The Cotton Bowl is set to kick off at 3:30 PM this afternoon as the Cincinnati Bearcats square off against the heavily-favored Alabama Crimson Tide. Several years ago, a certain Cincinnati Reds squad faced similar odds in the 1990 World Series.
The Bearcats are nearly two-touchdown underdogs against the vaunted Crimson Tide. Many baseball pundits gave the Reds no shot versus the Oakland A's who had won 306 games over their last three seasons combined.
Will the Bearcats overcome the odds similar to the 1990 Reds?
If the Cincinnati Bearcats hope to have a chance versus the Alabama Crimson Tide, perhaps they need an Eric Davis-esque performance from quarterback Desmond Ridder. Davis set the tone for the 1990 World Series with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning off Oakland's ace Dave Stewart.
Perhaps the best way for the UC Bearcats to pull off the upset is for Ridder to hook up Alec Pierce or Tyler Scott for a 50-plus yard bomb. A quick score might be enough to put Bama on their toes and realize they're in for a fight.
But maybe it'll be some last second magic that will allow the Bearcats to overcome the odds versus the Crimson Tide. The Reds needed extra innings and some key hits from an unlikely hero in order to win Game 2 of the World Series.
The Reds won Game 1 of the 1990 World Series 7-0, and didn't let up in Game 2. Though Oakland struck first with a run in the opening inning, Cincinnati fought back and dented the plate twice. The A's then got out to a 4-2 advantage in the third inning, but wouldn't score again the entire game.
Cincinnati worked their way back into Game 2 with a Ron Oester RBI single in the fourth inning. The Reds then tied the game in the eighth courtesy of a Glenn Bragg force out allowed Billy Hatcher to cross home plate. The Reds would eventually walk it off with Joe Oliver's bouncer up the third base line to score Billy Bates.
The Reds poured it on in Game 3 of the World Series with Chris Sabo going deep twice and Cincinnati's 8-3 victory allowed the underdogs to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. Perhaps the Bearcats will lean on running back Jerome Ford to rip off some home runs of his own versus the Tide.
Game 4 of the 1990 World Series was a slugfest between the two teams. Oakland took the early 1-0 lead in the first that the A's maintained until the Redlegs plated two runs in the eighth. Todd Benzinger called off his teammates and made the final catch in foul territory to secure Cincinnati's fifth World Series title.
Could UC's defense lead the way? Ahmad Gardner and Coby Bryant have been blanketing opposing receivers all season. Could "Sauce" pitch a gem of his own similar to Jose Rijo's in Game 4? Rijo recorded 20 consecutive outs in Game 4 of the 1990 World Series.
The Cincinnati Reds entered the 1990 season having won just 75 games the previous season. But Lou Pinella helped guide the Reds to their first World Series win since 1976. Could Luke Fickell and the UC Bearcats find the same success versus the Alabama Crimson Tide today? One can only hope Let's Go UC!