With a night to wallow in our sorrow after dropping a heartbreaker to our rivals down the river the Louisville Cardinals, I’ve been able to take a step back and put this loss in perspective. Yes, we could go off the deep end like this guy. We could do that. But would it make much sense?
After all, the Bearcats are still 9-3 and while that record probably would be a disappointment considering the lofty preseason predictions for this team, winning nine games in any college football season isn’t easy. It especially isn’t easy after having to overhaul an entire coaching staff, run two separate offensive systems during the season, replace a starting quarterback due to injury, and deal with the emotional loss of a teammate. In fact, I’d go so far as to call a nine win season a success in spite of those factors.
I know, ca-raaazy, right?
Look, I like all of you wish last night had gone a different way. I wish Brendon Kay didn’t throw two ill-advised interceptions to first give Louisville a short field to use to score a touchdown and second to prevent Cincinnati from scoring themselves. I wish he didn’t play like garbage for the entire first half in general. Obviously I wish the Bearcats didn’t face a quarterback who is as good as he is lucky. But the ball didn’t bounce UC’s way and we’ll just have to accept that.
For me, I’d like to remember the positive events from last night, like how Kay, despite being bruised in more places than I’d like to imagine, gutted it out yet again to nearly lead Cincinnati to victory. His touchdown run in the second quarter was one of the biggest of his career and established him as one of the grittiest Bearcats of all time. Also, you can’t say enough about about UC’s offensive line last night. Amidst heavy pressure, the blockers up front allowed the Louisville pass rush to get to Kay only once. It was another stellar performance out of them. And how about that circus interception by Howard Wilder near the sideline? That was pretty cool, right?
When it comes down to it, the game last night was simply a hard-fought battle between two evenly-matched and equally talented football teams. And in the grand scheme of things Cincinnati and Louisville paid as good of a homage as they could have to the Keg of Nails rivalry, which looks to be on hiatus after this season. It’s a shame really because the last two games have been among the best in the series despite the Bearcats coming out on the short end of the stick both times. Hopefully sometime in the future we are able to see UC and UL on the same field again.
But in our immediate future the Bearcats have a bowl game to look forward to. With a loss last night, a trip to a BCS Bowl game is out of the question as is the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Florida. UCF and Louisville, respectively, locked up those postseason destinations. In all likelihood Cincinnati is Belk Bowl-bound yet again to take on either North Carolina or Boston College. That announcement will probably be made as early as the next few hours or sometime over the weekend.