If you build it, they will come.
It’s New Year’s Eve, there is hope all around. But for the Cincinnati Bearcats, their season has come crashing down like the ball in Times Square. When you build it takes time. Coach Luke Fickell should be commended for bringing a team outside the Power 5 to the CFB playoffs.
Currently, the playoffs are The SEC and whoever they will beat, but mainly the Power 5 conferences control their destiny. Teams like Alabama, Georgia, and Michigan get the luxury of losing a game and still making the CFB playoffs, while a team outside the Power 5 has to be perfect to even get consideration for the honor to play perennial powerhouses like Alabama.
Does this mean that teams like Cincinnati are not as good or can’t compete?
Absolutely not, they are building a program that in time can compete at this level. It takes years to build a quality program that can step up and compete with the power conferences. Even Notre Dame this year lost their head Coach Brian Kelly stating his desire to compete for the National Championship every year.
When Coach Fickell was asked about building something special in Cincinnati his response was everything you would want from your leader after a tough loss.
“It doesn’t feel great right now, but step back here and reflect a little bit more and recognize where we have come from.”
This school, this community has something special here with Coach Fickell, a leader that was born to coach in big games. The first step in making this happen is locking Fickell in long term and keeping him on the Bearcats sidelines for years to come. It will take great coaching, unbelievable recruiting, a schedule that has top opponents like Notre Dame, and then to continue winning.
Two programs come to mind when looking at the blueprint of success Cincinnati will have to follow. The first would be switching sports to NCAA Basketball and Gonzaga. Gonzaga, which was a Cinderella story for years, slowly and steadily kept recruiting better and higher-skilled recruits, scheduling tough opponents any and everywhere, and continued winning.
The other school that comes to mind is Boise St.
The Broncos a mid-major with blue turf also followed the same blueprint to success that the Bearcats must follow. Boise St. became a destination for top recruits after a huge upset over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
The blueprints are there for the Bearcats and Coach Fickell but only time will tell if they can continue the success, they have had over the last two seasons and challenge for that elusive National Championship.