Happy Veterans Day Weekend, Cincinnati

It’s Friday and my mind is focused on a three day weekend, but I did want to impart some thoughts on the world of Cincinnati sports for this weekend.

The Bearcats football team has a massive matchup this Saturday night. USF comes into Cincinnati an underdog, but I do not believe they’re as bad as the line (UC favored by two touchdowns), but this is definitely a winnable game for UC. It all comes down to focus. Luke Fickell had the boys ready for Navy’s triple option offense, a running attack that put up the loftiest rushing total by an opponent in Bearcats history, last year. This year, though, the Bearcats held them to just over two yards a carry. Now Fickell has to keep his team reigned in as they approach a monster matchup with the best team in the conference, the “defending national champion” Central Florida Knights. South Florida is not good in the cold, and it will be coooooold tomorrow night. Still, the Bearcats cannot take them for granted, as the Bulls were undefeated and ranked in the Top-25, as soon as three weeks ago.

The Xavier Musketeers play their second game of the season on Saturday, against Evansville. Another solid mid-major opponent for the Muskies to grow against. The question will be, will Naji Marshall return to the floor in this one? Didn’t have him in the opener and they got by, it will be difficult against a solid squad from the Missouri Valley Conference. The Men of Steele found a way to win, forcing turnovers late, we will see if that trend continues. Xavier hasn’t had a good defense in the past few years, but if they consistently force turnovers, there’s your defense.

The Cincinnati professional football team may be smashed this Sunday. They may also (tiny chance) win. The New Orleans professional football team is really good. They have a future hall of famer at quarterback and, possibly, a future hall of famer at coach. They have oodles of talent at running back and wide receiver. They are also coming off a huge win to knock the Los Angeles professional football team off their undefeated pedestal and have to travel to a non-conference opponent and play in dismal weather. Not the brightest, most motivational backstory for the fleur de lis-wearing pigskin professionals, but they are a much better team (given injuries) than that of the Orange and Black. Honestly, if Marvin Lewis’ men come out on top, I will be pleasantly surprised, but if they don’t it won’t even phase me. The all-important game for the Bengals is next week, in Baltimore, against the Ravens. So long as they don’t come out of this week’s game with even more injuries than they are already plagued with, I think they’ll be fine. Also, a personal reason I wouldn’t mind the Bengals losing, is I will be at a wedding watching on my phone. Shout out to Zack on his big day (holler at me if you actually read this, bro).

Two Reds rumors circulating have me feeling a certain way. The first is that some teams are interested in Eugenio Suarez. Well, so are we in Cincinnati, frankly, and I do not want to see him traded. The other rumor is very encouraging, and that is the Cleveland Indians are open to trading away their ace, Corey Kluber. Now, it will require a king’s ransom, but go for it, Reds! He is one of the best pitchers in the game. He will cost a few top prospects, but he is also the kind of pitcher who will bring the wins. He’s under control for a few years, so it won’t be a rental, which gives the Reds the perfect pitcher to build their rotation around. Plus, I am sure Derek Johnson will enjoy having a vet like Kluber to be the “stopper” of the rotation. I am a Cincinnati sports optimist, to a fault, but I am excited by what’s going on around Great American Ballpark.

Here’s to a three-day weekend, for some of us and Happy Veteran’s Day!

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Mitch Said No!

THE most important thing in Cincinnati sports for 2017 happened Wednesday.

FC Cincinnati played some soccer against the Chicago Fire in a U.S. Open Cup match. The beloved FCC against the big brother MLS team from the Windy City. It took every second of the clock to figure out the winner…and then some penalty shots, but the good guys pulled off their biggest win of the franchise’s short history.

Orchestrating such a win was the team’s stellar goalie, Mitch Hildebrandt. Mitch said no…a lot. Like every single shot that came toward the net, except for a penalty shootout goal by Bastian Schweinsteiger. Soccer fans will remember that name as the former captain of the German national team in the World Cup a few years back.

Yeah, FCC beat down some big dogs on Wednesday.

A little unprofessional analysis:

  • Jimmy McLaughlin was the runner-up to Mitch for man of the match. Chicago was stuck on defense for the bulk of the time McLaughlin roamed the pitch.
  • Second highest attendance ever for the U.S. Open cup. No biggie. But, ya know, Cincinnati doesn’t have a big enough media market for some MLS pundits. Uh huh…
  • No Djiby, no problem. The man who leads FCC, by a wide margin, in goals scored was not present. They still found a way.

The underdogs now become the top dogs as FCC goes to Miami in a few weeks for the next round of the tournament. Miami is in the same boat as FCC as they are in an underling division looking to rise up.

Win in the Sunshine State and FCC is looking at a pairing with either New England or Philadelphia, both MLS teams.

Are FC Cincinnati done yet? Mitch says no!