Dec 18, 2012

Calling all Bearcats to the Belk Bowl!

Bearcat bowl games = UC Family Reunions! Just ask the alums who went to recent UC bowl games in Birmingham, Miami, New Orleans and Memphis. The holidays are better when you spend part of them with other UC fans celebrating and cheering on the Bearcats in a bowl. And now comes Charlotte and the Belk Bowl.

As fans plan their visit to Charlotte, two events stand out:

  • First is obviously the game: UC vs. Duke, Thursday, December 27, with a 6:30 p.m. kickoff at Bank of America Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
  • Second is Fan Central, UC’s official pep rally from 7 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, December 26, hosted by the UC Alumni Association. If you’ll be in Charlotte the night before the game, this is the place to be. Get all the details here.

Part of the fun of bowl games is getting to experience a new city in the company of many other folks wearing the C-Paw. Charlotte has a reputation for doing a great job with its bowl game. Here’s a quick guide to resources to help with the Belk Bowl trip.

It’s been a wild ride for the Bearcats and their fans. After earning their fourth conference championship in five years (something no other football program has done), the Bearcats were rewarded with their first-ever trip to the Belk Bowl. However, news of the bowl bid was tempered by the drawn-out departure of former coach Butch Jones.

Then Whit Babcock pulled a rabbit out of his hat, demonstrating the benefits of having a truly connected Athletics Director by hiring Tuberville and stunning the college football world in the process. Since the December 8 press conference that welcomed him to Cincinnati, Tuberville has been acclimating to the university, assessing the team as it practices for the bowl, assembling an outstanding coaching staff, and recruiting the next wave of future Bearcats.

During his tenure at UC, Jones had emphasized to the players the need to focus and adapt to “sudden change” during a game, and those lessons have carried over to the “sudden change” occurring within the program this month. The players talk openly about playing the Belk Bowl for the constants in their lives — their teammates, their university and community, and the UC fans.

“We need a lot of fans there [in Charlotte],” said sophomore linebacker Nick Temple. “We want our fans to have our backs, so I’m hoping they’ll be there.”

If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, you can get them here. The UC Alumni Association’s Belk Bowl activities are sponsored by GEICO.

See you in Charlotte!

Dec 12, 2012

President Ono Announces UC’s 100,000 Donor Goal for Proudly Cincinnati Campaign

To date 87,000 donors have donated to the campaign since its silent phase in 2005. The campaign launched publicly in 2008 and ends in June 2013.

President Santa Ono has announced the University of Cincinnati’s goal to reach 100,000 donors to Proudly Cincinnati by the end of the campaign in June 2013. As of December 2012, more than 87,000 donors have contributed to the campaign, which currently stands at $966,609,180. This historic drive to reach 100,000 donors and $1 billion will position UC among the nation’s most elite universities.

“I’m calling on our UC family to help the university conclude the Proudly Cincinnati campaign 100,000 strong,” said President Ono. “I’m confident alumni, faculty, staff and friends will accept this challenge and help us reach 100,000 donors and our $1 billion campaign goal, placing UC among only 1 percent of public universities to ever achieve such a significant milestone. We truly are the #HottestCollegeinAmerica.”

As part of an upcoming holiday campaign and to celebrate the new goal to reach 100,000 donors, President Ono will be giving away a t-shirt to every UC alum who donates at least $18.19 between Dec. 14-21, 2012. As a special holiday bonus, alumni and UC graduating seniors who donate to President Ono’s featured fund each of the 8 days will also be entered to win Santa’s daily giveaway.  Alumni should follow the UC Alumni Association on Facebook or Twitter to learn more about the exclusive daily giveaways.

All alumni who support UC during the 8 special days will also be automatically entered to win the grand prize drawing – a ‘Party with the Prez,’ including 8 tickets to the Jan. 7 UC Men's Basketball game and an evening with President Ono in the President's Box.

For more information about this historic drive to 100,000 donors and Santa’s 8 Days of Giveaways, click here.

