Week 14 – CINCINNATI BEARCATS (11-0) @ PITT PANTHERS (9-2)
Date: Saturday, December 5, Noon EST
Site: Pittsburgh, PA
BetUS LINE: Cincinnati -2
Even in a somewhat pop-gun Big East conference, the Bearcats have surprised many by running the table in convincing fashion. The squad has a couple quality wins versus Oregon State and Illinois, but the final game of the season in Pittsburgh might be the stiffest challenge yet.
Cincy’s attack has been rolling all season – at first QB Tony Pike was putting up award-worthy stats, and then when he went down to injury back-up pivot Zach Collaros stepped in and the offense didn’t miss a step. Collaros played so well, in fact, that there was some debate as to who ought to start when Pike returned.
Up-and-coming Bearcats coach Brian Kelly assured everyone that when fully healthy, Pike is the starter and the team answered by almost dropping 50 on their Big Ten opponent, Illinois.
They’ll have to bring every ounce of that explosiveness this weekend, as the Panthers are a stout team.
They looked very gutsy in a victory versus Notre Dame and narrowly fell short against an athletic West Virginia squad last week. The Panthers play some aggressive defense, leading the nation in sacks and landing in the Top 20 in turnover margin. To have success against unbeaten Cincinnati, the home side must pressure whoever is at quarterback for Cincy into mistakes and misreads.
They also must try to limit the impact of Bearcats WR Mardy Gilyard, a big-play in waiting.
With proper execution, the Panthers could beat Cincinnati in a battle of two fairly well-matched teams. The likely scenario, though, is that Cincy will gradually find some seams downfield and will be able to emerge from the regular season unscathed.
2009 Team Stats
Total Offense: Cincinnati 4th
Total Defense: Cincinnati 47th
Cincinnati is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Cincinnati is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Cincinnati is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Cincinnati’s last 9 games on the road
Pittsburgh is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Pittsburgh’s last 7 games
Pittsburgh is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Pittsburgh’s last 5 games at home
Cincinnati: 11-0 SU, 5-5 ATS
Pittsburgh: 9-2 SU, 6-4 ATS
Pick: Cincinnati -3
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