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Cincinnati vs Pittsburgh
Bearcats Favored by 2 at Betjamaica
Cincinnati Head Coach Brian Kelly has had to deal with a lot more media exposure over the past few weeks, but its not because he has his football team one game away from a Big East title and BCS bowl berth, its because his name has been linked to the recent opening of the Notre Dame coaching position. Brian Kelly has been a winner anywhere he goes and Cincinnati has been no different. Since taking over the Bearcats Kelly is 33-6 in 3 seasons, and has a chance to win his 2nd straight Big East title this Saturday. Cincinnati is 11-0 on the year including victories over Oregon State, South Florida, and West Virginia, but their toughest test is this weekend when they travel to Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Panthers.
Since taking over the Head Coaching position at Pittsburgh Dave Wannstedt is
34-25 in 5 seasons, but he has really started to turn things around in the last
few years. In his first 3 seasons Wannstedt went 5-6, 6-6, and 5-7, but since
then in his last two seasons he has gone 9-4 in 2008 and 9-2 so far in the 2009
season including wins over UCONN, Rutgers, and Notre Dame. Much like Cincinnati,
Pittsburgh is going to face their toughest challenge of the year when The
Bearcats come to town, which should make this a great hard fought game.
We all know about Cincinnati and their high powered offense led by QB Tony Pike and WR Mardy Gilyard. Early in the year anytime you played this team we would say the PRIMETIME MATCHUP would be to slow down this Bearcat offensive attack, but that was because they had the defense to go with it. Lately for whatever reason the Cincinnati defense has struggled and it has been the difference in this Bearcat football team. Before their last 3 games Cincinnati's defense was ranked close to the top in most all defensive categories, but against Connecticut, West Virginia, and Illinois their defense has really struggled. In that 3 game stretch the Bearcat defense is giving up 34 points per game and 443 yards of total offense per game, and with Pittsburgh and RB Dion Lewis coming up they really need to get things figured out. True Freshman Dion Lewis has been having a great season rushing for over 1400 yards and 13 TD's which is something Cincinnati has struggled with.
Cincinnati is currently 6th in the Big East in rush defense. With Lewis
taking a lot of attention from defenses it has really allowed QB Bill Stull to
step up and have a big year. Last year Stull threw for 2356 yards 9 TD's and 10
INT's, but with Lewis at RB Stull has already thrown for 2294 yards and 19 TD's
with only 6 INT's. If Pittsburgh is able to get the running game going early and
open things up for QB Bill Stull this game should be a shootout that is
determined late into the 4th quarter.
THE FINAL VERDICT
When you handicap games, it's important to realize that some games simply don't qualify as a game to wager on. This game, for us, is one such game. The game shakes out as dead even, with Cinci having the slightest of edges offensively and Pitt having the slightest of edges defensively. With so much on the line for both teams, and coaches, and with the possible distraction for Cinci with all the Notre Dame talk, we're just going to sit back and enjoy this one with no opinion either way.
Enjoy the game!