Dec 4, 2012

Former Bearcats Coming Up Big for Pro Teams

Connor Barwin #98 of the Houston Texans sacks
Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens for a safety
on October 21, 2012 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.
(October 20, 2012 - Source: Thomas B. Shea/
Getty Images North America)
Ten bowl games in thirteen years…Four conference championships and two BCS bowl games in the past five seasons…Four 10-win seasons over the past five years…No matter how you look at it, UC’s football program continues to prove itself as one of the most competitive in the nation – including the impressive roster of former Bearcats who now make a living playing on Sundays.

Check out our midseason rundown of NFL players who got their start on the Clifton gridiron and see what they’ve been up to so far this season:

Connor Barwin – Barwin was a key defensive leader for the Bearcats during his senior season – even though it was his first on the defensive side of the ball, as he previously played tight end during his college and high school career.

Now, he’s a run-stuffing, pass-rushing force for the Texans, with 31 tackles, two sacks, one fumble recovery and four passes defended through the first twelve games of the season. One of those sacks also resulted in Connor’s first NFL points – a safety of Ravens’ quarterback Joe Flacco in the Texans’ week 7 win.

With the Texans sporting one of the best records (and defenses) in the league, Barwin looks to be playing deep into January as the Texans seek out their first-ever Super Bowl appearance.

Armon Binns – Many fans remember Binns making one of the biggest catches in UC history, diving across a snowy end zone to haul in the game-winning score with one minute left against Pitt at the end of the 2009 season.
Alfonzo Dennard #37 of the New England Patriots tackles
Isaiah Pead #24 of the St. Louis Rams during the NFL
International Series match between the New England
Patriots and the St. Louis Rams at Wembley Stadium on
October 28, 2012 in London, England. (October 27, 2012 -
Source: Scott Heavey/Getty Images Europe)

Now, he’s found a home with the Cincinnati Bengals alongside former Bearcat Kevin Huber, and is working his way into the professional ranks and learning from Pro-Bowl teammate A.J. Green.

Binns has played in eight games so far (including five starts) and has caught 18 passes for 210 yards. He also scored his first NFL touchdown against the Washington Redskins during the Bengals’ 38-31 week 3 win.

Kevin Huber – During the Bearcats’ run at their first BIG EAST Championship in 2008, their stifling defense – along with punter Kevin Huber’s ability to pin opposing teams deep in their own territory – made scoring points a tall order.

Huber continues to excel at consistently punting the ball deep, and now helps the Cincinnati Bengals win the field position battle through the kicking game. So far in 2012, Huber has played in all twelve games and has punted 55 times for a 46.9-yard average and a net average of 41.7 yards.

He has also placed 24 of his 55 punts inside the 20-yard line, and kicked a season long 69-yarder late in the fourth quarter of the Bengals’ week 11 win against Kansas City.

Isaiah Pead – Many people felt the St. Louis Rams landed a steal when UC’s third all-time leading rusher and 2011 BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year was drafted in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

While he’s still learning the ropes of the NFL and remains behind an incredibly successful rusher in Steven Jackson, Pead continues to make progress and prepare for his moment in the spotlight. And in the meantime, he’s picked up a new skill: returning kickoffs.

So far, Pead has played in eleven games this season, including one start, and has caught three passes for sixteen yards, rushed four times for 33 yards and returned ten kicks for 212 yards.

Haruki Nakamura – One of the anchors of the Bearcats’ 2008 BIG EAST Champion defense, Nakamura went from one electrifying defense to another when he was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens.

Now, Nakamura plays free safety for the Carolina Panthers – and is bringing the lessons he’s learned over the years to a team where he can build a new tradition for defensive excellence.
Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots is
sacked by Derek Wolfe #95 of the Denver Broncos
in the second half at  Gillette Stadium on October
7, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
 (October 6, 2012 - Source: Jim Rogash/Getty
Images North America)

Nakamura has started in each of the Panthers' twelve games this season and has tallied 51 tackles. He’s also recorded two interceptions: one in a 30-28 thriller against the Atlanta Falcons in week 4, and the other in a 27-21 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 11.

