Cincinnati Bearcats have won 14 in a row against in-state rival Miami, but still trail the all-time series 59-58 (4 ties). There has been a lot of discussion among fans about what to do with this game annually. In a twitter poll last week, 59% (of 140 people) would like to continue the series. There are some strong opinions for and against continuing this. I am on the side of canceling it.
When Cincinnati was in Conference USA, or Independent or wherever they have been conference wise, the game with Miami always made sense. But since joining the Big East, and now the AAC, the MAC has always been beneath their conference.
The gap in talent is clear and obvious. The games have certainly been close the last handful of years bet let’s chalk that up to coaching (*cough* Tuberville *cough*)
What stinks, is that with the disbanding of the Big East, natural rivals like Pittsburgh and Louisville, who both had trophies associated with them, and a team like West Virginia, no longer exist. Miami is Cincinnati’s only rivalry and the only trophy they play for. That’s often a selling point for recruits, who want to be part of rivalries and winning trophies.
Right now, the series is signed through 2029. As part of a revised contract signed a few years ago, they play every two years at three locations so 2017 was at Miami, 2018 at the Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium and 2019 at Nippert Stadium. Next year will be at Miami.
I would love to see the series continue, just maybe not annually and definitely not this rotation.
Here is my solution
- Let this game be in place of an FCS opponent. In 2019, Cincinnati did not face one, but typically they do. Open up the season against Miami in week 1 or 2 as a tune up game.
- Eliminate Paul Brown Stadium. There is no way they will ever fill up an NFL stadium for this game. Miami fans aren’t traveling in high numbers. Save Paul Brown games for a potentially special opponent (like Oklahoma in 2010).
- I’m fine with playing at Miami every once in a while. I suggest this cadence - Cincinnati, break, Cincinnati, Miami, break, Cincinnati, break. Once every 5 years, Cincinnati can travel to Oxford and throw in some breaks every 1-2 years so that this isn’t an annual game anymore.
We’ll see if either side is willing to or does take action on the future of this series. As much as I respect history, I also respect what’s best for Cincinnati and at this point in the program’s life cycle, there just isn’t much upside. They won’t get rewarded for beating Miami, only punished.