Fickell Year 3
We’re 100 days out until the start of Bearcats football. The 2019 UC Bearcats football schedule has been out for a while now and it’s high time we take a look into the schedule, measure expectations, and gauge the optimism going into this season. The 2019 football Bearcats might be the best show in town this sports season, at least that’s the expectation. The Bearcats might find themselves in an awkward scenario as they finished last season 11-2 and are expected to have a better team but possibly a record that doesn’t reflect it because of the strength of schedule. I would like to disagree.
The game by game breakdown:
UCLA 8/29 – UCLA will enter year two of the Chip Kelly era. An era that got off to a rocky start last season after losing to the Bearcats early on and finishing the season at a dismal 3-9. Last year I said the Bearcats would have to play up to win the game. Take away one big play from the UCLA offense and the Bearcats were in control most of the game. Nippert is a burial ground for big name programs, UCLA will have a similar fate. 1-0
@Ohio State 09/7 – Face it.
Miami (OH) 9/14 – Win. 3-0
@Marshall 9/28 – The Thundering Herd had a good year last season finishing 9-4 capped off with a Gasparilla Bowl win over USF, basically a home game for the Bulls. Marshall always plays UC tough with the last bout coming in 2017 when the Thundering Heard won 38-21. The Heard will meet their match this season though as talent wins out. 4-0.
UCF 10/4 – The Knights have been the top dog in the AAC the past two seasons. Finishing undefeated in 2017 and 12-1 in 2018. The Bearcats went down to Orlando last year for ESPN’s College Gameday and things got hairy pretty quickly. The Bearcats return at least seven starters on both sides of the ball and the Knights star QB is still recovering from a gruesome leg injury. Nip at Night will be in full effect this Friday night. win. 5-0 and look for the Bearcats to shoot up the rankings.
@Houston 10/12 – Last season the Cougars were hot and cold. They dominated Arizona, got in a shoot out with Texas Tech, and lost, and then lost big to Army in the Armed Forces Bowl (70-14). They finished 8-5 and tied atop of the AAC West at 5-3 although Memphis edged them out for a spot in the title game. Many media outlets are looking for Houston to take the next step this year. The Bearcats and Cougars didn’t meet on the gridiron last year which helps make this matchup up one of the key games in the American. This has the same feeling at the Temple game last year. 5-1.
Tulsa 10/19 – The Golden Hurricane (singular) had a rough season in 2018. Tulsa finished 3-9. A huge jump is not in their foreseeable future. Win. 6-1
@ECU 11/2 – The Bearcats beat the brakes off of ECU last year in Nippert 56-6. The basketball team might have dropped one in Greensville but the football Bearcats will handle their business. 7-1
UConn 11/9 – This is basically the equivalent of when the SEC schedules some buy game late in the year. Win. 8-1
@USF – 11/16 – The sky is falling in Tampa or at least it was in the second half of last year. After starting the 2018 football season 7-0 the Bulls lost their next 6 games. Including their bowl game to Marshall. Look for the Bulls to bounce back some but still finish in the middle of the division. 9-1.
Temple 11/23 – Playing the Owls at home this season really favors the Bearcats. Last year they went to Philadelphia and dropped the ball, quite literally, and lost the game. The first four minutes of that game were horrendous. The last 4 minutes of that game, the overtime, was just as bad. This will be a close one with the edge going to the Bearcats playing at home. The Owls have won the last four meetings. The Bearcats change that this year. 10-1
@Memphis 11/29 – Memphis put up a hell of a fight against UCF last year in AAC Championship game. They ended the season 8-6 win a loss in the Birmingham Bowl against Wake Forest. Some how, the Bearcats and Tigers haven’t played each other in two seasons. The Tigers own a three game win streak over the Bearcats as well. Expect this one to be a dog fight. 10-2.
With the way the schedule works out I have the Bearcats claiming the American Athletic East Division and their first Championship game birth in this conference. Houston or Memphis would likely be the team they face. Both are projected losses for the Bearcats in the regular season and it’s hard to beat the same team twice.
Bearcats are AAC champions. 11-2