It’s official, on December 27th at 1:00 pm on ESPN the Bearcats will be in Annapolis, Maryland, to play in the Military Bowl, otherwise known as “the Babcock Bowl.” The Virginia Tech Hokies (6-6) will meet the AAC champion Cincinnati Bearcats (9-3) in the 34,000-seat Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
- Location: Annapolis, Md.
- Stadium: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium; 34,000
- Last year’s score: Marshall 31, Maryland 20
- Last year’s attendance: 30,163
- Last year’s TV rating: 1.7
- Last year’s payout for each school: $500,000
- Team with the most all-time appearances: Maryland (2)
- Team with the most all-time wins: Maryland, Marshall, San Jose State, Toledo, UCLA, Wake Forest – all with 1
Babcock Connection: Tech hired Whit Babcock as its athletic director last January. While previously at UC, Babcock was responsible for hiring coach Tommy Tuberville and making a huge push for upgrading both the football and basketball programs. Where Babcock left off, Mie Bohn continues to push forward.
Past Meetings: This will be the eleventh meeting between Tech and the Cats in a series that dates back to 1947,which is tied 5-5. It will also be their third meeting in a bowl game as they split the earlier two meetings. Cincinnati beat Tech in the 1947 Sun Bowl and the Hokies beat the Bearcats in the 2008 Orange Bowl, which was UC’s first ever BCS appearance.
Most recently, in 2012, at FedEx Field, the Cats beat the Hokies 27-24, due to some Munchie Legaux magic on a game-winning 39-yard touchdown pass with 13 seconds to play.
Breakdown: The Hokies finished the year fifth in the ACC Coastal division. Tech lost to a common opponent in East Carolina on September 13th, 28-21, while the Cats controlled most of the game against ECU and got the W. The Hokies’ best win was of course against Ohio State facing a struggling JT Barrett and Buckeye offensive line. Tech also beat #17 Duke 17-16. Both programs lost to Miami (FL).
Tech is led by junior QB Mike Brewer, who has thrown for 2,598 yards, 17 TDs, and a costly 14 interceptions. He completed 59.5% of his passes for an average of six yards a pass. The Hokies do not stretch the field offensively through the air, but instead play boring old “Beamer ball.”
Unlike years past, Frank Beamer’s team does not have an all-star running back, but freshman Marshawn Williams and junior JC Coleman split carries and average just over four yards a carry.
The Hokies do have a great Bud Foster led defense. The Hokies will only go as far as Brewer will take them, but sophomore defensive back Kendall Fuller is a stud and future NFL player. He is of course related to “the Fuller football factory,” including Vincent, Corey and Kyle Fuller. Kendall is tied for seventh nationally with 14 pass break-ups.
Frank Beamer has an all-time bowl record of 9-12.
In sum, Virginia Tech has a great defense, but a downright anemic offense, which is also prone to turnovers.
On paper, this appears to be a very favorable matchup for the Cats, but be cautious of the mastermind Bud Foster. The Bearcats will have more than just a bitter taste in their mouth after last year’s Belk Bowl loss to North Carolina, 39-17. With nearly a month for Gunner Kiel to further improve his health and experience level, we look for UC to be well-prepared. This is also a very important, nationally televised opportunity for the University of Cincinnati to prove why they belong in a Power Five conference.
We predict a Bearcat victory. Coach Tubbs has a bowl record of 7-4. Let’s make it 8-4! Watch out for the big play. On the year, the Cats have 58 plays of 20+ yards, 29 plays of 30+ yards, 15 plays of 40+ yards, and 10 plays of 50+ yards.
By Andy Smith (Technical Writer)
Thanks for reading along! If you’re not familiar with the Bearcats Sports Radio story, beyond creating sports-related content, I am a Dad, Attorney with Graydon Head & Ritchey LLP, and a lover of all things University of Cincinnati (and America). If you ever want to connect, shoot me a DM on Twitter.