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Bearcats out to maintain Victory Bell towards Miami
Tom Groeschen

The large rival for Luke Fickell previously was That Workforce Up North. Now it’s That Group Up Northwest.

First-yr College of Cincinnati soccer coach Fickell was taking his Bearcats to play Miami College on Saturday (eight p.m. begin), about forty miles northwest of the UC campus. The Bearcats and RedHawks have been assembly for the 122nd time within the Victory Bell collection, with UC carrying an 11-year winning streak into the matchup.

For Fickell, the big game always was Michigan (aka That Team Up North), with Fickell having spent nearly 20 years as either an Ohio State player, assistant coach or interim head coach. Now it is Miami, the one game that UC players, former players and fans annually consider a must-win.

“I’ve been a part of some big rivalries in my playing days and obviously in my coaching days, and have learned an incredible amount of what rivalries are all about,” Fickell said. “Everybody will be fired up for Saturday. You can take talent and throw it out the window. You can take records and throw it out the window.”

UC and Miami both took 1-1 season records into the game, with the Bearcats’ series dominance at stake. As of Saturday afternoon, UC was a 4-point underdog on most Las Vegas lines.

Each year, the winning team makes a big production of ringing the Victory Bell afterward on the sidelines. Players rush over to the bell, happily colliding in the process. UC senior linebacker and junior college transfer Jaylyin Minor didn’t play much in his first Bell game in 2015, but he did last year.

“I’m in both videos,” Minor said, smiling. “Even the one when I didn’t play, I was in there ringing the bell.”

More: UC-Miami scouting report, prediction

Minor said he has seen extra intensity from Miami players in the Bell game. The Bearcats were heavily favored in most recent UC-Miami games but struggled to beat MU in the Tommy Tuberville era (2013-16), including a 27-20 verdict last year.

“You see them on film, and then you see them in the game and it’s like a totally different team,” Minor said. “When they see UC, they go take it up a notch. And it’s like, ‘Why don’t you all play like that all year? Against us, you just want to go all out.”

Does UC…