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Friday Night Lights Preview
by ASA - 11/12/2009
West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Cincinnati Bearcats
The line opened with Cincinnati as 9.5 point home favorites and rose quickly rose to 10 on before dipping to 8.5 on Thursday. It now sits at an even 9. The total opened at 53.5 and rose one point to 54.5.
West Virginia QB Jarrett Brown and RB Noel Devine are both hampered by ankle injuries that have limited them in the past two games. Devine, after rushing for 912 yards and 10 touchdowns in the first seven games of the season; has rushed for 95 yards and no touchdowns during the past two games.
Cincinnati allowed 462 yards and 45 points to the UConn Huskies last week and showed that their defense is vulnerable to quick-strike offenses. UConn RB Jordan Todman ran 26 times for 162 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Brown and Devine will need to be at the top of their game to pull off the road upset against the #4 team in the country.
There are a lot of college coaches out there that wish they had the same quarterback problem that the Bearcats head coach Brian Kelly has on his hands. Cincinnati has two outstanding QB's in Tony Pike and Zach Collaros. Tony Pike led the Bearcats to six straight wins while throwing for 272 YPG with 15 TD’s and just 3 picks prior to being injured against South Florida on October 15th.
Pike's injury promoted redshirt freshmen Zach Collaros as the starter. Collaros has exceeded all expectations, completing 76% of his passes for 10 touchdowns and just 1 pick in three starts. He has also rushed 44 times for 288 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Pike is now available to play this week but Head Coach Brian Kelly says he’s sticking with the red-hot Collaros for this Friday night game.
Bearcats high-octane offense
Cincinnati racked up 711 total yards and 47 points against UConn last week. Their 482.6 YPG ranks third nationally and their 40 PPG ranks 5th nationally.
West Virginia held the Bearcats to 260 yards in their November matchup last season, but committed two turnovers and allowed a special teams touchdown and lost at home in overtime last season.
Cincinnati is just 2-9 SU vs. the Mountaineers since 1980 (0-7 SU at home in that same span) yet still come into this game as a healthy 9-point favorite. They are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 conference games and 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 games in November. West Virginia is just 2-6 ATS this season; however, the underdog & road team is 4-1-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings between these two.
West Virginia has finished ‘over’ in their last 7 games as an underdog and 17 of their last 23 games in November. Cincy has finished ‘under’ in 10 of their last 14 home games and 13 of their last 19 games as a home favorite.
Temple Owls vs. Akron Zips
Akron opened as 4 point home ‘dogs and that is where the line currently stands. The total has opened at 44 and currently stands at 43.5.
No longer losers
With a 7-2 record, Temple has clinched their first winning season since 1990 and is bowl eligible. After starting the season 0-2, the Owls have won seven straight games by an average of 10.8 PPG.
They are now 5-0 in the MAC East and in uncharted territory as road favorites – a situation they’ve been in just three times since 2002. They now have a target on their back and the rest of the MAC would love to knock them off their perch.
The Owls blew a 31-13 lead to Miami (OH) last week and needed a last-second field goal to pull off the 34-32 victory (-17). They now go on the road for the 3rd time in 4 weeks to face the Zips, who played the spoiler last week and defeated Kent State to end a 6-game losing streak. Akron is now playing their 2nd straight home game after playing 4 of their previous 5 on the road.
RB Bernard Pierce has carried the Owls with his 1,211 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns this season. In the last three games alone he has accumulated 657 yards and 8 touchdowns on a 6.0 YPC average.
The Zips have had a pretty stout run-defense this season, allowing just 3.1 YPC and 2 touchdowns in their 4 home games this season. Last year they held Temple to just 3.4 YPC and went into the 4th Quarter tied 6-6 before allowing 21 points in the final quarter.
Temple is 3-25 SU in their last 28 Nov/Dec road games but is 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games overall and 17-7-1 ATS in their last 25 conference games. Akron is 19-8-2 ATS in their last 29 games as a home underdog but just 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games overall and 2-6 ATS in their last 8 conference games.
The Owls have finished ‘over’ in their last 4 games and The Zips have finished ‘over’ in 8 of their last 11 home games.