Opening day. Bengals playoff losses. Goetta. Three ways and cheese coneys. The Battle for the Victory Bell. There are certain traditions that are unique to Cincinnati.
Going to the annual Battle for the Victory Bell with my dad was as much a part of my childhood as Skyline Chili after church on Sundays. In the long-forgotten days of Cincinnati football (prior to the arrival of Mark Dantonio), the yearly struggle for the Victory Bell was the most exciting part of any Bearcat season. Back then, most Bearcat fans made the weekly trudge to Nippert because they were obligated to, purchasing their penance of season tickets for the opportunity to buy season tickets to see Huggins’ Bearcats. Even so, the game against Miami generated a fair amount of excitement. And the games used to be competitive. The Victory Bell traveled back-and-forth between Clifton and Oxford most years.
Then, a certain quarterback (hereinafter, “QB _”) enrolled at Miami University. QB _ currently plays for an NFL team in another city on the Ohio River. Please excuse me for not mentioning QB _’s name, but I was raised to not curse. For three years, the Bearcats suffered under the aerial assault of QB _. Upon his departure, though, the Bearcats quickly established their dominance. The Bearcats flourished in a new conference, and a host of new and capable coaches built the program. Since QB _’s departure (and subsequent allegations of mischief), there has only been one Miami victory. One.
Cincinnati’s win streak currently stands at 8, and it’s not likely we will see that coming to an end anytime soon. This year’s edition of the Miami Redhawks returns a host of starters. Unfortunately for the Redhawk faithful, last year’s starters ranked 125th on offense and 108th on defense, out of 125 total Division 1 FBS teams. The most notable returning name is that of running back Spencer Treadwell (notable only because he’s the son of ousted head coach, Don Treadwell).
With a notable lack of proven leadership available for new head coach Chuck Martin, the new chief in Miami has his work cut out for him. He will likely struggle to make the Redhawks competent, let alone competitive. His Redhawks have been forecasted to rank 120th out of all FBS teams, and to finish 6th (out of 6) in the MAC East conference. In other words, Miami fans wanting a quick return to the days of QB _ should not hold their breath.
Don’t get me wrong, I actually kind of want to see Miami succeed. Unlike Cincinnati’s rival on the basketball court, I have no issues rooting for the success of the Redhawks. Perhaps it’s because the Bearcats have not only staked their claim on the Redhawks at Nippert, but also at Yager stadium (UC draws around 9,000 additional fans to Yager stadium than the average Redhawk game). Or, perhaps it’s because Miami seems to have more class than our basketball nemesis…
Whatever the cause, I wouldn’t mind seeing an 11-1 Miami, as long as the Bearcats are the cause of the 1 in the loss column. And while no game, especially a game with a long-time rival, should be overlooked, I’d expect the Bearcats to capture the Victory Bell once more this September 20th.
By Guest Contributor: B. Shelley