CINCINNATI — Talk is cheap.
Tickets to tonight’s game between West Virginia University and Cincinnati are not.
With the Big East championship possibly at stake, with the resurgent Bearcat program at heights no one could have seen five years ago, with a national television audience staring in from afar, this meeting between the two nationally ranked powers has this quiet old city on the banks of the Ohio River buzzing.
Cincinnati brings a No. 5 ranking in all polls into the 8 p.m. game that will be shown on ESPN2, WVU having jumped back into the rankings at No. 24 in the USA Today coaches’ poll.
The Bearcats are unbeaten through nine games, five of them in Big East Conference play. WVU is 7-2 and has won three of four conference games.
“This is what you want. This is why you play the game,” West Virginia quarterback Jarrett Brown said.
“This is what you dream for. This is what you came to college for. This is the reason you choose West Virginia, playing games like this,” Brown’s deep-threat wide receiver, Alric Arnett, added. “This is like a high school rivalry game. You don’t have to tell anyone to get up for this game. They already know.”
Cincinnati is 10-point favorite, but history says the game will be closer than that.
“We are anticipating a tough football game,” West Virginia coach Bill Stewart said. “We have played each other pretty tough over the years.”
Stewart recalled how one meeting between the two teams ended with a Cincinnati field goal hitting an upright, and how two years ago WVU pulled out a 28-23 victory.
Then, of course, last year the Mountaineers tied the game at Milan Puskar Stadium on Pat McAfee’s last-second field goal before losing in overtime.
To win, West Virginia must play better than it has leading into the game. After showing a high-powered offense built around the passing attack through the first five games, WVU has diminished over the past four games.
CINCINNATI — Talk is cheap.
- Bob Herzel
WVU, N.C. State to meet in football
Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.
HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention
When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.
Holgorsen’s program hits turning point
You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.
Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success
In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.
Saban, family happy at Alabama
Alabama football coach Nick Saban, whose team opens the season against West Virginia in Atlanta on Aug. 30, denied receiving or turning down this offseason an offer of $100 million to coach Texas, indicating he planned to finish his career as coach of the Crimson Tide.
HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Quarterback child prodigy’ comes to WVU amidst very high expectations
Has West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen finally put the arrow he needs in his quiver with the commitment received Wednesday from high school quarterback David Sills, who is a rather extraordinary story and may also just be a rather extraordinary quarterback?
WVU kicker Molinari ‘All-American boy’
West Virginia kicker Mike Molinari may not be an All-American but he is an All-American boy.
He was honored for that on Wednesday when the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association announced the West Virginia redshirt senior kicker/punter Michael Molinari is a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Smallwood puts future in jeopardy
The last thing West Virginia’s struggling football program needed as twilight was setting on Bastille Day in Morgantown was to have one of its own whisked off to the North Central Regional Jail on a fugitive warrant from another state, especially a player who had figured to play a key role in the resurrection of a program gone bad.
WVU player arrested in Delaware case
West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood has been arrested by university police and is being held at North Central Regional Jail awaiting extradition on a felony warrant out of Delaware.
WVU hoping to add two non-conference contests
West Virginia is nearing the completion of deals to play football games against long-time rival Virginia Tech, now in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and Tennessee of the Southeastern Conference, according to a source close to the negotiations.
An announcement is expected shortly.
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- WVU, N.C. State to meet in football