Some Cincinnatians, most notably radio host Lance McAlister are bristling over talks between the Cincinnati Bengals, the city and Ohio State University about the Buckeyes potentially traveling south to play their annual Spring game at Paul Brown Stadium. Others, like 1530 colleagues and University of Cincinnati (UC) graduate Mo Egger think it's a great idea.
While it's obvious that Lance's ranting, including his farcical proposition that the city designate scarlet and gray as "gang colors" is designed to provoke OSU fans into calling his radio show, there are more than a few Bearcat fans legitimately up in arms over the thought of the Buckeyes holding their spring exhibition within the city limits. They shouldn't be.
First, this move would make total sense for Ohio State. Cincinnati has, within my lifetime, been a largely ignored recruiting target despite it being home to a considerable amount of talent. The Buckeyes have plucked a few from the Queen City, such as Greg Frey and Carlos Snow, but for the most part, 5-star football talent in Cincinnati has migrated elsewhere, even to the dreaded "state up north."
Other destinations have been mostly Catholic schools like Notre Dame and Boston College, not surprising given the prominence of Catholic school football within Cincinnati at St. Xavier, Moeller and Elder. Where they haven't been going is to Clifton.
If UC fans think that Ohio State coming to Cincinnati will hurt their recruiting, they need to consider that most of the time, the Buckeyes and the Bearcats aren't battling for the same players. The Bearcats would be wise to be more concerned about former coach Brian Kelly coming in and poaching players for Notre Dame.
Besides that, Bearcat fans really can't get too up in arms about the prospects of 70,000 Buckeye fans coming into town to see their team practice when they can't draw 30,000 to Nippert Stadium for a Big East game.
That's where the deal makes perfect sense for the city and for the Bengals. It's been well documented that Mike Brown gets a cut of the action for any events taking place in the playground that holds his father's name. If Mike could see 70,000 people parking and buying concessions on a spring Saturday when the stadium would normally be sitting empty, I think he'd be on board with the idea.
The same goes for the city. My guess is a few more people would be frequenting the Banks restaurants and taverns on a Saturday for Buckeye football than would be heading downtown on a day in April or May when the Reds aren't in town. Heck, there would be more people coming downtown than if the Reds were holding Opening Day!
And for UC grad and new Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and his assistant from Colerain and UC, Kerry Coombs, the opportunity to put their footprint in a part of the state the school has long neglected would be a major coup.
So, wise up Lance. You might get more callers by opposing the Buckeyes coming to PBS, but the Bengals and the city would benefit greatly. And maybe, just maybe, this might encourage some Bearcat fans to actually get out and support their program.
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