Though it ended on a low note, the University of Cincinnati football team went to new heights in 2009 with a perfect 12-0 regular season and its second consecutive Big East title.
Despite the way the season ended — Brian Kelly's departure for Notre Dame and the 51-24 Sugar Bowl loss to Florida — the Bearcats turned in their greatest performance in history finishing the regular season ranked No. 3 in the country. In the end, UC earned its third-straight 10-win campaign and its second invite to a Bowl Championship Series game.
Though questions remain about the team's near future, newly hired coach Butch Jones can be sure he has a loyal base in Cincinnati where fans now consistently sell out Nippert Stadium. Thousands trekked to Pittsburgh for UC's thrilling come-from-behind win over Pitt, and they gobbled up all 17,500 allotted Sugar Bowl tickets in just four days.