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Paycor Stadium Ended the Battle for the Bell

Syndication: The Enquirer Stephanie Scarbrough/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

There is no more rivalry between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Miami Redhawks. Just take a look at the student sections from last Saturday’s game if there is any doubt. Maybe back in the 90’s or early 2000’s when Miami fielded competitive teams and Cincinnati was just starting to navigate their football program, this rivalry meant something to the fans of both schools, but this game is about as important to both fanbases as Keeping Up With The Kardashians is to Nick Saban. I feel like the millionth person to say this on the internet this week, but this game shouldn’t be played yearly, and definitely should never be hosted at Paycor stadium again.

On game day, my friends and I had to wake up at eight in the morning for the noon kickoff. While some people reading this may think waking up at eight is sleeping in, for college students, that’s basically asking us to wake up at five in the morning to run five miles after a Friday night out at the bars.

My friend’s parents picked us up at 9:30 because they bought a tailgate spot outside Paycor Stadium. Another gripe against this last Saturday was the scheduling of parents’ weekend. I understand the reasoning behind making parents weekend the same weekend against Miami because a lot of Cincinnati students also have siblings that attend Miami, but no parent wants to visit Cincinnati and have to go downtown at 9:30 for a noon kickoff at Paycor Stadium. Parents want to come back to college and experience a weekend as if they were a kid again but forcing parents to do that anywhere besides the college’s campus shouldn’t happen.

The use of the Bengals home for Bearcat football games usually isn’t ideal for traffic but having a marathon and Oktoberfest on the same day as well doesn’t really help. When we finally reached downtown, there was no signage or traffic instructions on how to get to our tailgate spot. We spent 30 minutes circling the streets of downtown Cincinnati until a police officer finally pointed us in the right direction.

When we got to the parking lot gate, the parking attendant scanned the ticket on my friend’s parent’s phone and pointed us to where we wanted to head. We went out of the parking lot and into our tailgate lot, but when the attendant for that area scanned the phone, he said the pass was already scanned. Clearly. When we explained our situation, he wouldn’t budge on his stance and wouldn’t let us in even though our pass still worked, it just didn’t scan. He said the parking attendant at the other gate should have given us a pass to put on our dashboard, but I couldn’t understand how that was our fault that someone else didn’t do their job. We were frustrated and tired, but it got worse.

We turned around and headed back to the garage where we had just come through, but when we tried to get back in, the parking attendant working wouldn’t let us. She repeated the same thing the attendant for the tailgate area said to us and made us pay $40 dollars to get back in. It was the most frustrating hour I had ever been a part of, and the system set up for Paycor parking was horrendous. I can’t imagine how bad it is when the Bengals play, but I’m probably never going to find out because that experience alone made me never want to go back to Paycor stadium again, and I don’t believe I’m alone in saying that.

The game was boring. It’s expected that the Bearcats blow out the Redhawks every time they play, so when the game is close, fans are more frustrated than excited to be watching a good game. When Cincinnati was only up by 14 at the end of the third quarter, fans quickly headed towards the exits, even when there was still time left for Miami to make a run. The media timeouts were long and frequent, but between the down time in the game there was barely any music or fun experiences for the fans. Also, the sense of both fanbases not being the true home team made the atmosphere feel weird, and even the UC student section, while packed, didn't feel the same as it usually does at Nippert Stadium. It was boring and extremely hot with the temperature almost reaching 90. I’m a diehard Bearcat, so any football game they play in is fun to me, but Saturday’s game was draining.

This rivalry is dead. Cincinnati fans view this game as a should-be blowout while Miami fans probably didn’t even know who they were playing. With Cincinnati headed to the Big 12 next year, and the talent gap becoming even more drastic, I can’t see Miami ever making this game competitive again. Maybe they’ll get lucky every 10 years to beat Cincinnati, but with the UCF Knights emerging as a new rival and the West Virginia Mountaineers sitting in waiting for the Bearcats next year, there’s no need to force this “rivalry” for years to come, and especially not at Paycor Stadium.