Cincinnati +4 3.3% play 

I like the Bearcats here at home and I definitely think if you like the Bearcats it’s correlated with the Under 63, but I’m not going there tonight.  I think this is a completely different game than last year. First of all Cinci got behind early 21-6 at the half and had to lean on a freshman QB in Ridder, and he just didn’t play well.  Cinci actually ran the ball well in that game going for 252 yards, and UCF run defense is not as good this year. So far they rank 56th vs. the run compared to 103rd ypc average offense faced.  Last year they ranked 43rd, vs. 62nd ypc average offense faced. UCF passing attack also not as good in my opinion. Dillon Gabriel has looked the part and came out of the same high school as McKenzie Milton, but he’s still a freshman, and in a game against a similar defense to Cincinnati he was sacked 6x and threw 2 interceptions.

 

How similar is Cinci and Pitt’s defenses?  Well Cincinnati ranks 32nd vs. the run, and Pitt ranks 25th, both against similar competition (65 vs. 65.5 on average opponent ypc offense).  Cinci’s pass defense ranks 24th in QB Rating allowed compared to Pitt’s 36th, and Pitt has faced better passing teams. Pitt ranks 4th ins ack %, and Cinci ranks 26th, both against equal competition (Cinci has faced opponent average sack % allowed of 83.75 to Pitt’s 84th).  UCF is 79th in sack % allowed, and 102nd in sack % so they are not playing as well in the trenches compared with last year. Now UCF got down big at Pitt, but Pitt is not a running team anymore, and couldn’t put UCF away. Pitt’s offensive strength is passing the ball, and they tried to go away from that, and it nearly backfired on them.  I think Cincinnati can grind out drives if they get an early lead which is what I am expecting.

 

Cinci also got hit with explosive plays last year, and that’s what UCF is all about and nothing has changed in that regard.  However, Cinci ranks 13th in 10+ yard plays allowed, and in less games last year they allowed double the # of 20+ yard plays on the road vs. home, which is where they are this year compared to last year playing at UCF.  Ridder at QB for Cinci also looks like he has gotten better, and he had a 185 QB rating at home last year compared to 116 on the road as a freshman, which is not surprising at all when you factor in he faced Temple and UCF on the road.  This year he’s playing better he just put up 4 TD’s and 0 INT’s against a solid Marshall program that ranked 36th vs. the pass, and gave Boise State a big game on the road. This line indicates that Cinci is 6 points worse than last year or UCF is 6 points better, but I would argue Cinci has gotten better, and UCF has gotten a little worse.  I think Nippert Stadium at night on a Friday is an underrated place to play and Cinci will be ready for the upset.


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