To the Editor,

Saturday, Nov. 18 the University of Cincinnati football team plays their fifth top-10 team of the season. The first four were road games in which the Bearcats lost hard-fought battles with Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Louisville and West Virginia. The Bearcats have held leads in all four games. They held a fourth-quarter lead at Virginia Tech and they were 14 yards from beating Louisville. Ultimately, Bearcat fans need to understand this is a young Bearcat team that has grown up a ton this season. They get significant contributions from sophomores and juniors. They could very well compete for the Big East Title next season.

This Saturday, UC has a chance to be part of something special. Sixth-ranked Rutgers comes to Cincinnati for a very meaningful game. Rutgers is coming off perhaps the biggest win in its football history. They stand as one of four remaining un-beatens in Div. I-A college football. Cincinnati needs one win to become bowl eligible, and two wins to post a winning record in both the Big East, and overall. This would be a significant accomplishment for the UC program.

The Bearcats have played what, few could argue, amounts to the toughest road schedule in the country this season. Other than the second and third quarter at West Virginia and the fourth quarter in Columbus they have been competitive throughout this treacherous schedule. Rutgers is a team Cincinnati can match up well against. Rutgers is a great running team with a tremendous running back in Ray Rice. However, for the most part Rutgers is pretty one dimensional on offense. Cincinnati has shown an ability to slow down great offenses all year. They held the Ohio State offense in check for a half, slowed down Virginia Tech for most of the game and kept Louisville from scoring their usual 40 points. These offenses were far more prolific than Rutgers, who likes to win games running the ball and playing great defense. UC wants to win games the exact same way, and if their defense can come up with a few plays against Rutgers it is possible they could do so.

This is a game UC fans need be at. A great crowd could be the difference in this game. Having been to three of UC's four road games, and all but one home game this year, I can tell you UC is a fun team to watch. Their defense makes it hard on any offense. They hit you, and tackle you. A great crowd could disrupt and rattle the Rutgers offense. Rutgers has never been in the position they are now. Saturday night, on national television, has the potential to be a coming out party for the UC football program. The players will continue to give it their all to do their part. It is time for the fans to show up and do theirs.

Mark Raines

Fourth-year political science student