The BYU Cougars host the Cincinnati Bearcats on Friday, October 16 in non-conference action. This will be the first-ever meeting between these two programs. The Cougars are 1-4 all-time against teams from the state of Ohio.
BYU (4-2, 3-0 home) has gotten back on track following two tough losses at UCLA and Michigan. The Cougars beat Connecticut 30-13 at home before topping East Carolina 45-38 last week.
Cincinnati (3-2, 1-1 away) also bounced back from a tough 46-53 road loss at Memphis with a 34-23 home upset of Miami as 7.5-point underdogs last time out on October 1.
Kickoff inside LaVell Edwards Stadium is scheduled for 8:00 EST Friday night with ESPN providing the television coverage. Early odds show that BYU is a 7-point favorite over Cincinnati.
I believe the Cincinnati Bearcats are one of the most underrated teams in college football. I have backed them with success in each of their last two games against some very good opponents. They only lost 46-53 to Memphis as 7.5-point road underdogs in a game they led most of the way. They then came back and upset Miami 34-23 at home as 7.5-point dogs.
All you need to look at is the numbers the Bearcats are putting up to realize that they are a very good team. Their offense is averaging 587.2 yards per game and 6.8 per play against opposing defenses that allow 446 yards per game and 5.9 per play. Their defense is allowing 397.4 yards per game, so they are outgaining teams by roughly 190 yards per game. That’s the sign of a great team, but the Bearcats’ mediocre 3-2 record has them under the radar right now.
As of this writing there is questions at the quarterback position for both teams. Gunnier Kiel is questionable with a head injury for Cincinnati, but with the way freshman Hayden Moore has been playing, it would be insane of head coach Tommy Tuberville not to go with Moore. BYU QB Tanner Mangum suffered a hamstring injury last game and is questionable to return. He is their second-stringer as Taysom Hill is already out with injury, so the Cougars are in much worse shape at QB.
Moore has simply been dominant this season, throwing for 1,061 yards with seven touchdowns and five interceptions while averaging 9.3 yards per attempt in limited action. He threw for 557 yards and four touchdowns in the loss to Memphis in only three quarters, and he threw for 279 yards with two touchdowns in the win over Miami. The Bearcats certainly have a bright future with him at the helm.
But perhaps the biggest reason to take the Bearcats this week is because they are going to be the more rested team. They last played on October 1, so they will have had 14 days in between games by the time October 16 rolls around. Meanwhile, BYU has to be gassed as it will be working on a short week having last played on October 10.
But perhaps the biggest reason to take the Bearcats this week is because they are going to be the more rested team. They last played on October 1, so they will have had 14 days in between games by the time October 16 rolls around. Meanwhile, BYU has to be gassed as it will be working on a short week having last played on October 10. The Cougars haven’t had a bye week all season, and they’ve played one of the toughest schedules in the country with Nebraska, Boise, UCLA, Michigan, UConn and ECU. There’s not one bad team in that bunch. They desperately need a break, but they won’t be getting one against this up-tempo, high-powered Cincinnati offense.
The Bearcats are 6-0-1 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS win and 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine games following a S.U. win. The Cougars are 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 games following an ATS loss. Cincinnati is 1-4 ATS in its last five vs. American Athletic opponents.