The Michigan Wolverines change gears a bit, as they welcome the Cincinnati Bearcats to the Big House a week after their opener. Michigan are coming off an easy 33-17 win over Florida. It was a lot easier than the score indicated, a game that could have been won by a much wider margin. The Florida offense was useless, with their only scores coming on two pick-6’s. Wilton Speight telegraphed both passes right into the waiting arms of Gators in the secondary, which were brought back for touchdowns.
There was no offense to speak of when it came to Florida. Yes, there were suspensions on Florida, but for their offense to do absolutely nothing was impressive on Michigan’s defense. They looked even faster than last season, which is saying something for a team who owned a top-5 defense in 2016.
Keep in mind, this is a young Michigan roster. That game against Florida is just a glimpse into what should develop into an even better Michigan defense in the coming years. The offense did not look great, notably Speight was shaky in the pocket. With that said, it was a rather encouraging sign to see Michigan running the ball effectively. Florida’s strength is their defense, and at times, the Wolverines were running through it like butter. Ty Isaac led the way with 114 yards on just 11 attempts. It wasn’t all bad for the offense, because the rushing attack made it look easy against a stout Florida front.
The key for Jim Harbaugh is finding the next Andrew Luck. He had an elite quarterback in Luck at Stanford, but it still searching for that missing piece of the equation at Michigan. Speight isn’t it. Nevertheless, there will never be a shortage of quarterback prospects lining up to want to play for Harbaugh, who just recently turned Jake Rudock from a fringe starter in college to a NFL quarterback.
Many say Brandon Peters is the guy, but word out of camp was that he is still has to improve on commanding the offense. There is also freshman Dylan McCaffrey (yes, the brother of Christian), who could turn into something special. As it is now, Speight is not a game changer, but more of a game manager. With their defense, it’s all they’ll need to be in the thick of the top-10 this year, though. Cincinnati is in full rebuild mode and didn’t impress in Week 1 against Austin Peay. We’ll see how they handle the Wolverines at the Big House on Saturday. Get our free college football pick below.
Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Michigan Wolverines Betting Odds:
Cincinnati +34 (-110)
vs. Michigan -34(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Cincinnati vs. Michigan Pick:
If Cincinnati wants to pull of an Appalachian State type upset, they must play 100x better than last week. 100 times is being generous. They nearly lost to one of the worst football programs in all of the FBS and FCS last week, narrowly escaping Austin Peay. Austin Peay hasn’t won a game since 2014 against Murray State. You can argue that the Bearcats kept their cards close and didn’t want to reveal too much for Michigan week, but when you can’t complete the fundamentals it goes beyond that.
Note that Austin Peay outrushed Cincinnati by 127 yards and 65 yards in total. Over 200 yards rushing for a team who hasn’t won since 2014 is a tad bit concerning for Luke Fickell. Fickell is familiar with Michigan, having spent years on the coaching staff at Ohio State. This is not “The Game”, though, it’s Cincinnati vs Michigan, a rebuilding Cincinnati team. Fickell didn’t come into this season expecting much, on the heels of a 4-8 year campaign with depleting talent. At this point, it’s about seeing where individual players are and recruiting well.
There aren’t going to be any secrets with respects to what Michigan is going to do in this game offensively. They’re going to pound the ball and pound it some more up the gut on the Beartcats’ defense. I expect Harbaugh to open it up a little bit to try and make Speight feel more comfortable, but this is going to be a game where Michigan will run the ball for huge gains regularly.
The Wolverines will probably be able to run the same play consecutively, but I don’t think Cincinnati will have the personnel to stop the onslaught. Michigan mangled Rutgers for a 78-0 final a year ago. While I don’t think it will be that bad, I see Michigan covering the 34 points.
PICK: MICHIGAN -34 (-110)