Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister covers everything in Cincinnati sports! Host of sports talk on Cincinnati News Radio 700WLW and ESPN 1530!Full Bio


Cincinnati's most dominant regular season teams since 1970

Cincinnati's most dominant regular season since 1970

What a regular season for FC Cincinnati. The club, staff and players have claimed the following awards/honors: Supporter's Shield, Coach of Year, Defender of the Year, Most Valuable Player, two players named MLS Best XI, MLS Save of the Year, MLS Goal of the Year.

This got me thinking about a list I put together a couple of years ago of the most dominant regular seasons in Cincinnati sports of the years.

Forget what these teams did in the postseason, this is a focus on the regular season. And I get it. As the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls famously said, "It don't mean a thing without the ring."

Got it. Agree. Humor me. Here are teams that make my list: Cincinnati's most dominant regular season since 1970

1975 Cincinnati Reds

Record: 108-54 (.667). Manager: Sparky Anderson. Won NL West by 20 games over 2nd place Dodgers. Outscored opponents by 254 runs. Finished 64-17 at Riverfront Stadium. Went 61-29 in the first half of the season. 35 wins by five runs or more. Five All-Stars: Johnny Bench, Dave Concepcion, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Pete Rose. NL MVP: Morgan.

Final outcome: Won World Series over Boston, 4-3

1976 Cincinnati Reds

Record: 102-60. Manager: Sparky Anderson. Won NL West by 10 games over 2nd place Dodgers. Outscored opponents by 224 runs. Seven All-Stars: Johnny Bench, Dave Concepcion, George Foster, Ken Griffey, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, Pete Rose. NL MVP: Morgan. Seven pitchers won at least 10 games. Led NL in R, H, 2B, 3B, HR, SB, BB, BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, TB.

Final outcome: Won World Series over New York, 4-0. Finished 7-0 in postseason (3-0 Philadelphia).

1970 Cincinnati Reds

Record: 102-60. Manager: Sparky Anderson. Won NL West by 14.5 games over 2nd place Dodgers. 1st half record: 62-26. Riverfront Stadium record: 57-24. Won 70 of first 100 games of season. Two players with 40+ homers: Johnny Bench (45), Tony Perez (40). Led NL in HR, BA, SLG, OPS, TB. Jim Merritt won 20 games. Five All-Stars: Bench, Merritt, Perez, Pete Rose, Wayne Simpson.

Final outcome: Lost World Series to Baltimore, 4-1. 

1988 Cincinnati Bengals

Record: 12-4. Coach: Sam Wyche. Won AFC North. Offense scored 448 points, most in franchise history. Point differential: +119 (T-4th franchise history). Scored 40+ three times and 30+ six times. No. 1 in NFL in points, yards, first downs, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, rushing yards per attempt. NFL MVP: Boomer Esiason.

Final outcome: Lost in Super Bowl to 49ers

2015 Cincinnati Bengals

Record: 12-4. Coach: Marvin Lewis. Won AFC North. Started the season 8-0. Scoring margin 8.8 points. 419 points scored 6th most franchise history. Point differential of +140 is largest in franchise history. Scored at least 31 points seven times. Defense ranked 2nd (17.4).

Final outcome: Lost Wild Card game to Steelers, 17-14.

1999-2000 Cincinnati Bearcats basketball

Record: 28-2. RPI: 1. Coach Bob Huggins. Won Conference USA regular season title (16-0). Ranked No. 1 for 12 weeks. Margin of victory 16.1 points per game. Allowed 61.5 points per game (No. 16 NCAA). CUSA Player of Year/National Player of Year: Kenyon Martin, 18.9 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.5 blocks. CUSA Coach of Year: Huggins.

Final outcome: Lost in second round of NCAA tournament, 69-61 to Tulsa.

2009 Cincinnati Bearcats football

Record: 12-0. Coach Brian Kelly. Won Big East regular season title. Ranked No. 3 BCS. Averaged 38.6 points per game (4th NCAA). Margin of victory: 15.3. Outscored opponents 502-300. Tony Pike 29 touchdown passes, Mardy Gilyard 87 catches, 1,191 yards, 11 touchdowns, Isaiah Pead 806 yards rushing, 9 TD. Big East Coach of Year: Brian Kelly.

Final outcome: Lost in Sugar Bowl 51-24 to Florida.


2017-2018 Xavier basketball
Record: 27-4. Coach: Chris Mack. Big East regular season champs. NCAA tournament No. 1 seed in West. 3rd in AP rankings. Leading scorer: Trevon Bluiett 19.3.

Final outcome: Lost in 2nd round of NCAA tournament.


