The Cincinnati Bearcats and Miami (OH) RedHawks play every year for the Victory Bell. The series dates back to 1888 when the game resulted in a 0-0 tie. For almost every year since then the two programs have met on the gridiron. All time Miami leads the series 59-58-7 but recently the Bearcats have dominated. They’ve had the Victory Bell for 14 straight years and 17 out of the last 20. Miami (OH) had five solid years to beat UC in the Tuberville era and even when the Bearcats were basement dwellers the RedHawks couldn’t muster a win. The current agreement with Miami (OH) isn’t set to expire until 2029. That means we have 8 more years to watch the UC Bearcats pulverize the RedHawks. Will Miami ever be competitive again? I would argue no. The two programs are on two different trajectories and its time to cut this game loose.
Thanks to Covid the MAC did not play football this season. For the first time since 1908, that’s 112 years, Cincinnati and Miami did not play each other on the football field and no one noticed.
Why Drop Miami (OH) from the Schedule?
Do they have fans? I can honestly say I’ve only met one Miami fan in my life. His name was Mike and he was a Miami alum. He said he made it to a Victory Bell game “every once in a while.” Have you been to a game in Oxford? No one shows up, the place is empty except for Bearcats fans.
The University of Cincinnati doesn’t owe Miami anything.
When’s the last time you’ve been to a “Battle for the Victory Bell” game and thought “this game is one of the biggest of the season?”
Outside of Ben Roethlisberger name your most hated Miami player or coach. I can’t…
Playing a game that can’t fill Nippert at 40,000 seat capacity stadium shouldn’t be played in PBS, an 80,000 seat capacity stadium every three years. It was a step in the right direction at the time sure but agreeing to that for 10 years might have been a reach. Additionally, at this point the Bearcats should not have to make a trip to Oxford either. We wouldn’t schedule a home-and-home with Austin Peay and Miami (OH) is more Peay than anything else.
How many people know about this game? Luke Fickell, one of the biggest Ohio football guys there is has said on numerous occasions he had no idea that the two teams even played or anyone thought this game was a big deal.
The game isn’t a rivalry, it’s a tradition. Is it cool to say that the Bearcats and Redhawks have played since Grover Cleveland was president? Yes, but like it or not UC’s rival doesn’t have a football team and we’re not in the same conference so we only get them one time a year either at 5/3 or Cintas. The absence of a true football rivalry isn’t filled with Miami (OH).
On top of all that, the spot on the schedule could be better utilized. Let’s take a look at the schedule for the remainder of the 2020’s.
The Bearcats have some decent competition coming up this decade. Ohio State, Notre Dame, Indiana, and Boise State to name a few. We’ll call those top tier P5 programs. Those are hard to come by for UC. I get that. Willing to travel to those places without getting a return game helps and for myself making road trips to those stadiums are a fun experience. Obviously, UC AD John Cunningham should continue to try to get those when he can and having more flexibility on the schedule would help do that.
Next, let’s look at the mid P5 programs UC has scheduled. Nebraska, Pitt, and NC State are all nice to have on the schedule. One would think they’re not as hard to schedule as the top tier P5s. You could argue UCLA should be in this category too.
We also have the bottom P5 programs like Arkansas (they suck right now). There are plenty of other examples too. Rutgers, Syracuse, Kansas, Georgia Tech, Wake Forrest, Washington State, Arizona, and Vanderbilt all fall into this category in my opinion. These are the programs Cunningham should target to replace Miami (OH) on the schedule going forward. In the current system these games benefit the Bearcats more than one against a MAC school.
Look at 2026. The Bearcats have Ohio, Western Kentucky, and Miami (OH). That’s not getting anyone anywhere. Running through those teams will get zero respect which plays right into my argument, drop the RedHawks, the Bearcats will be better off for it.
If you’re in love with keeping the RedHawks on the schedule for tradition I’ll meet you in the middle. If you look at the 2022 schedule the Bearcats have Arkansas, Indiana, and Miami (OH) in the non-conference. I actually really like this approach. Keep the RedHawks as the first game of the season, the warm-up, and the schedule the P5s to round out the schedule. This seems to be a good compromise as long as we play the game in Nippert every year.
You might be completely against this idea or maybe your augment is that if UC could schedule better then they would. I’ll admit, looking at the upcoming non-conference schedule above the schedule looks really good most years but if we’ve learned anything from going 9-0, winning the AAC Championship and blowing out most teams in the conference, it’s that it wasn’t good enough to even be in the conversation for the CFP as the Bearcats ended #8, below 3-loss Florida and 2-loss Oklahoma.
For the last game hand out small replica Victory Bells like the Keg of Nails but put the Victory Bell in the trophy case inside the Linder Center and keep it locked.