Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville Struggled as Head Football Coach at Cincinnati
Since 1937, when quarterback Sammy Baugh led the TCU Horned Frogs to a 16-6 victory over Marquette, the game has been called the Cotton Bowl. Goodyear has been added to the title in recent years, a benefit from being the game's biggest corporate sponsor.
Because of the two teams playing in the game this year, the University of Alabama and the University of Cincinnati, perhaps another name should be assigned for the occasion. The semifinal matchup, which will determine the team who advances to the BCS Championship game, should for just this year be referred to as the Tommy Tuberville Bowl.
Tuberville, who won the Cotton Bowl in 2007 after coaching his Auburn Tigers to a 17-14 victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers, has strong ties to both universities competing in the New Year's Eve game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. He is currently a senator representing the state of Alabama, and he was for four years the head football coach at the University of Cincinnati.
His tenure at the helm of the Bearcats ended ignominiously, resulting in an opening filled by current coach Luke Fickell. Tuberville did enjoy winning seasons for the first half of his reign in the Queen City, finishing 9-4 in both 2013 and 2014.
His fortunes changed soon thereafter, as the Bearcats went just 7-6 without a bowl appearance in 2015. A 4-8 record in 2016 continued an ugly down spiral, leading to Tuberville's well-received resignation.
In addition to the ugly record, Tuberville caused several issues of controversy that grew disfavor from Cincinnati fans. He refused to play popular quarterback Gunner Kiel, who for undisclosed reasons had grown out of favor with Tuberville.
Then in the midst of an embarrassing loss at Nippert Stadium, Tuberville was caught on national TV exchanging words with a young man clad in UC attire.
“Get a job!” Tuberville screamed at the fan, an ugly scene replayed on national news outlets and serving as the proverbial final nail in the coffin of his coaching tenure at the University of Cincinnati.
Cincinnati had before Tuberville's arrival been an improving program, gaining national notoriety during Brian Kelly's term and the two coaches that followed him. So Tuberville inherited a program that was expecting its success to continue to grow, but he left it in shambles.
The Bearcats really do not need any extra motivation as they prepare for a BCS showdown against the number one team in the nation, since UC is the first non-power conference school to make it to the BCS final four. If they want a little more incentive to dispatch the Crimson Tide, they could think of this game as a sort of revenge against the former coach who nearly ruined their football program.
Quarterback Desmond Ridder and his teammates could look at this contest as a battle against not only Alabama, but also one of its current state senators. Of course even with a victory in the Cotton Bowl the Bearcats could not unseat Tuberville from the United States Senate, which is totally up to the residents of the state of Alabama in the next election.
If he is indeed beaten for his re-election, many Bearcats fans have the perfect advice to offer him. “Get a job!”