bull.
Anyone that downplays how hard it is to go 12-0 is an idiot. Anyone that downplays the importance of losing your head coach after the last game of this magical season is crazy. The Cats were still emotionally stressed from BK leaving the way he did. Not making any excuses though because you still have to show up and play the game.
But UC is not the first team to get humbled by the Gators, three years ago OSU tasted how good the Gators were losing by the same margin the Cats did ironically 27 points (41-14). So nobody can diminish in my mind what the Cats accomplished this season.
What does UC have to do next season to keep this train rolling?
1.) Get rid of that defense
UC fans are not use to seeing a defense that was constantly getting manhandled on the line of scrimmage and teams being able to run it as well as they did. UC needs to go back to the 4-3 and get back to the tough, stingy and aggressive run defense that we are all use to.
2.) Keep scoring points
The offense has to continue its scoring tirade and that should continue under BJ. When you score points, it puts pressure on the other team to keep up and you are also never out of a game, so this is crucial to the success of this team.
3.) Run the ball more often
What good is it to have Isiah Pead and John Goebel if you dont give them the ball? UC should have one of their best years running the ball with Zach Collaros stepping in as the starter. Im not saying to abandon the pass but you still have to be able to run the keep defenses honest. I think the Cats would not have struggled in some of their close games had they run it more.
4.) Recruit, recruit, recruit
UC needs to use the success of this season to attract higher rated talent. Ohio is still a hot bed for talent and if you are going to rep the Big East in the BCS yearly, then the talent has to get better. More speed at the LB and defensive end position is a must. In my mind, the offense is fine so the emphasis should be on defense.
5.) Defend the Big East title again
Its no secret that UC needs to carry the BE banner again. Even though there will be a lot of competition, UC has the players returning to make another BCS push. Although Gilyard and Pike are gone, Collaros and Hazelton should step in nicely. My only question mark is who will the backup QB be? Chazz Anderson has not proven that he is the man so maybe its Brendon Kay. Whoever it is needs to be on standby and ready to perform.
All in all, the Cats have put themselves in position to be a perennial player in the national championship picture. Coach Jones needs to hit the ground running out of the gate and I think he will do a great job. Remember, nobody thought BK would do anything at UC so I dont see any reason to believe BJ cant get it done. Hold your head high Bearcat fans, we have a good team and I think we are all going to be proud of what this team is going to do in 2010. The goal is to win the BE, return to the BCS and win it, UC needs to erase its (0-2) record in BCS games.