Jeff Hafley

Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images

Cincinnati finishes off back-to-back 11-win seasons with Birmingham Bowl blowout of Boston College

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There is just something about Boston College and weather delays in bowl games. At least this year, Boston College was able to finish the game. Given the result, maybe Boston College would have been content to pack things up early again and call it a day. No. 21 Cincinnati (11-3) overpowered Boston College (6-7) in the Birmingham Bowl, 38-6. The game was interrupted by a 92-minute weather delay midway through the first quarter.

Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder ran for 105 yards and three touchdowns to lead Cincinnati. Running back Michael Warren II also rushed for 105 yards on 21 carries. Cincinnati’s running game was too much for Boston College’s defense to handle. Although not having leading rusher AJ Dillon hurt Boston College, it may not have been why the Eagles took a lopsided bowl loss to close out the season.

The win by Cincinnati improves the American Athletic Conference to 3-3 this bowl season. The American is 1-1 against the ACC and 1-0 against the Big 12, but the conference is .500 against power-conference opponents due to a loss by conference champion Memphis in the Cotton Bowl. The ACC falls to 4-6 overall and will have a losing record this bowl season, but Clemson is still alive for the national championship. The ACC had a winning record against just the MAC with Pitt’s win in the Quick Lane Bowl.

Luke Fickell is the second coach to guide Cincinnati to back-to-back 11-win seasons. The only other coach to do so was Brian Kelly in 2008 and 2009. Kelly was hired away by Notre Dame following his second 11-win season with the program (Kelly actually won 10 or more game sin three consecutive seasons). Fickell will likely be a top coaching candidate for some power conference program in need of a head coach in the next round of the coaching carousel, especially if these results continue in 2020.

Fickell and Cincinnati will begin the 2020 season at home against Austin Peay on Sept. 5. The highlight of Cincinnati’s non-conference schedule will be a road trip to Nebraska on Sept. 26. Cincinnati will also host some key conference games with crossover division matchups against Houston and defending conference champion Memphis being played in Nippert Stadium in the fall. Cincinnati will play pivotal division games on the road at UCF and Temple.

Boston College will usher in a new era under head coach Jeff Hafley. Hafley’s first game as head coach of the Eagles will be at home on Sept. 5 against Holy Cross. Boston College will also face two power conference opponents with a road game at Kansas (which is actually a revenge game for the Eagles) and a home game against Purdue in back-to-back weeks to close out September.