The No. 5 Cincinnati Bearcats are trying to break into the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings and will be back in action on Friday when heading down to Tampa to meet the USF Bulls. This AAC game will kick off at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Cincinnati (9-0, 5-0 AAC) flirted with danger but remained unbeaten last Saturday with a 28-20 victory over Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane had seemingly punched in a touchdown within the final minute of action but running back Steven Anderson fumbled into the end zone, allowing for the Bearcats to recover in the end zone for a touchback and escape with their perfect record in tact. They, of course, were taken to task for lack of “style points” in this one, but benefitted from Michigan State falling by moving up to No. 5 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. Starting running back Jerome Ford missed the second half of last Saturday’s game with a leg injury and is questionable for Friday.
USF (2-7, 1-4 AAC) has stealthily shown signs of progress down the stretch despite its record and the team managed to mostly hang with Houston in a 54-42 shootout loss last Saturday. True freshman quarterback Timmy McClain continued to show promise as a signal-caller and Harry Houdini impersonator but the star of the show was running back Brian Battie. He housed two kick returns for a touchdown and ran for one on the ground in the loss. Unfortunately for the Bulls, the defense is the Achilles heel as that unit yielded roughly 10 yards per play against the Cougars last Saturday. That marked the fourth time that they’ve yielded over 500 yards of total offense in a single game this season.
Here’s all the data you’ll want, and a pick for the game!
Cincinnati: 8th overall, 22nd offense, 11th defense
USF: 110th overall, 105th offense, 116th defense
RB Jerome Ford Questionable - Leg
K Cole Smith Questionable - Undisclosed
No new injuries to report
Against The Spread
Cincinnati: 5-4 ATS
USF: 5-4 ATS
Cincinnati: Over 4-5
USF: Over 5-4
Returning/Overall Talent from 247Sports
Cincinnati: 48th overall, 50th offense, 50th defense
USF: 68th overall, 63rd offense, 72nd defense
Current lines at DraftKings Sportsbook
Spread: Cincinnati -24
Moneyline: Cincinnati -2200, USF +1100
Opening line: Cincinnati -24
Opening total: 59
Cincinnati is under pressure to win by wide margins and it hasn’t been able to do that as it’s powered through AAC play. The Bearcats have failed to cover in their past three contests, all games where they were at least 22.5-point favorites.
USF, meanwhile, is starting to close margins as the team has successfully covered in three of its last four games. With it being a Friday night and the No. 5 team in town for their final home game of the season, they’ll be game to make this a competitive one.
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