As I'm sure you've heard by now, the Oklahoma Sooners are making the long trip from their corn fields to our corn fields to play against the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. I'm sure you remember when the Bearcats visited the Sooners and lost 52-26, losing quarterback Dustin Grutza in the process. Of course losing Grutza gave us Tony Pike and Pike gave us UC's first BCS bowl game, the 2008 FedEX Orange Bowl.
It's been sunshine and lollipops for UC (with the occasional rainy day.... I'm looking at you Kelly) since then. You can't complain about back to back Big East Championships, an undefeated 2009 season and another great starting class taking the field in 2010. It's an exciting time for UC football and it was awesome to watch UC win on Saturdays and then watch the Bengals sweep through the AFC North on Sundays. The Bearcats and Bengals are an awesome one-two punch for any football fan living in the Cincinnati area.
It's time for the Bearcats and Sooners to face off again. This time, though, it won't be in Oklahoma, it will be in Paul Brown Stadium. Nippert Stadium, while it's the heart of UC's campus and very cool looking, is not big enough to accommodate both UC's fans and Oklahoma's fans. Nippert Stadium only holds 35,000 while PBS holds over 65,000.
UC is a true "rags to riches" story. It wasn't long ago that the board of directors at UC were thinking about cutting the football program all together. Now the Oklahoma Sooners, one of the most storied college football programs in the country, are coming to Cincinnati to play the Bearcats. When you can make a big program like Oklahoma travel to play you when you're not in their conference, you know you're beginning to make a name for yourself. If UC can beat Oklahoma on September 25, it will thrust them into the BCS spotlight once again (if they aren't already there).
While this may seam like no big deal to the Bengals, it is. The Bengals are going to be making a pretty penny off of UC playing Oklahoma on their carpet.
If the University of Cincinnati attracts a crowd of 45,000 for its Sept. 25 football game against Oklahoma at Paul Brown Stadium, the school will pay approximately $133,750 to use the Hamilton County-owned facility. Half of that money will go to the NFL Bengals, the stadium's primary tenants, the other half to the county.
The Bengals will also receive a 20 percent of all merchandise revenue made during the game and there will be a fee that UC will have to pay based off of ticket sales.
UC's fee to use the 65,790-seat stadium calls for the school to pay 10 percent of the first $1,000,000 in gross ticket revenue, 12.5 percent of the next $1,000,000, and 15 percent of gross ticket revenue exceeding $2,000,000.
That sounds like a lot of money but UC officials aren't complaining. Maybe it's because UC is finally getting some of the attention that they deserve or that they are excited about getting out of their own little house to play in the mansion across down the street. Either way, they just seem excited to share the same field as the Bengals.
"We consider the Bengals to be a good partner," Arkeilpane said. "We're not uncomfortable with the way the contract worked out.
"I would say that we've always tried to maintain a good relationship with the Bengals. We've had a lot of different conversations with them over the years on various things. I would say it's no different than some of the other universities around the country that deal with owners or organizations that have stadiums."
Based on this deal, you would think that colleges like Pitt or USF that always play in NFL stadiums (Heinz field and Raymond James Stadium) would never make any money but those teams permanently share homes with NFL teams so their deals are made a little different.
UC has plans in the works to expand Nippert Stadium so they can host some of these big games in their own back yard but for now, maybe we'll see more red and black mixed in with orange and black at PBS.