Miami, Cincinnati to resume football series in 2014 and 2015
CINCINNATI -- Miami (Fla.) and Cincinnati will resume their football series next year in Florida, followed by the Hurricanes playing at newly renovated Nippert Stadium on the Bearcats' campus in 2015.
It's a series that goes back a long way.
The schools have played 11 times in a series that began in 1947. They played every year from 1982-89, when Miami was a Top 10 team much of the time, but haven't met since 1998. The Hurricanes have won 10 of the 11 games.
Both schools needed a game next season and decided to renew their series. It's unusual for two successful teams to play a nonconference series that involves going on the road.
"We were both in a scheduling bind and it came together relatively easy," said Whit Babcock, Cincinnati's athletic director. "But in general, yes, to get a BCS-level team to play you home-and-home is getting harder and harder."
Babcock estimated he approached between 20 and 30 schools before getting the two-game deal with Miami.
Part of the equation is Cincinnati's move to upgrade Nippert, which is the third-oldest stadium among FBS schools. The Bearcats will play their home games at Paul Brown Stadium, home of the NFL's Bengals, during next season while Nippert is upgraded and expanded to 40,000 seats.
Miami will be one of the first opponents to play at the new Nippert. The upgrade will take 15 months and cost an estimated $80 million.
"Now our capacity starts (at 40,000), we've modernized the place, we don't have to apologize for our 1924 facility," Babcock said in an interview. "I also know if we're going to charge people what we're going to charge them and spend that kind of money, we'd darn sure better have a good out-of-conference schedule here to reward those people."
The Bearcats also will play at Ohio State next year while work is done on Nippert. They play at Brigham Young in 2015, along with their home game against Miami. They'll host BYU in 2016 and play at Purdue. They travel to Michigan in 2017. Babcock is looking for another prominent team to play at Nippert Stadium in 2017.
"It is very difficult to get anybody to play us here," coach Tommy Tuberville said. "These so-called big-time teams, they tuck their head and run when you call them. They'll play us at their place, but they don't want to come here.
"We talked about it, and we want to play good football teams but we're not just going to go on the road. Miami said they would, so we will go there next year, and they will come here the year after that. I want to thank them for doing that because they didn't have to do that."