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Cincinnati Bearcats Heading to Birmingham Bowl

Cincinnati vs Boston College in the Birmingham Bowl

NCAA Football: American Athletic Championship-Cincinnati at Memphis Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bearcats (10-3) will close out the 2019 season by playing in the Birmingham Bowl against Boston. The game will take place on January 2 at 3:00 pm (2pm CT) on ESPN at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama.

Birmingham Bowl History

Birmingham Bowl originated in 2006 and was previously branded as the PapaJohns.com Bowl, The Bearcats played in the second game in 2007, during Brian Kelly’s first season, where they beat Southern Miss.

From 2006-2010, this was the PapaJohns.com Bowl and became the BBVA Compass Bowl from 2011-2014. Since 2015, it has been known simply as the Birmingham Bowl.

The AAC (or Big East) have played in all 13 games, going 7-6. Big East won the first five games and since the formation of the AAC in 2013, the conference is just 2-4, with the only two wins coming from South Florida in 2016 and 2017. AAC is 1-3 vs SEC, 1-0 vs Big 12, and 0-1 vs ACC (Memphis lost to Wake Forest last year).

This will be the first appearance in Birmingham for Boston College.

About Boston College

Boston College fired head coach Steve Addazzio following a 6-6 season. In 6 of his 7 years as BC head coach, they won exactly 7 games. They did not play in a bowl game last year because the First Responder Bowl against Boise State was cancelled due to weather.

Eagles averaged 30.9 ppg and allowed 31.7 ppg.

Notable wins in 2019 include Virginia Tech and a win at Pitt in the finale just to get to bowl eligibility. They lost to Clemson 59-7 and than scored 58 themselves the following week in a win against Syracuse. They allowed 40+ points four times - Clemson, Notre Dame, Louisville, and Kansas. Kansas beat Boston College on the road 48-24.

Cincinnati is playing a bowl game against a team that lost to Kansas.

RB AJ Dillon is outstanding. As a team, Boston College averaged 267.8 yards rushing per game, which was 6th in the country. Dillon ran for 1,685 yards, averaging 5.3 yards per carry and 14 touchdowns.

History vs Boston College

Cincinnati is 3-4 vs Boston College. Cincy won the last meeting 24-6 in Chestnut Hill in 1997. Former NFL QB Matt Hasselbeck was the starting for Boston College. BC won the prior year at Nippert 24-17. BC won the first two games in 1961 and 1964 and also won in 1988. Cincinnati won in 1967 and 1985.

These two teams are contracted to play a home-and-home series down the road. They will play at Nippert Stadium on September 5, 2026 and at Boston College on September 18, 2027.

Other AAC Bowl Games

Navy (10-2) will play Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl. This would have been a great reward for Cincinnati. A reputable game with a long 50 year history and a real opponent. But the fact that Cincinnati played the last two weeks in Memphis was likely a huge factor to the bowl and the conference in placing Cincinnati there.

Boca Raton Bowl was a hot topic among Bearcats fans. SMU (10-2) will play FAU (C-USA Champions) in their own stadium. The idea of playing a fellow Group of Five team may be unappealing to many, even if FAU is a conference champion and finished 10-3. But for fans to spend a weekend in beautiful Boca, Florida would have been a fun pre-Christmas trip and a great reward for the players.

(Side note - I spent Thanksgiving with family in Boca and I am livid that Cincinnati is not in this game. Forget the opponent - fans would have had such a blast. There is so much to do and it truly is a beautiful city. There would have been awesome activities for the players and you’d have assumed some pool and beach time for them as well. Shame)

Military Bowl is where Temple (8-4) will play against 6-6 UNC. This game was likely never an option for Cincinnati after playing there last year. There’s no real difference between playing 6-6 UNC and 6-6 Boston College.

UCF will play in the Gasparilla Bowl, which is proof that this could have been worse. Knights went 9-3 and will play Marshall, whom the Bearcats beat 52-14.

Tulane (6-6) will Southern Miss in the Armed Forces Bowl.