It's weird to talk about moral victories for a team that has been to back-to-back BCS games.
But even though Cincinnati fell to 1-3 with a loss to Oklahoma on Saturday, that might have been the most encouraging development of the season for the Bearcats.
They were huge underdogs coming into this game but lost just 31-29. If not for a missed extra point in the first half -- and how many times do those come back to bite a team? -- the Bearcats would have had a chance to go for two and tie the game in the final minute.
But it wasn't just the missed PAT, as they also failed to cash in on some great scoring chances earlier that would have put them ahead.
Regardless, it was quite a showing for the fans at Paul Brown Stadium against the nation's No. 8 team. Zach Collaros finally looked like the player everybody expected him to be, with 305 yards passing and three touchdowns. The Bearcats had only scored 33 total points in their first two games against FBS opponents.
As I tweeted earlier, the way NC State played Saturday at Georgia Tech makes the Bearcats' road loss in Raleigh not look so bad. A 1-3 start isn't what anyone expected or wanted, but if Cincinnati is starting to improve and adjust to Butch Jones' system, Saturday's loss may come to be seen as a turning point in this season.