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Today’s first bowl game, Military Bowl features 2014 rematch of Cincinnati and Virginia Tech

 

 

The final day of 2018, December 31 will see six bowl games on television for all of the College Football Fanatics! They are in order, Military, Sun, Redbox, Liberty, Holiday, Tax Slayer/Gator.

Kicking off the day and fittingly is the Military Bowl feature the Cincinnati Bearcats of the American Athletic Conference against the Virginia Tech Hokies of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

This game is a rematch of the 2014 contest where the Hokies won 33-17.

The Bearcats (10-2), the third place team in the AAC, will be tough to handle for Virginia Tech. UC has one of the best defenses in the nation being ranked both eighth in total defense and against the run plus 25th against the pass. The ‘Cats offense at times has been inconsistent but is no slouch either as they are led by QB Desmond Riddler (2,359 yards passing, 19 touchdowns and 574 yards on the ground) and RB Michael Warren II (1,163 yards, 17 touchdowns) who is expected back after missing the season finale against East Carolina with an injury.

Luke Fickell (courtesy UC Sports)

Cincinnati is coached by former Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell. After a rough first season at 4-8, 2-6 in the AAC, he has turned around the football program who at one time this season was ranked in the Top 25. In all of the final regular season polls, UC was ranked in the Top 30. Not bad for a program that had regressed under the leadership of Tommy Tuberville in 2015 and 2016.

Fickell also has one of his former Ohio State players, LB Marcus Freeman, as the defensive coordinator.

Virginia Tech, who started the season as a Top 25 team, underachieved all season long with inconsistent play. After losing four in a row, they had to scramble in the last two games to beat arch-rival Virginia in overtime, 34-31 and Marshall, 41-20 just to be able to become eligible for this game. It is the 26th straight season the Hokies have participated in a bowl game. Quite an accomplishment for a team who lost their starting QB Josh Jackson for the season with an injury in the surprising upset loss to Old Dominion back in September, 49-35.

Ricky Walker (courtesy Virginia Tech)

The Tech defense is led by DL Ricky Walker, the obvious backbone of that corps of players with his leadership, all-over-the-field play and making big plays in key situations. Cincinnati will have to account for his whereabouts on the field at all times.