By JOHN P. WISE
One Great Season
CLEVELAND -- I talked to an old bud this week named Glenn Farkas. My Cleveland friends might remember him for tormenting our proud Richmond Heights Spartans on the football field many years ago. And the basketball court. And the baseball diamond. Hell, I bet he drank our beer and stole our girlfriends, too.
Farkas was a three-sport standout at nearby Kirtland High School, and although he was two years ahead of me, I was once asked to guard the long-range bomber when I was a sophomore. I would imagine my basketball coach had been drinking before making that decision. I believe I held Farkas to 30 points that night.
And my Cincinnati friends might remember him for quarterbacking the Bearcats for several years.
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Glenn has been a generous supporter in recent years of my photography projects and One Great Season. We caught up this week, and he had a few interesting thoughts to share about UC football.
Farkas' Kirtland teams were successful in all sports, and the Bearcats actually weren't too bad when he accepted a scholarship to play in Clifton. A born winner, you might call him.
But after he'd been at UC for a couple of years and the program found itself in some NCAA trouble, the Bearcats became pretty good at losing, a trend with which Farkas wasn't too familiar.
So understandably, he doesn't recall his last two years at UC, the first two of the Tim Murphy era, as being all that enjoyable.
"(Former UC coach Dave) Currey used a West Coast offense, which is why I came," Farkas said. "Murphy wanted to implement a little of everything -- dropback, rollout, option -- and we did none of them well."
Farkas said Murphy took a Bobby Knight approach to motivating players, a technique to which Farkas and other veterans didn't respond kindly. In Farkas' junior and senior seasons of 1989-90, the Bearcats had a combined record of 2-19-1.
"My final two years were the worst two years I can remember in any sport I ever played," Farkas said.
Farkas, now a big-shot money manager in Chicago, said he's followed UC football much more closely since the Bearcats joined the Big East Conference. And while he likes what Brian Kelly has done to push the program toward the unfamiliar territory of the nation's elite, he thinks a setback is on the horizon for Cincinnati fans.
"I am proud to see where UC has gone in the last five years and especially under Kelly," he said. "He will likely take another job after this year and I cannot blame him. The money will speak loudly."
Farkas said he tries to make time to watch the top college matchups each weekend, and is yet another believer that the sport needs a playoff system. He proposes a format that awards a playoff invite to each of the champions of the six BCS conferences, as well as four other wild-card teams, as determined by the polls. Those four teams will play each other for the two remaining spots in what would be a seeded, eight-team playoff.
"They'll never do it," said Farkas, who tries to get back to Nippert Stadium for one game each season. "It's an objective way to determine a winner and makes too much sense."