Here it is. After a season of twists and turns, the Cincinnati Bearcats will battle Tulane in 8 days Friday afternoon at historic Nippert Stadium for an AAC regular-season title and an opportunity to host the conference championship game.
The game will be broadcast on ABC with the pager on 700 WLW. Dan Hoard and Jim Kelly are on the phone.
With the uncertainty at the most important position on the field in the biggest game of the year, I probably worry more before the game than I do all season the night before kickoff. Evan Prater, possibly making his first career start against a tricky Tulane defense, will do that to you.
Despite this, UC still has excellent defense and an even better unit for special teams. I think we’re getting a low-scoring slugfest, and until the Bearcats drop a game at Nippert Stadium, I’ll believe it when I see the mode. Especially since a lot of guys from this 2018 program change class want to do perfect on their home turf.
Cincinnati 20 Tulane 17
I have no idea what to expect in this game. For the past few weeks I’ve been fully expecting to select Tulane for Nippert, ending the streak and UC’s hopes for a third straight UK title. But I can not.
No matter who the quarterback is Friday, I expect the Bearcats to generate just enough offense to claim the win. Tulane picked up an impressive road win at Kansas State this year, but that was two months ago. The other big test Green Wave faced failed miserably at home against UCF. UC is better at Nippert and I expect that to be proven on Friday.
Reasons? I have none other than Luke Fickell and Nippert. Bearcats pull it out 27-24 and are hosting a third straight AAC Championship game next weekend.
I really believe this game will come down to last possession. Both defenses will come out and do their job like they’ve done all season, and with a question mark on Cincinnati’s quarterback position, I’m hoping the offense can do its job. I keep my fingers crossed here.
Cats 24 Tulane 21
So many variables. I just do not know. We held Tulane well in check a year ago, but they played without QB Michael Pratt. We really need to win on the defensive line and blow up some things, but then also stop Pratt from doing something freelance that’s hurting us. As for the Bearcats, so many things could happen. Both teams have impressive defenses that keep the score low, so I’ll say the team that limits their turnovers wins. The Nippert effect brings us the necessary additional sales.
UC 28, Tulane 21
The stakes are high for both Cincinnati and Tulane on Black Friday. I expect both teams to play their most intense football game of the year which reflects the importance of the game. My very simplified scouting report from Tulane tells me they have an excellent quarterback and extremely good coaching. But I don’t think they have the Cincinnati athlete caliber across the board. And I think at some point during the game that will be the difference PLUS my faith in Coach Fickell, especially at our home… Nippert Stadium.
Bearcats victorious in a close duel against a very good Green Wave squad… 24 to 21
This game scares me. Like a lot. The Bearcats need to break the 30 point barrier no matter who takes snaps as I think Tulane will eclipse 30 in that case. Nurturing football will be of paramount importance if Cincinnati is to protect Nippert’s winning streak. The defense must find a way to stop the run without giving up air in return. With their backs to the wall, CLF and Co. find a way.