The 2019 football season is approaching faster and faster as the schedules for all AAC teams were released on Thursday. The results were a mixed bag for Cincinnati fans as games got moved due to national exposure on the ESPN Networks. Whether you love Friday night college football or Saturday conference matchups in November, this schedule has everything.
To start off, Cincinnati’s home matchup against UCLA was moved up to Thursday, August 29th. This will give the Bearcats a chance to shine on national television as ESPN has picked up this game for its signature Thursday night special. Nippert Stadium should be rocking as the Bearcats hope to complete the four-game sweep of the Bruins in football and basketball.
The Bearcats then go up to Columbus to face big brother Ohio State, and if Cincinnati beats UCLA, this should hopefully be a top 25 matchup on national television. This is not only a big game for the fan base of Cincinnati, but for Luke Fickell as he faces his alma mater and former employer. With Justin Fields being granted immediate eligibility, watch out for this explosive meeting.
Games against Miami (OH) at home and Marshall in Huntington, West Virginia, cap off Cincinnati’s non-conference schedule. The Bearcats will have to be on their A-game against Marshall as they are coming off a bye week after the Victory Bell matchup. The Thundering Herd have always put up a good team under Doc Holliday, but Fickell can finally have his revenge for getting blown out against Marshall two years ago.
The revenge tour continues for Fickell as UCF comes to town Friday, October 4th. Friday night games are always tough to get fans into the seats, especially in Cincinnati, as the tradition of high school football runs deep. However, this game will be featured on an ESPN network, which will give Cincinnati more motivation to take down the defending AAC champions.
Games at Houston and against Tulsa at home round out October, but November eases out the schedule as the Bearcats travel down to ECU, face UCONN at home, USF in Tampa, celebrate Senior Day against Temple, and finish out the regular season down at Memphis on Friday after Thanksgiving. While the first half of the schedule could be brutal, the second half looks easier, but challenges still face the Bearcats.
The Bearcats will have to constantly stay on their toes as each game could be a potential slip up. The Bearcats will also get two bye weeks as new rules allows teams to integrate multiple weeks of no scheduled opponent. This will give the team plenty of in-season rest opportunities extra time to heal injuries that may occur in the regular season.
While it was disappointing to find out that the two biggest opponents on Cincinnati’s schedule have been moved to week night games, Nippert Stadium should still have an electric atmosphere. With how most teams played last year, this year’s schedule is much stronger. The Bearcats will be handed plenty of opportunities to excel in the spotlight and show the nation just how good they really are.