2007-2008 Cincinnati Cyclones

Record: 55-12-5. Coach: Chuck Weber. The team finished the regular season with 115 points, earning the Brabham Cup as ECHL regular season champs. Set ECHL record for a single-season winning streak of 15 consecutive games. Weber was named ECHL coach of the year. David Desharnais won Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, was the ECHL's leading scorer with 29 goals and 77 assists for 106 points. Desharnais set the ECHL record with an assist in 18 consecutive games. Chad Starling won the award for the highest plus/minus rating. 

Final outcome: Won Kelly Cup championship, beat Las Vegas Wranglers, 4-2. Won cities first championship since 1990 Reds and seventh hockey championship.

1976 Moeller Crusaders football

Record: 10-0. Coach: Gerry Faust. Outscored 490-40. Part of Buddy LaRosa High School Hall of Fame class. Three LaRosa’s Hall of Famers were part of that team -- Faust, QB Tim Koegel and LB Bob Crable. The offense also featured all-state end Dave Condeni and running backs Bob Massong and Steve Givens.

Final outcome: The first of Moeller's five national championship teams between 1976 and 1982 and the first for Faust.  “This is the best team we’ve ever had,” Faust said after the state title game.

2003 St. Ursula high school volleyball team

Record: 29-0. Coach: Julie Perry (LaRosa’s Hall of Fame). Ranked No. 1 in the nation the entire year. This team featured LaRosa’s Hall of Famer in Bryn Kehoe, who was one of four seniors who played collegiately. Kehoe (Stanford), Beth Shelton (Virginia), Beth Gillming (Maryland) and Erin Schroeder (Dayton).

Final outcome: State champions.

2018 Deer Park basketball

Record: 27-0. Coach: Steve Gentry. Averaged 83.7 points per game.Led by senior guard Damani McEntire (19.5), senior forward Jalen Rose (13.8), sophomore guard Mark Wise (16.8), junior forward Ibrahima Athie (8.9) and sophomore point guard Steven Gentry Jr. (8.5).

Final outcome: State champions, 67 to 57 victory over Columbus Africentric High School to capture OHSAA District III State Championship. 

First ever unbeaten state champion from Hamilton County.

2018 FC Cincinnati

Record: 23 wins, 3 losses, 8 draws, 77 points. Coach Alan Koch. Number one overall seed in USL playoffs. Just three losses in 34 matches....just one road loss. Set USL record for most consecutive games without a loss (23). Went 144 days without a loss. Became the first team in USL history to claim four 10+ goal scorers in a single season. Emmanuel Ledesma (16), Nazmi Albadawi (11), Danni König (11) and Corben Bone (11). Ledesma set the USL record for single-season assists (16). Goals for: 72. Goals allowed: 34. Goal differential +38.

Final outcome: Lost in USL Cup Eastern Conference Semifinals.

2021 UC football
Record: 13-0. Coach Luke Fickell. AAC Champions. CFB Playoffs. First 'Group of Five' school to make playoffs. Beat No. 9 Notre Dame in South Bend.
Desmond Ridder, AAC Offensive Player of the Year. Sauce Gardner, All-American, AAC Defensive Player of the Year. Points scored per game: 36.9 (No. 11). Point allowed per game: 16.9 (No. 5). Nine players drafted.

Final outcome: Lost in CFB playoff semifinals to Alabama.

2023 Moeller soccer
Record: 17-0. Coach Mike Welker. Ranked No. 1 in the country by United Soccer Coaches. OHSAA record for shutouts. Allowed state record one goal.
Ohio DI Player of the Year (Bradley Poppell), two first-team all-state selections (Poppell and Mason Cooper) and a second-team all-state player (Maddox Miller).

Final outcome: Lost on penalty kicks in the state championship game.

2023 FC Cincinnati
Record: 20 wins, 5 losses, 9 draws, 69 points. Won Supporter's Shield for best record in MLS. Coach of Year: Pat Noonan. MVP: Lucho Acosta. Defender of Year: Matt Miazga. Acosta and Miazga named MLS Best XI, MLS Save of the Year: Roman Celentano, MLS Goal of the Year: Acosta. Finished the regular season allowing just 10 goals in the second half this season, the second-fewest in MLS history. +27 goal difference in the second half the fourth best all-time. Across all competitions, 17-2-5 at TQL Stadium with a 14-2-5 record against MLS teams this season across all competitions. Goals for: 57. Goals allowed: 39. Goal differential: +18.

Final outcome: TBD


1981 Cincinnati Reds
Record: 66-42. Manager: John McNamara. Best record in MLB. 35-21 1st half. 31-21 2nd half. Record of 23-10 in 1-run games.

Final outcome: Did not make the playoffs due to a player's strike/decision to split the season into two halves, with 1st half division winners and 2nd half division winners making the postseason. Finished 0.5 games back of the Dodgers in the 1st half and 0.5 games back of Astros in the 2nd half.

(All records are regular season records and do not include postseason runs)

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