OK, it is a little uninspiring, but when your team's coming off a big rivalry win and has just been ranked, you need to flair it up a little bit.
Sure, Fordham's not your ideal opponent when you've just checked into the Top 25. However, this honestly is a replacement game and most schools have similar opponents on their schedules.
In college football, you often eat in reverse. Cupcakes are usually served before the main course.
That's not meant to offend Fordham fans, which I suppose it will. They are 4-2 and perhaps they can make a run in the Patriot League. I'm just saying that losses to Villanova and Lehigh aren't going to put the fear of God in any team playing the Rams.
Villanova's trying to amp up football, so they're not bad. Lehigh, for local sports scholars, is known as the alma mater of former Bengals wide receiver Steve Kreider. Old "Who Dey" fans may appreciate that nugget. Young ones probably don't know more than three players from some of the better teams of the 80s when the Bengals made two Super Bowls.
Back to Fordham (as the nuggets continue). The school in the Bronx actually boasts more notable alums than Lehigh and Kreider.
Giants owner Wellington Mara went to Fordham, as did the legendary Vince Lombardi. I think the offense the Rams run is far from Lombardi's offensive principles, but that's something to be proud of.
Matter of fact, I would propose that Fordham switch their nickname to the Lombardis.
If that wasn't enough, Fordham is also where broadcast legend Vin Scully went to school. There's no bigger fan of Scully than UC voice Dan Hoard, so I give you that.
Why all of the Fordham history?
Quite honestly, I don't know what to tell you about them. I have to admit, when I check college scores on my various devices, the Fordham game is not a priority.
They beat the Georgetown Hoyas last week, although I think the Georgetown (NAIA) Tigers down the road could maybe give them a better game.
Like it or not, this is the NEXT game on the schedule which is why it's important. This is one where the bench should get some reps. It's a night game, so have some fun and realize that if you leave before the fourth quarter, you'll likely miss the "Gangnam Style" song on the PA.
There--that ought to sell some tickets.
WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.
WHAT TO WEAR? : It's not a Whiteout, a Blackout, or a Ring of Red. I'd bring all three.
WHAT IF I'M NOT THERE? : You could miss the the kickoff team doing the "OOOOOOH UC!!" cheer complete with hand motions after a touchdown.
WHERE TO WATCH: ESPN3 (It's getting more available now on several nearby planets)
SERIES: This is the first meeting. Should be a commemorative t-shirt shouldn't there?
UC OFFENSE VS. FORDHAM DEFENSE
Well, Fordham shut out Lock Haven in week one....
Seriously, they gave up 34 points to Lehigh and 31 to Georgetown. UC scored 52 on Miami which tied for the most ever in that series. The only thing that will prevent the Bearcats from surpassing that is if the second and third-stringers are confined to running plays in the second half. Linebacker Michael Martin had 18 tackles last week, but he's 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds and will be surrounded by bigger, quicker players at Nippert. Personally, I'd like to see Brendon Kay get a chance to throw the ball and some of the back-up receivers have a chance to catch. The downside of a lopsided game, is that back-up quarterbacks can't practice throwing and receivers are decoys. It only pays to be a back-up running back. As for UC's first team, they should be able to rack up a normal game of stats within a half or three quarters.
Obvious nod: Bearcats
UC DEFENSE VS. FORDHAM OFFENSE
Like Miami and Zac Dysert, Fordham's Ryan Higgins can throw and move the ball. He's thrown for 300-yards in two straight games. The downside, like Dysert found, is 300 yards can still result in a 38-point loss, particularly when some of your throws wind up in Bearcat paws. Receiver Brian Wetzel had 123 yards receiving last week and will likely get more. I would suspect UC could shut down Fordham runner Carlton Koonce, leaving Fordham no alternative than to pass. Because of that, I look for Walter Stewart, John Williams, Dan Giordano, Cameron Beard, Jordan Stepp and the defensive line to have several up close and personal encounters with Higgins.
Edge to UC.
Patrick Murray is a double-duty kicker/punter for Fordham. He drilled three through the uprights against the Hoyas last week. Against UC, he'll likely be in punt formation. The Bearcats are due for a returned punt for six. Will this be the game for Anthony McClung to do it? On UC's kicking end, it could be night of extra points for Tony Miliano.
Edge: The home team.
Look, it's not the ideal situation, but hopefully the Bearcats will take care of business as they should. The Delaware State game should be a lesson to UC. Letting them hang around, even though it was never in doubt, was like Chuck Wepner going 15 with Muhammad Ali (more history kids!). I hope for plenty of points, no injuries to starters, and some quality playing time for the kids that bust their hump in practice.
Butch Jones did a great job with keeping the proper perspective on the Miami U. game and I would suspect he'll have the guys on their game Saturday night.