Just like the rest of the Big East UC released the schedule for the 2011 Football season today, and here it is in all it's glory. More after the jump
|Thursday, September 1||Austin Peay||Nippert Stadium||N/A|
|Saturday, September 10||Tennessee||Neyland Stadium||N/A|
|Saturday, September 17||Akron||Nippert Stadium||N/A|
|Thursday, September 22||North Carolina State||Nippert Stadium||ESPN|
|Saturday, October 1||Miami University||Yager Stadium||N/A|
|Saturday, October 15||Louisville||Paul Brown Stadium||N/A|
|Saturday, October 22||South Florida||Raymond James Stadium||N/A|
|Saturday, November 5||Pittsburgh||Heinz Field||N/A|
|Saturday, November 12||West Virginia||Paul Brown Stadium||N/A|
|Saturday, November 19||Rutgers||Rutgers Stadium||N/A|
|Saturday, November 26||Syracuse||Carrier Dome||N/A|
|Saturday, December 3||Connecticut||Nippert Stadium||ESPN/ABC|
The first thing that jumped out to me is obviously the two games at Paul Brown. I wrote a rather lengthy and impassioned plea for the sanctity of Nippert Stadium and why it should be expanded at my old site shortly after UC announced that the Oklahoma game was moving to Paul Brown Stadium. I would still prefer expanding Nippert to its spatial ceiling of around 45,000 to moving a couple of games to Paul Brown each fall. But the Oklahoma game was a huge success by any metric, it was the highest attended UC Football game since the 2002 Ohio State game, UC cleared its largest single event profit in the same time period. The atmosphere was fantastic, the fans loved it, the players loved it, the boosters loved it and perhaps most importantly the recruits loved it. With UC losing a home game this year it takes a recruiting weekend off the table. But having those two games at Paul Brown will help make up for missing a game.
The other thing is that this is the most Saturday games UC has had since entering the Big East. Two Thursday night games, the season opener and the return game for last years excursion to Raleigh. I am an avowed lover of the Thursday Night experience, have been the 1995 Florida State at Virginia game, so getting a Thursday Night home game is cool by me, doubly so after missing out on one last year.
Lastly, you have to like how the schedule sets up. Three of the first four games in Nippert stadium, with the road game to Tennessee. Then the buy heading into the Battle for the Bell at Nippert West. The Louisville, @ South Florida, @ Pitt and West Virginia stretch is probably the toughest four game stretch on the season, but two of them are home games and there is a buy week after Miami and right in the middle of it. Then there is the three game North East stretch with Rutgers, Cuse and UConn. All in all not a bad schedule for UC. It isn't an easy schedule, but it is manageable enough to get a team this talented back to a bowl game.