Championship Sunday

The Bearcats v The Man Bun: A Trilogy


I hope you set your clocks right last night (spring forward btw) because if you didn’t you’re going to miss out on an all timer today. The Cincinnati Bearcats go for their 30th win this season against the Houston Cougars. The Bearcats have the opportunity to win 30 games for the second straight season. The difference this season so far has been the regular season outright title and possibly the AAC tournament title too. A man bun stands in our way.

I’d love for Gary and Kyle to dominate this game and lead us to a W today. Throw in the game changing performaces of Cumberland and Scott with little bit of Cane to spice things up and I think we can all watch the Bearcats finally cut down some nets today.

That’s easier said then done though. The Cougs are the last team to beat the Bearcats. Houston got the better of the Bearcats in Houston winning, 67-62. It also ended the 16 game winning streak we had going at the time. We’ve sinced started a new one but you’d think the guys are ready to avenge that L, this time for a trophy and banner.

I’d also assume Man Bun is salty Gary Clark won the POY and he didn’t that might give them some extra motivation too.

Cronin was hyped for the regular season title. I can’t imagine what he’ll be like once the Bearcats beat Houston later today. I’ll have my cigar ready though, that’s for sure!

Keys to the Game

  1. Rebound. No reason why Clark and Washington should dominate this stat
  2. D up the Man Bun. Don’t let him get hot or make plays. They’ve been able to do this relatively well the first two games. Don’t skip out this time.
  3. No turnovers. It feels like the Bearcats have really improved in this category.
  4. Score. Don’t go decades without scoring.
  5. A Clark double double + Broome and Cumberland in double digits = W 

Prediction

Bearcats 63 Cougars 60

 

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). 0-1

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. 1-1

Alabama A&M 9/15 – 4-7 last year. Usually the warm up game for the season. Win. 2-1

Ohio U 9/22 – I don’t know much about the Bobcats except they finished last year at 9-4 and lost one to Kansas. That hurts. Win 3-1

At UConn 9/29 – 3-9 last season. We squeaked one out last year winning 22-21. Bearcats win again. 4-1

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 5-1

At Temple 10/20 – They finished last season at 7-6. This one will be a close one in my opinion. I don’t think we upset Temple in Philly this year. Loss. 5-2

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. Win. 6-2

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. 6-3

USF 11/10 – Finished 10-2. I don’t think we’re there yet. Loss. 6-4

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 their awesome years in college in Nebraska? Any way I look for UCF to fall off somewhat this year but not that much. Loss. 6-5

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. 7-5.

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.

 

Barrels and Bearcats

Bearcats Slay Knights Road Trip Looms


Knights. What we witnessed last night was a slaughter. I’m not even sure we’re allowed to put the footage on the internet. The Bearcats were all over UCF from start to finish. The Knights made one shot very early then went what felt like a decade without scoring again. Everyone got involved in this one. Literally, everyone scored except the three walk-ons.

Nsoseme, Williams, Scott, and company all saw major action and held their own in the route. Cronin has been talking for several weeks about getting Nsoseme more minutes because he’s been practicing well. Glad he was the first one off the bench in this one. He finished with 3 points and 4 rebounds.

Trevor Moore lead all scorers with 14 points. Washington had 13, Gary 12, and Jenifer has found his tough again and chipped in 11.

The Bearcats defense looked far improved from the effort against UConn over the weekend. The Knights shot 19% in the first half and a mere 28% for the game. The most impressive thing was the Knights went the entire game without making one 3 pointer. Just as UCF thought they had an open look from 3 Gary Clark closed out blocked it and …

It was a rough night to be a Knight.

We can’t forget the beer of the game.

The Gauntlet Part 2.¬†The Bearcats went 2-2 in the first Gauntlet losing to X and Florida and beating UCLA and Miss St. We are now at the beginning of the second one of the season. The next four games are at SMU, at Houston, #22 Wichita State at home and UConn at home. One big difference between the two stretches are now, it’s late in the season and we’re #6 in the country. Teams are hungry for a resume booster and we’re it. In college sports if we have to lose I’d prefer to lose early. People tend to forget and beatings fade with time. Play defense, hit the open shots, and keep winning.

Next up is SMU. The Evil Empire. The Bane of the Bearcats Existence. The ‘Cats slayer. Too much? You get the idea. It’s that time of year where SMU pops up on our schedule for the second time, at Moody. For the past couple of seasons the Ponies have had our number when they play host. Moody isn’t an easy place to win if you’re a visitor and no one knows that better than Coach Cronin. This will be the third time in five years where we play at SMU at this exact same point in the season. We’ve been ranked #11 or higher in each of those two games. All I know is Sunday at 4pm on ESPN the Bearcats better be ready to bring it.

