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Cincinnati vs. Pitt Big East College Football Pick

11/5/11

The Pitt Panthers host Cincinnati Saturday in a Big East matchup with both teams fighting to be top dog in the conference. Cinci is 2-0 in conference play while Pitt is 2-1. Cincinnati is a -2.5 road favorite with a total of 54 at 5 Dimes and enters this game without star running back Ray Graham who was lost for the season last week against UCONN.

Every week when you handicap the college football board certain games jump out at you. They look too easy. The problem is, things are rarely that easy. You know the old saying, if something looks to good to be true, it usually is. But at the same time, as a handicapper, if you handicap a game and come up with what you feel is a decisive edge one way, you have to go with it. You can't talk yourself out of plays because they look too easy or because the public is all over a game.

Here you have a Bearcat team that would appear to be better, across the board, on both sides of the ball, and that's before factoring in injuries such as the one Pitt sustained last week with Ray Graham going down. Cinci has the #10 ranked offense in points scored while Pitt weighs in at #70. Again, that's with Graham. Cinci is #19 in points allowed, 25th rushing the ball and #2 against the run. The Bearcats yards per point numbers offensively are a blistering 10.6, among the best in the land and the defense comes in at +19, very good. Pitt's ypp numbers are 14 on offense and 16 on defense . Turnover margin? Get this, Cinci +13 and Pitt -7. That's a difference of 20 between the two!!

Our score prediction model comes in with a predicted final of 34-21 Cincinnati. Now, we remind you again, these stats and the model, are as if Pitt was healthy. They aren't, and that loss of Graham is going to put the load squarely on the back of QB Tino Sunseri. He carried the team last week against UCONN after Graham went down but what are the chances of that happening two weeks in a row?

Graham was the #2 rusher in the country averaging 140 yards per game and was a team leader on and off the field. Losing him will have a huge impact. But the injuries don't stop there. Last week Pitt started it's 5th different offensive line of the season.

I can visualize turning the TV on and hearing the announcer say "look at the way this Pitt team has rallied behind their fallen star".........as they come together and pull off a near perfect game. But the numbers support a play on the Bearcats here and that's against a healthy Pitt squad. So, we have to go with it. A the current line we're basically just being asked to pick a straight up winner. Cincinnati -2.5

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