With sixteen senior members of the University of Cincinnati the ending of their careers may leave a sour note. But while many will want to question the outcome and bang on the Bearcats for their performance, getting to 12-0 is no easy matter.
The Gators and Bearcats looked to put on a show, but it was Tim Tebow who left his mark on the Sugar Bowl record books in the 51-24 Gators victory.
Make no mistake, the Bearcats didn't have the hot start many felt would be needed to stay with the Gators and while the team never gave up, they just couldn't stop Tebow to bring the score within range.
Tebow, the all everything for the Gators, may well go down as one of the best players ever in college football and with his 31-35-482 yards three touchdown night showed again what SEC fans have learned. When he wants to win nothing will stop him.
The Bearcats would post two sacks but stumbled to in coverage giving up the record number of passing yards.
Tony Pike would go 27-45 for 170 yards and 3 touchdowns but was sacked 4 times.
Mardy Gilyard only picked up 41 yards receiving but posted 207 kickoff return yards to end his great Bearcats career.
Credit must be given to the Gators for having a great game plan and also to Jeff Quinn and the other Bearcats assistant coaches for keeping things together after Brian Kelly left for Notre Dame.
For Quinn the future is as the head coach at Buffalo but he stressed this wasn't the way the team wanted to go out.
“Obviously, coming into this football game with this football team being 12-0, and then the outcome of tonight's contest certainly wasn't the way we expected it to go. I give credit to Coach Meyer and the Florida Gators and their ball club.”
For the Bearcats, the future is Butch Jones and the memories of this loss. Fans showed up and showed they can support a team and will be needed for Cincinnati to keep rising in college football. The experience in New Orleans while ending on a sour note, will also prove to have many great memories for fans, players and coaches.
While Kerry Coombs is the only know holdover for Coach Jones staff, fans should always be greatful to the player, and staff for giving them the wildest ride in Bearcats history. The record of 12-1 ties the Bearcats with the Gators in overall record and will have Bearcat fans looking forward to spring football that is just around the corner.
Bearcat Insider was happy to have been apart of another great Bearcats season and watching a program continue it's growth. To Brian Kelly, Jeff Quinn and the entire Bearcats football support staff thanks for the ride.
To the Bearcat players I've had the chance to watch (many since high school), thanks for keeping the faith and believing that hard work and dedication does have it's rewards. For the seniors thanks for the memories and I hope the future is as bright and fulfilling as the past few years have been.
Bearcat Insider will have more about the game and the future of the Bearcats football program in the coming days, weeks and months.
For those in New Orleans, have a safe trip back home.