It’s been awhile since we’ve had a week in Cincinnati like the one we have now. Both UC and the Bengals face season defining moments this coming weekend. And the college basketball season officially begins as well. It hasn’t been this big around here in a long time.
Saturday at Noon, UC plays West Virginia University at Paul Brown Stadium. Should the Bearcats win, it would close to a knockout blow to the rest of the Big East. Sure, they still have three games to go. But a win over West Virginia would put the Mountaineers two games back of the Bearcats with three to play. A win, and UC would have tie breaker advantages over both Pitt and WVU (and Louisville for that matter should the Cardinals jump into contention). UC is ranked in the Top 25 Polls and cracked the BCS rankings for the first time in two years this week. At 7-1, the Bearcats remain a legitimate contender for a BCS bowl berth, which would be their third in the last four season.
Meantime, the surprise of the NFL, the Bengals are now 6-2, tied with Baltimore for the AFC North lead. A critic would point out that the eight teams the Bengals have played so far have averaged just 2.5 wins this season. But no one asks you who you play, when a season is over. All that’s asked is “how many wins did you get”? Now, the Bengals have their chance at a season defining win. The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming to Paul Brown Stadium this Sunday. Pittsburgh is a game back of both the Ravens and Bengals, after losing Sunday night to Baltimore. It will arrive a desperate team. The Steelers are still very good. But a win over Pittsburgh will silence the critics who are pointing to the Bengals weak schedule. Not bad for a team that many picked to win no more than two games this season.
So enjoy the week. It’s been a long time since we’ve had two games whose build ups will be this intense. Hey, it’s finally our turn in Cincinnati. Finally.