Derek Wolfe  – One of the leaders of last year’s defensive unit went to the Denver Broncos in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and he’s wasted no time making his presence known – even though most of the headlines in Denver are about the resurgence of quarterback Peyton Manning.

Wolfe has started all twelve games this season for the Broncos and has totaled 32 tackles, along with three sacks. Wolfe's three sacks rank third among rookie defensive lineman this season.

Trent Cole – The Philadelphia Eagles have become a regional alumni network of their own, with four former Bearcats – Cole, Brent Celek, Mardy Gilyard and Jason Kelce (who is on injured reserve for the year) recently playing for the team.

Since joining the Eagles in the 2005 NFL Draft, Cole has tallied 70 regular season sacks, which ranks him third all-time in Eagles history behind legends Reggie White and Clyde Simmons. He’s also played in nine playoff games and has established himself as a veteran leader and fan favorite.

Cole has started all ten of the Eagles’ games and has totaled 26 tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble this year.

Brent Celek – Since joining the Eagles in 2007, Celek has been a durable part of the offense, playing in every regular season game during that span and also enjoying success in the postseason.

Tight end Brent Celek #87 of the Philadelphia
Eagles leaps over safety Ed Reed #20 for a
first down in the third quarter during a game
 at Lincoln Financial Field on September 16
 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles
defeated the Ravens 24-23.
(September 15, 2012 - Source: Rich Schultz/
Getty Images North America)
In fact, Celek caught ten passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns in the 2008 NFC Championship Game against the Arizona Cardinals, and his 19 catches during the Eagles’ 2008 playoff run are the third-most all-time for a tight end.

So far this season, Celek has started all twelve of the Eagles' games and has 601 receiving yards and one touchdown on 50 receptions.

Mardy Gilyard – Sadly, Mardy was cut by the Eagles just over two weeks ago. Gilyard played in six games this season and has returned two punts for 15 yards, and had three special teams tackles.

Here’s to hoping he can find another home in the NFL soon.

John Hughes – Hughes was a force on defense last year and kept getting better as the season went on, totaling 27 tackles and four sacks during UC’s final five games of the 2011 season.

His inspired play and performance at the NFL combine inspired the Cleveland Browns to select him in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and he’s gotten right to work bolstering their defense in one of the league’s toughest divisions.

Hughes has played in each of the Browns' twelve games this season, earning two starts, and has tallied 25 tackles and two sacks.

More Cats on the Prowl in the NFL

Adrien Robinson – New York Giants/Tight End: Robinson has played in two games this season.

Mike Windt – San Diego Chargers/Long Snapper: Windt has played in ten of the Chargers' games this season.

Jeff Linkenbach – Indianapolis Colts/Tackle: Linkenbach has played in all twelve of the Colts' games this season, including six starts.

Ricardo Mathews – Indianapolis Colts/ Defensive Tackle: Mathews has played in all twelve games this season, including one start, and has totaled 11 tackles.

J.K. Schaeffer – Though Schaeffer was cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars shortly before the start of the 2012 NFL season, he has been signed to the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad as a reserve linebacker.

Keep up with your favorite Bearcats all season by checking out the UC Athletics website’s coverage of Bearcats in the NFL!

Dec 3, 2012

Watch the Bearcats vs. Xavier in the Crosstown Classic with Alumni Where YOU Are

On Wednesday, Dec. 19, the University of Cincinnati Men's Basketball Team will play Xavier University in the Crosstown Classic. If you won't be in town for the game, there's a good chance a group of UC alumni are hosting a game watch nearby!

Check out the list below to see where you can watch the game with other alumni in your area. If your city or region is not featured below and you're interested in organizing a game-watch, please contact Sam Walston at the UC Alumni Association.

Central Ohio
Las Vegas
Twin Cities
St. Louis
San Diego
San Francisco 
Washington DC

What do you think the final score will be? Guess by commenting below!