Top 5.¬†Both #5 Xavier and #4 Michigan State squeaked by and won last night. The Spartans next game is Saturday against #3 Purdue. The Boilermakers have to make it past #14 OSU first. (Go OSU? That’s weird to say.) If the Bearcats keep this in season winning streak alive we can only move up in the polls. While Xavier outlasted Butler last night the Dawgs get another opportunity at a top 5 team on Saturday when they play at #1 Nova. #2 Virginia plays hose to Virginia Tech as well.

UPDATE

Top 5 Collapses. Last night we saw a .500 St. John’s beat #1 Villanova and #3 Purdue get beat by #14 OSU. All the Bearcats have to do is win on Saturday and they’ll more than likely arrive in the top 5. A task easier said than done.

Beer of the American Athletic Conference

Must Try Breweries of the AAC

People say a lot of things about the American Athletic Conference. Some say, like those within the conference, that it’s a Power 6. Others insist it’s a Group of 5. “The football is sub par, the basketball isn’t competitive.” What’s the Big 12 doing? Does the Big 12 know what it’s doing? No one really wanted to go to Iowa that many times anyway. While March draws closer we’ll have to wait to see how many teams get a bid to the Big Dance but UCF was the National Champions in football, went undefeated, and dominated Auburn so take that.

Regardless of all of those talking points out of the American one of the things AAC fans should be talking about is some of the cool cities we can travel to for away games. I mean New¬† Orleans, Memphis, Cincinnati, and Orlando all have great things to offer traveling fans.(So let’s decide to have the AAC Tournament in Hartford, CT almost every year! More on that at another time.)

So for you traveling Bearcats fans, or any fans traveling to watch your team in the American we thought you should know which places in each city to stop and grab a pint or six of local deliciousness. We researched and put together a formula and picked out one brewery in each city for you to make sure you visit on your next road trip to watch your team. The formula? Beer Advocate rating + Untappd Rating + a bonus for close proximity to campus (for easy navigation) = making it on this list + a double bonus if we’ve already had beer from or have been to one of these breweries.

Here we go:

Annapolis, MD – Navy

Chesapeake Brewing Co.¬†If you’re in town good luck against the triple option. I’d check this place out before you get ran all over. It’s one of the few places in the area that brews their own beer and has a good selection of food. Their owner is a graduate of the Naval Academy. If I’m there I’m definitely trying the Oyster Stout and of course the BEAT¬† ARMY Golden Lager. They host a handful of events through out the year. Patrons had good things to say about this one too.

“Great brewery with good selection of brews, owner and family are super nice people. A must if you are visiting Annapolis.”

Cincinnati, OH – University of Cincinnati

Rhinegeist. It was hard picking one brewery from the hometown but if one brewery captures the city best I think it’s this one. Located in Over-The-Rhine it’s a short drive to campus. The building and architecture is a must see and the beer is top notch. They host all kinds of crazy events to days featuring animals from the Cincinnati Zoo and a wild German Costume contest you’d have to see to believe. I’d also venture to say Rhinegeist is one of the best in state of Ohio. I suggest you have a Truth.

Dallas, TX – Southern Methodist University

Peticolas Brewing Co.¬†In its first year of operations, Peticolas Brewing Company won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) for its¬†Royal Scandal, an English pale ale, a second one a year later for its Great Scot! A Scottish Ale, and a silver medal for¬†It‚Äôs Always Something, a Belgian Strong Ale in their third year. So what does that mean? It means they have some awesome beer available for you to try the next time you’re in Dallas!

Greenville, NC – East Carolina University

Trolling Wood Taproom & Brewery.¬†This microbrewery has a pretty cool history. They’re housed in a completely remodeled building that dates back to 1924. The brewer is a graduate of ECU and they operate on a 3 Bbl system, which is basically the smallest system you can have for a commercial operation. What does that mean? Small batch beer that comes out just the way you want it every time. They have a solid patio and live music regularly. It looks like locals love this place which is always a good sign.

“Awesome brewery. I had a great experience here. Owner/brewer is super friendly and knows his beer. The beer was great and the atmosphere was really chill. If you are a beer geek and you don’t hit this brewery up when you are in Greenville, you are missing out.”

Houston, TX – University of Houston

Spindletap Brewery.¬†When you think of Texas what do you think of? … I think of high school football, the beard of James Hardin, and Oil. The last of which is where this brewery finds its heritage and start. Just read the story on their website. They have all all star line up of beers that they can and serve up fresh in the tap room. Special events and food trucks are there all the time. It isn’t Texas Tea, it’s better, it’ Texas craft beer done right.

