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Cincy vs S. Fla Game Preview
by Matt Fargo - 10/14/2009
The line movement has been heavy as Cincinnati opened as a slight underdog but it has been bet in the other direction as South Florida is now getting a field goal in some places.
The total has moved up slightly as is the case with most Thursday night games. It likely has not peaked yet but that could all depend on the weather.
The big injury to speak of is that South Florida will be without quarterback Matt Grothe. This will be the third game that B.J. Daniels has started in his place.
There will be a chance of a thunderstorm with a high in the low 80’s.
South Florida defensive coordinator Joe Tresey had the same role at Cincinnati the past two seasons but was fired after last year despite his team having the 31st ranked overall defense and 25th ranked scoring defense. His defense was a big part of Cincinnati's last two wins against South Florida.
The big reason he was let go was that Bearcats head coach Brian Kelly caught wind that Tresey was interviewing at Miami. Tresey then decided to take the position with the Bulls in what can be largely considered a payback situation.
There has been no public ill will between Kelly and Tresey but the latter knows there might be an edge. “The nice thing is I am familiar with personnel. I am familiar with some of the things they do, there's no question,” said Tresey.
This is actually a huge revenge game for South Florida. Cincinnati has won the last three meetings and no team has ever beaten the Bulls four years in a row. That means the seniors want no part of another loss to the Bearcats.
“It is kind of personal,” defensive end George Selvie said. “I know we've beaten Cincinnati, but I've never had a chance to actually beat Cincinnati myself. This is my senior year, and I want to go out with a win. It's a real big game for me, and I want to win this one.”
Revenge is always easier said than done but when triple revenge comes into play, it tends to rally the troops even more.
Big East Big Bust?
The winner of this game will join West Virginia and Pittsburgh as the remaining undefeated teams in Big East action. Most importantly, the winner will remain as the only undefeated team overall and will be the only likely team that will have a chance at the BCS Championship.
Even if South Florida or Cincinnati does in fact run the table and finish undefeated, it is not likely to get a shot in the championship game according to some simply because the conference is considered too weak. People tend to forget that West Virginia was a win away from playing in the BCS Championship just two years ago.
According to Jeff Sagarin who provides power rankings to many different media outlets, the Big East Conference is actually the fourth ranked conference in the country, ranking ahead of the Big XII and Big Ten. That certainly doesn’t seem like much of a bust.
Strength Against Strength
Cincinnati enters with the fourth ranked scoring offense in the nation, averaging 42.0 ppg while South Florida features the fifth ranked scoring defense, allowing just 9.4 ppg. The Bearcats are also sixth in passing offense while the Bulls are ninth in passing defense.
Turnovers could play a very big role in this game as we will have two teams who are very advantageous with taking care of the ball.
Cincinnati is third in the country in turnover margin at +1.6 per game while South Florida is eighth at +1.4 per game. The weather could have something to do with the results of this angle on Thursday so that is something that should be looked at.
Cincinnati has the edge when each of these teams play against the better teams as it is 15-6-1 ATS in its last 22 games against a team with a winning record while the Bulls are just 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games against a team with a winning record.
However, the Bulls are 8-3 ATS at home against Big East foes over the last three years.
The rushing results from both teams could call for a low scoring game as Cincinnati is 12-3 to the ‘Under’ in its last 15 games after outrushing its last opponent by 125 or more yards while South Florida is 17-3 to the ‘Under’ in its last 20 games against teams that are allowing 120 ypg on the ground.
The Bearcats have covered five straight meetings in the series.