The Cincinnati Bearcats will travel to Columbus this season to play the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on September 27th. Honestly, I can barely keep track of how many times this contest has been moved. Originally this game was slated for the 2012 season at Cincinnati, be it Nippert or Paul Brown Stadium. OSU’s infinite bankroll put an abrupt halt to that idea. The Buckeyes paid UC to move the game to Columbus. Then, with TCU projected to join the Big East in 2012, which still hosted football at the time, Cincinnati reached out to Ohio State to delay the game. The Buckeyes obliged and had it moved to the upcoming season.
So finally, after years of delay, Cincinnati will play Ohio State for the first time since 2006.
But the game itself isn’t particularly interesting to me. It is, for sure, but we have months before we need to think deeply about it on a micro level. No, the actual payout OSU is giving UC is intriguing to me at this particular time. Like I mentioned above, Ohio State paying Cincinnati to move the game to Ohio Stadium has been known for quite a while now but the actual figure was somewhat of a mystery. Most educated guesses put it at around $1 million. Well, they weren’t too far off. Ohio State will actually be paying UC roughly $888,000 to have the game played in Columbus.
That’s a sizable chunk of change the Buckeyes are contributing to the Nippert Stadium/basketball arena renovation/Tuberville contract/Cronin contract fund. And we forever thank Ohio State for their generous donation.
In reality the Bearcats could have probably earned quite a bit more if the game were in Cincinnati, regardless of what kind of wacky provisions Mike Brown and his crew would have worked into the Paul Brown Stadium contract. But unfortunately UC probably didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. If Cincinnati had refused to play Ohio State in Columbus, the Buckeyes could have easily bought out the game. That would have left a void on the Bearcats’ 2014 football schedule and forced them to scramble to fill it, probably with another FCS program. It would have put them in a similar situation as 2012 when Cincinnati played two lower-level schools that year.
So while playing Ohio State on their home turf is less ideal than hosting the game in Southwest Ohio, UC is receiving almost $1 million to do so. It’s not like they’re getting totally ripped off in the deal. Plus a young Bearcats team will have an opportunity to grow up quickly against the high-caliber squad the Buckeyes will boast in 2014. And if Cincinnati emerges victorious it will make the trip all the sweeter, especially considering OSU would have effectively written UC as six-figure check to watch their own team lose.
Now wouldn’t that be hilarious?