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NC State vs. Cincinnati Thursday Night College Football Pick
The Cincinnati Bearcats host the NC State Wolfpack on Thursday Night College Football this week with the Bearcats currently favored by -7.5 points at most major online sportsbooks, -8 in some spots, up from the opener of -7. The Game can be seen at 8pm est. on ESPN.
This is a revenge for Cincinnati as they look to return the favor for the beating they took last year, also on a Thursday Night as they went down to Raleigh and left with their tail between their legs to the tune 30-19. That score is misleading as it was 30-7 until midway through the 4th and the NC State defense bottled up the Cinci offense all night long. Last season NC State finished 9-4 with a bowl game win over West Virginia while Cinci was a disappointing 4-8 after winning 10, 11 and 12 games the previous 3 seasons.
So, what do we know about the 2011 editions of these teams? Not as much as we'd like. We known Cinci can score some big time points when they play teams like Austin Peay and Akron. 72-10 over Austin Peay and 59-14 over Akron. Not so much when they play the big boys though as they were handed a 45-23 beating by Tennessee.
Not much to go on with NC State either. They beat liberty and South Alabama and lost to Wake Forest 34-27. This from a defense that was 29th best in the nation last year at 21 points per game. That defensive unit it still largely intact so we'd expect some improvement there.
If you go game by game for both of these teams last season, you'll be more impressed with NC State. They had some nice wins against good teams and played well against others. They beat Florida State 28-14 and WVA in the bowl game 23-7. Cinci on the other hand, had a moment or two, like almost upsetting Oklahoma but for the most part, they were simply bad.
Has NC State slipped that much in a year and Cinci improved that much to warrant the 7 point number here? We're going to go ahead and say no. After 3 consecutive losing years for Tom O'Brien after he took over the Wolfpack, the work finally paid off last year. Now he has to keep them in the black. This will be a big time test for the NC State defense that gave up 337 passing yards to Wake Forest but the Wolfpack offense put up over 400 yards of offense of their own and figures to be in this one to the end. NC State +8