Breaking Down the 2018 Football Schedule

Fickell Year 2


Earlier this week the complete 2018 football scheduled was released by the American. In a turbulent week in basketball it was looked at and tabled for later discussion because the basketball bearcats were on a tear. After Sunday though I need to take my mind elsewhere. I’m not discarding the Basketball Bearcats yet I just need a timeout and recoup before we thrash UConn on Thursday. I thought it a fitting time to look ahead to football season in a very early schedule breakdown and prediction for the season.

Luke Fickell and company are in year 2 in Clifton and are out to prove they can run a successful program. Last year we saw the Bearcats finish 4-8 and miss bowl season for the second year in a row. The coaching staff has a couple new faces, some that may be familiar like former player Mike Mickens.

The highlight of last year was easily beating Miami (OH) for the 12 straight year in one of the more dramatic finishes in college football last year. Unfortunately, beating Oxford is a highlight now.

I traveled to Ann Arbor last season to watch the Bearcats take on Michigan, I figured we’d finish at least bowl eligible after watching that game. (Shows what I know)

The schedule this year features all but one Saturday game which is awesome and the traditional post Thanksgiving home game that always promises to never be that exciting, unless we’re playing for bowl eligibility.

At UCLA 9/1 – UCLA is under newly signed head coach Chip Kelly. They finished last year at 6-7, This will be his first game as a Bruin and first coached game in a couple of seasons since being booted out of the NFL. Still UC will have to play up in this game, much like the Michigan game last year. The Cats will keep it close but I can’t call it a W. They’ll drop this one in Sunny Loss Angeles. (See what I did there).

At PBS v Miami (OH) 9/8 – The Redhawks finished 5-7 last year and I’d bet the farm the Bearcats beat the Redhawks for the Victory Bell again. They had their chance to win it last year and blew it. The bell will ring out in Red and Black again. Win.

Alabama A&M 9/15 – 4-7 last year. Usually the warm up game for the season. Win.

Ohio U 9/22 – I know much about the Bobcats except they finished last year at 9-4 and lost one to Kansas. That hurts. Win

At UConn 9/29 – 3-9 last season. We squeaked one out last year winning 22-21. Bearcats win again.

Tulane 10/6 – 5-7 last season and another team we beat in a thriller. This one ended with Tulane missing a chip shot field goal as time expired. Win

At Temple 10/20 – They finished last season at 7-6. This one will be a close one in my opinion. I think we upset Temple in Philly this year. Win.

At SMU 10/27 – Finished 7-6 in 2017. If we don’t beat Temple we have to win in Dallas. Another toss up like the Temple game. Loss.

Navy 11/3 Finished 7-6 last year too. The triple option destroyed us last year, like Navy put up all time rushing yards against us. Even if we’re 50% better against them I think they still win. Loss.

USF 11/10 – Finished 10-2. I don’t think we’re there yet. Loss.

At UCF 11/17 Finished 13-0, beat Auburn and are the self declared National Champions. They did lose their head coach to Nebraska, a move I don’t understand. The money is more important than climate I guess. Who wants to spend the awesome years on college in Nebraska? Any way I look for UCF to fall off somewhat this year but not that much. Loss.

ECU 11/23 by this time the sky will be falling in Cincinnati because the Bearcats could be on 4 game losing streak. The Pirates finished 3-9 but dominated us last year in a 48-20 stomping. Bearcats bounce back this year though. Win.

So that total puts us at 7-5 which would be a vast improvement for Coach Fickell and his football Bearcats and put us back in the bowl season in what seems like forever.

A Toast to the Keg of Nails

As Smellabama and Georgia battle it out tonight for second place in the world of college football, (Congratulations to the Knights of Central Florida on their National Championship!) I thought it a fitting time to take a look back to give a toast to the best trophy game trophy in college football that is no more. The Keg of Nails.

As an undergrad I never missed a game against Louisville at Historic Nippert Stadium. From 2007 (when I arrived in Clifton) to its final game in 2013 the game for the Keg never disappointed. The game was first played in 1929 and over the course of its tenure the Cincinnati Bearcats owned the series 30-22-1. The team to raise the trophy at the end of the game had to be “as tough as nails”, hence the name. No one knows for sure if the keg was ever actually filled with nails and thanks to the University of Louisville we’ll never know because they lost the original trophy because, well they suck.

Kegs, football, and college go together like nothing else in America. Because of that this game certainly cemented itself as one of the best in college football history. Not only was it played over the span of 84 years but it also transcended 5 conferences.Ā Ā It stretchedĀ  from theĀ Missouri Valley Conference, to the Metro Conference toĀ Conference USA, and more recently in theĀ Big East Conference and finally where it met its demise in the American Athletic Conference with Louisville jumping ship for the ACC.

When the Cardinals came to town you could expect the hate to spew over from both fan bases. Louisville fans were plentiful for those games and I can remember several incidents of fists flying in the stands and beer being spilled everywhere, including one specific occasion a Louisville fan spilled/threw beer all over my little sister who was still in high school at time time. Needless to say, her hate for Louisville started that day.

Recent coaches against the Cardinals: Brian Kelly 2-1, including the 2009 drubbing of Louisville ending in a final score of 41-10. Butch Jones 2-1, how he beat them twice I’ll never know. Then there’s the one shot that Tommy T had for the Cincinnati Bearcats to keep the keg, maybe till the end of time. He went 0-1. This game was an all timer though. It took a dramatic overtime finish forĀ #19 Louisville to beat the Bearcats in a thriller at Historic Nippert 31-24. They even gave out mini kegs at the end of the game.

I don’t see the Bearcats and Cardinals picking this one back up anytime soon which is unfortunate because Louisville hate week was only second to the one dedicated to Norwood U.