Monday, November 28, 2011

Bengals Still On Track

The Bengals are still on track to be in the playoffs heading into the final week or weeks of the season. Before we go any further on the that, I want to say I haven't seen the Bengals with a tandem that adjusts to the ball better than A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham. They've had individual guys who have done it like Carl Pickens, but to have two guys with the kind of fly ball skills of Gresham and Green is rare. Now that I have that off my chest, back to the playoff hunt. My friend Rocky Boiman convinced me on our "Sports Rock" show last night that the Bengals need 10 wins to make the playoffs. Nine is not enough. Rocky bases this on the fact that the N.Y. Jets have 6 wins now, and should easily get to 9 or 10 based on a healthy helping of cream puffs down the stretch. The Jets get Washington, K.C., Philly, Giants, and Miami. They could easily win four of those. The Bengals have Pitt, Houston, St. Louis, Arizona, and Baltimore. There's three wins there, but can they steal a game from Pittsburgh or Baltimore to get to 11? Perhaps. The playoffs are right there for the Bengals to grab. If they can find a way to avoid falling into the double-digit holes they've found themselves in lately, they have a real chance.

While the Bengals are heading to the playoffs, the U.C. Bearcats could be heading to another coaching search. I really feel Butch Jones wants to make a go of it in Cincinnati. But here is where the rubber meets the road: Support. Not just fans in the stands, although it begins with fan support. U.C. has a football budget that is near the bottom of the Big East. Considering the Big East budgets are at the bottom of the BCS conferences, that is an issue. A small Nippert stadium with no club seating and no luxury boxes is a big problem when it comes to expanding the budget. If the fans will flock to PBS, that will help. Funding in general lags for U.C athletics. Mick Cronin has the same problem in basketball, with a budget that was recently near the bottom of the budgets in the conference. That is saying something. Cincinnati is a great place to live. A lot of coaches, not all but a lot, would love to stay put here if the university had the resources to compete with the schools that win big. Imagine if U.C. had the resources of the big dogs. It's amazing the Bearcats compete at all in football the way things are. Imagine if the football program were on a near-equal funding basis. Until that happens, this coach thing is going to pop up every 2-3 years. New A.D. Whit Babcock has a lot on his plate. Funding, funding, and funding. There is no bigger issue.

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