CINCINNATI — The University of Cincinnati's rise within the football ranks has been a major achievement, causing at least one Xavier alum to wear red and black in support.
"Go Bearcats, beat Alabama," said Xavier alum Todd Mayer.
Mayer graduated from Xavier's ROTC program in 1985, going on to serve in uniform for 30 years — 10 on active duty as an Army Armor officer and 20 with the Ohio National Guard.
Allegiance is something he knows all too well, however life has a funny way of bending allegiance when necessary.
"My wife's a UC grad, and then both my sons chose UC over Xavier," he said.
Living in a house more than divided he admits he might be the minority Xavier fan going to both Xavier and UC games since the early 90s.
"It all kind of started with my oldest brother, who is a UC grad, and he's been a UC football season ticket holder 35, 40 years," Mayer said. "He's been to every bowl game they've been in in that time period."
In order to dress correctly for both the Cintas Center and Nippert Stadium, Mayer's son had a special hat made where interchangeable velcro patches allow him to change out logos.
"He knew if I went to a UC football game, you know, I would be outfitted with my camo military hat," Mayer said. "Then, if I go to Xavier basketball games, I can be in my Xavier garb."
While he knows not all Xavier alumni fall into his category, he said he knows UC's success is important to the city.
"If you're, you know, born and raised here in Cincinnati, you know, you always root for whatever's best for the city," he said.
Mayer said some Xavier graduates who went back to their hometowns may think differently about the support.
"They just remember that bitter rivalry of 'The Crosstown Shootout' and the absolute hatred we had for each other back in the day," he said.
He's already geared up to make the drive to Indianapolis for the Championship game, confident the Bearcats will be sending Alabama home empty-handed.
"I think they're on the verge of making history," Mayer said.