Cincinnati Bearcats

Getty Images

Cincinnati, Western Michigan ink home-and-home series

Leave a comment

Cincinnati and Western Michigan have agreed to a 2-game home-and-home series, it was announced Monday.

The Bearcats will host WMU on Sept. 12, 2020, and Western Michigan will host Cincinnati on Sept. 10, 2022.

The programs have met three times prior. Cincinnati and Western Michigan also played a home-and-home in 1949-50; the Bearcats won both games by scores of 27-6. Cincinnati also won their meeting in the 2007 International Bowl in Toronto,  a 27-24 triumph.

Cincinnati already has road games lined up with Miami (Ohio) and Nebraska in 2020, with a Sept. 5 opener still to fill. Considering the Bearcats already have two MAC opponents and a Big Ten trip lined up, that game will almost certainly be a home game and likely against an FCS opponent. In 2022, Cincinnati will host Indiana and play Miami (Ohio) at the Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium, with their Sept. 3 opener still unfilled.

Western Michigan also has a road trip to Notre Dame on the schedule for Sept. 19, 2020, and does not have any other games slated for 2022.

AAC 2018 season kicks off with Civil ConFLiCT

Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Defending American Athletic Conference champion UCF will kick off their conference title defense on August 30 when they visit UConn in the conference and season opener for both teams. The Civil ConFLiCT is the first game on the 2018 conference schedule released by the AAC on Tuesday. The conference will play a series of Thursday night games on national TV and will hold the conference championship game on Saturday, December 1. Kickoff times and television schedules will be decided at a later time, for the most part.

The AAC will continue to play an eight-game conference schedule with each team playing five games against division opponents and three games against teams from the opposing division. The conference championship game will be played at the top division champion’s campus at the end of the season just as it has the previous three seasons. The annual Army-Navy Game, which of course involves AAC member Navy, will continue to be played the week following the AAC championship game (Dec. 8).

The AAC’s Thursday night schedule will begin on September 20 with Temple hosting Tulsa and will feature Houston vs. Tulsa on Oct. 4, UCF vs. Temple on Nov. 1, and Houston vs. Tulane on Nov. 15. The Thursday night games could be altered depending on the NFL’s pending Thursday night schedule (Temple can’t play at home if the Philadelphia Eagles are scheduled for a home game). The Thursday night games will be scheduled to air on ESPN, and the conference championship game will be aired on either ABC or ESPN (it has aired on ABC each of the past three seasons).

The AAC will also play games on Friday nights this season, including three on the day after Thanksgiving for the regular season finale; USF hosting UCF, Memphis hosting Houston, and Cincinnati hosting ECU. That could be a big day for the AAC with potential division championships on the line.

The AAC will have 19 nonconference games against power conference opponents, including eight against ACC teams, four against the Big Ten, and three against the Big 12.

You can check out the full AAC football schedule HERE.

Devin Winters, 2018 prospect being recruited by Ole Miss, Syracuse, dies suddenly

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Less than two weeks before National Signing Day, tragedy has struck the recruiting trail.

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, New Orleans high schooler Devin Winters was found unconscious in his home last Thursday night and was unable to be revived.  He was just 19 years old.

Details surrounding Winters’ passing, including a cause of death, have not been revealed.

“I’m so proud of him, and he was so loved,” Winters’ mother, Cavanda Kelley, told the Times-Picayune. “I know he’s in a better place right now. It’s hard. I’m trying. I’ve got a lot of support, and I thank everybody for it. [There are] so many people out here, half of them I don’t even know, but I’m thankful and grateful for everybody who came out to show love and support for my son.”

Winters, a two-star defensive lineman, was scheduled to take an official visit to Syracuse this weekend and then take one to Ole Miss the following weekend, just a couple of days before signing day.  The Daily Advertiser labeled Winters as a soft commit to the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns along with the Power Five interest.

“Very saddened by the unexpected (news),” former UL head coach and current Mississippi State tight ends coach Mark Hudspeth told the paper.  Billy Napier, the coach who replaced Hudspeth with the Ragin’ Cajuns, had continued to recruit the lineman.

Winters had also held offers from, among others, Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas, Oregon State and SMU.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to those affected by Winters’ passing.

Luke Fickell adds three assistants to Cincinnati staff

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Wednesday was a busy day for Luke Fickell on the hiring front.

With three spots to fill on his coaching staff, Fickell filled all three in one fell swoop as the hirings of Brian Mason (special teams coordinator), Mike Mickens (cornerbacks coach) and Steve Stripling (defensive line coach).  All three of those coaches have a history with the football program.

Mason spent last season as UC’s director of recruiting, while Mickens was an All-American defensive back for the Bearcats in 2007 and 2008.  Stripling was line coach at UC from 2010-12 before following Butch Jones to Tennessee, where he spent the past five seasons.

“We were able to hire coaches we are excited about and who want to be a part of our program,” Fickell said in a statement. “All three fit the mold of being great teachers, great motivators and great men. All three have Cincinnati ties which is important for what we are trying to build here. We are excited to close out this recruiting cycle and get back on the field for spring football.”

In addition to those hires, Fickell also announced a shuffling of responsibilities on the offensive side of his staff.  From the release:

Offensive Coordinator Mike Denbrock will shift to tight ends, Gino Guidugli will coach quarterbacks and Doug Phillips will mentor the running backs. Ron Crook and Joker Phillips will continue with the offensive line and wide receiver groups, respectively.

Temple loses leading tackler to season-ending ACL injury

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Temple was down an important man on the defensive side of the ball last night, and will remain that way for however long their season continues.

Citing multiple sources, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Chapelle Russell has been diagnosed with a torn ACL. The linebacker suffered the injury in the Week 10 win over Navy and didn’t play in Friday night’s win over Cincinnati.

As a result of the injury, obviously, Russell will miss the remainder of the 2017 season.

This is the second straight year Russell’s season has been cut short. He missed the last month of the 2016 season plus the postseason after suffering a knee injury during a November practice.

Entering the game against the Bearcats, Russell led the Owls in tackles (70) and was tied for the team lead in forced fumbles (two). Russell, who had started the last eight games, had also been credited with 3.5 tackles for loss.

At 5-5, Temple needs to win one of its last two games to become bowl-eligible.