When the first game of the Battle for the Victory Bell was played in 1888, computers weren’t even in the dreams of contemporary science fiction authors. “Dune” and “Hyperion” weren’t around. Instead you had gems like “Looking Backward” by Edward Bellamy and “Flatland” by Edwin A. Abbott on bookstore shelves.
Now we can read books on little computers that fit in our hands. Technology truly is amazing. And terrifying. But mostly amazing.
The 2017 version of the Battle for the Victory Bell between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks will take place on Saturday, which isn’t that far into the future, but is still beyond our realm of sight. That’s why we must turn to our future machine overlords and get some hints about what will happen.
Before we get started, here is the disclaimer. The simulation site used (WhatIfSports.com) has not updated to include 2017 football rosters. However, with some slight tweaks, we can at least form a facsimile of the makeup of the Bearcats and the RedHawks. We can also adjust the weather, which calls for sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s on Saturday night in Oxford according to AccuWeather.com. Here are the results of five simulations.
Cincinnati 34 Miami (Ohio) 18
Mike Boone dominates the RedHawks, playing his best game of the season in his final Victory Bell bout. The Bearcat running back rushes for 103 yards and a touchdown and adds 30 yards and a score through the air. Hayden Moore is picked off twice, but throws three touchdown passes and sets a season-high with 265 passing yards. Miami throws the ball a ton, finishing with 310 passing yards with Gus Ragland powering the attack. Despite that and a 113-yard game from Ryan Smith, the RedHawks don’t get enough scoring chances to threaten the Bearcats.
Cincinnati 27 Miami (Ohio) 17
Please, please let this be how Moore plays. The Bearcats signal caller dominates, completing 20-of-31 pass attempts for 274 yards, three touchdowns and, most importantly, no interceptions. Again, Ragland throws a bunch, but the secondary jumps on his mistakes, grabbing two interceptions. Issues with the kicking game for the Bearcats continue, as Josh Pasley misses two field goal attempts.
Miami (Ohio) 20 Cincinnati 17
Moore once again plays well, until the wheels fall off in the second half when he throws one of two interceptions. The Bearcats take a 17-10 lead into the fourth quarter but give up a 23-yard touchdown pass from Ragland with 4:13 to play before Miami gets a game-winning field goal from 53 yards in the final seconds. Miami shuts down the UC run game, as the Bearcats average only 2.2 yards per rush and Boone collects all of 37 yards.
Miami (Ohio) 26 Cincinnati 14
Things looked pretty good when Moore throws a 15-yard touchdown pass to Boone in the second half, but the RedHawks come storming back, scoring 23 unanswered points, capped by a two-yard touchdown run from Alonzo Smith. It’s surprising that a running score is what ends the game, as the RedHawks only average 1.4 yards per carry. The loss means UC wastes a great showing from Boone, who accounts for 126 yards and two scores overall.
Cincinnati 49 Miami (Ohio) 23
Moore enters a Freaky Friday-type situation with Tom Brady and throws for 426 yards and seven touchdowns, spreading those scores to seven different receivers, including big-time connections with Kahlil Lewis (65 yardS), Boone (47) and Geddis (55). James Gardner catches two touchdown passes for the RedHawks, the second of which puts Miami up 16-14 with 5:11 left in the first half. However, the Bearcats answer by scoring three touchdowns before halftime and never look back.
UC opened as six-point underdogs for this rivalry matchup, but these simulations seem to point to optimism for the Bearcats. At the very least, this should be a competitive one.