Memphis, TN – University of Memphis

Ghost River Brewing Co.¬†Memphis, TN is a cool place to visit. It gets called a more tame New Orleans and while I don’t know about all that it is serving up some great beer. Memphis beer is also very interesting because every brewery there uses water from the¬†The Memphis Sand Aquifer because it is purified naturally through 850 feet of fine sand and natural quartz. How cool is that? Ghost River cans or bottles some of its beers too so if it’s football season load up before heading out to tailgate.

New Orleans, LA – Tulane University

Parleaux Beer Lab. With everything there is to do in New Orleans make sure to add this to your itinerary before you forget you made one and can’t remember where Bourbon St is anymore. (Hint: you’re already on Bourbon St.)¬† This¬†micro-brewery is located in the Bywater community in New Orleans. They have an ever changing beer line up on the taps because this place really is a beer laboratory. They love to experiment!

“This is a really great craft brewery. Great beer selection, chill atmosphere, and a fantastic patio. I’m from Atlanta but if I was local I have a feeling this would be a regular stop.”

Orlando, FL – University of Central Florida

Ellipsis Brewing.¬†Now if you’re a basketball fan this is an important one because the 2018 AAC basketball tournament is hosted by UCF. When you’re there stop by this place. It’s probably the most recently opened brewery on the list but that shouldn’t discourage you. It’s a two story building that houses a 10 Bbl system.¬† They’re already very popular and have added a stronghold of beer in a newly found beer scene in Orlando. They’re a quick drive from the airport and offer a wide variety of beer.

“Came from out of town expecting an average brewery with average beer and I was blown away. Great brews, great staff and felt right at home. A definite must visit!!!”

Philadelphia, PA – Temple University

Crime and Punishment Brewing Co.¬†This place is cool and it’s located in Philly’s Brewerytown neighborhood. Seems fitting doesn’t it? The beers are unique and the food is Russian inspired.¬†This place aims to mix the once great local brewing tradition with the new age of craft beer techniques and ¬†international influences. They’ve brewed a little known style of beer they call The Grod Inquisitor. Grodziskie, they say “the beer¬† originates from 14th century Poland and is brewed with 100% oak smoked wheat, and is often soured. They utilize a technique called kettle souring to achieve this desired subtle tartness. Smells of smoked ham and alfalfa bring way to a taste of cloud like sausage lemonade, which finishes with a crisp, dry airiness similar to a brisk wind blowing through your arm hair.”

Stoors, CT – University of Connecticut

Willimantic Brewing Co. I wasn’t sure what I’d find in looking for a brewery in the area but with a short drive from Stoors down to Willimantic you’ll find this brewery housed in an old US Post Office from 1909 to 1967 it sat empty for 30 years until they showed up and started brewing. They brew on a 7 Bbl system and produce a lot of good beer. You’ll feel at home in a cozy atmosphere add some food and you’ll never want to leave. They serve up some award winning chili.

Tampla, FL – University of South Florida

Cigar City Brewing.¬†The first of two of the best breweries in the world on our list.¬†Yeah you can visit 2 of the top 100 breweries in the world by traveling with your team in the American. This place promotes its self as inventive and it certainly is. With beers like¬†Berliner-style Weisse with Cherries and Lime, a¬†Brown Ale with Lactose and Jameson Barrel-rested Coffee, and¬†Double Barrel-aged Imperial Pumpkin Ale. This place knows what it’s doing and is a must stop the next time you’re in Tampa.

Tulsa, OK – University of Tulsa

Prairie Artisan Ales.¬†This was another one I wasn’t sure what we’d find until I remembered this awesome brewery. They can and distribute so odds are you don’t have to travel to far to find one. I just had Bomb! on Saturday (It was top notch) but if you’re in Tulsa look no further than this place. It’s the second of two places on this list that made the Rate Beer list of Best Breweries in the World list for 2015! That alone makes this place a must visit. Be on the look out for their cans and bottles the artwork on them are second to none.

Wichita, KS РWichita State  University

Central Standard Brewing.¬†You have to seek this place out. It has a chill atmosphere, board games if you want to play with friends or kick back and relax on some retro furniture or on the open patio good for all sorts of things. They use an oak fermentation vessel which is pretty unique. I don’t know if I’ve seen another place do that but I could be and probably am wrong. You can get anything from a crisp pilsner or a truly unique Saison¬†Brett aged on blackberries and French oak.

 

As always we put together a Wish List of one beer from each of these breweries on our Untappd profile (TheBeercat1) for easy findings.

Have you already visited some of these breweries? Let us know how they were with a comment or a reply on twitter.