View Full Version : Dantonio: UC fans, please show up Friday

09-06-2006, 11:02 PM
I'm not sure if this is going to help, but this team does deserve a good turnout in front of a national audience. I'll be there.

During the three years Mark Dantonio has been the head football coach at the University of Cincinnati, he has refrained from begging fans to attend the Bearcats' games.

His philosophy has always been that when UC begins to win consistently, the fans will show up.

But as Friday night's Big East opener against Pittsburgh approaches, Dantonio has changed his approach. Now he's openly asking for fans to show their support for his program.

"I've never said you've got to come to this game and support the Bearcats," Dantonio said Tuesday. "But I'm asking for this one. I think that should be noted.

"We try to do our work the right way, but we need the support. We need to get the students who are in the area out here to get it going. We need to make this a great atmosphere."

Last week, the Bearcats attracted only 18,792 fans to Nippert Stadium for their 31-0 season-opening victory over Division I-AA Eastern Kentucky. But with Pitt, a name program in town for the second version of the River City Rivalry, Dantonio and his players are hoping for a much larger turnout.

For that to happen, the Bearcats will have to overcome two obstacles: The game is on ESPN2 and Friday is high school football night, traditionally a huge draw in Cincinnati every weekend.

No one knows that better than senior tight end Brent Celek, who played high school football at La Salle and whose brother, Garrett, plays for the Lancers this season. Garrett has committed to play at UC next year.

But Celek says his parents have elected to attend the UC game instead of La Salle's game at Xenia.

"I like the idea of calling people out and having them come down to a game," Celek said. "I know it's a Friday night football thing here in Cincinnati for high schools, but there's some people who are going to sit on their couch at home and watch it on TV when they could come down here and watch it."

Dantonio said he looks around town and sees so many people wearing UC regalia that he knows there's a built-in base of support for his program.

In the past, most of that support has been directed toward the basketball program. Dantonio would like the football team to share some of it.

"I think our players deserve a great atmosphere out there," he said. "I know it's high school football night, but I believe there's a UC faction in this city that sits back and wants to watch it on TV or listen to it on the radio. I think they should come on down."

The Bearcats have won four of their last six games at home and are facing a Pitt team that was 0-5 on the road last season.

"We've talked the whole offseason about how we're going to defend our turf," said quarterback Dustin Grutza. "We really want fans to come out. If we win this game, it can really set the tone and show people that we can play and hopefully we can get more fans in the stands."

Chip R
09-07-2006, 12:57 AM
I know they are doing it for TV money but UC does not draw well as it is and now they are playing on a Friday night? :eek: I hope that payday ESPN is giving them will make up for the attendance loss.

That said, I enjoy college football but I think TV is starting to wag the dog here. This will not hurt the local high schools here but what if it were Ohio State or Notre Dame playing on a Friday night? This will not only hurt attendance at high school games but I would think the players want to see college football too. A school like UC does need national TV exposure but all their recruits are going to be playing on Friday nights instead of watching them play. Does ESPN need a college football game every night of the week?

09-07-2006, 01:03 AM
Does ESPN need a college football game every night of the week?

Would you ever watch UAB or Ball State or Troy State or ECU play football if they didn't play on Wednesday?

I'm pretty sure the answer is no. But when they are on those weird nights I'll stop and watch definately.

09-07-2006, 04:42 AM
"second version of the River City Rivalry"

Come on now, stop inventing rivalries, call it the river city get together or something but calling it a rivalry after 5 games in 85+ years is lameo.

09-07-2006, 07:54 AM
High school football trumps college football in Ohio everytime for fans... except that school in Columbus. No ifs, ands or buts about it. I hope they draw well, but I wonder if it will happen on a Friday night. I will definitely watch it on TV.

I guess I show my age, but everytime I see the Univ. of Pittsburgh in writing or on TV I think Marino and Dorsett.

09-07-2006, 09:01 AM
Last week, the Bearcats attracted only 18,792 fans to Nippert Stadium for their 31-0 season-opening victory over Division I-AA Eastern Kentucky.
I thought almost 19k was pretty good considering it was against EKU.

I like going to games at the Nip. Hate parking for games at the Nip.