Marquise Williams of UNC looked like he spent too much time focusing on anything not football related in Detroit yesterday. He came out sluggish and slow. The offense as a whole was sluggish and slow, which is not how this team usually operates. Speed and pace is what dictates games for North Carolina. If it isn’t there, then more times than not they are going to lose football games. UNC has one of the worst defenses in all of college football, so they can’t rely on getting any help there. The tackling efforts by UNC were getting pathetic, letting Rutgers pound the ball down their throats all night long. After a dismal start for the UNC offense, we almost managed to escape with a win on the OVER 67.5 but the Tar Heel offense came up 8 yards short of making that a possibility. Rutgers took over on 4th down and that was pretty much that with 2 minutes left in the game. Despite the loss I am still happy with how bowl season has progressed thus far. The loss is my first, which puts me at 3-1 for the bowl games. We come back on Saturday with a pick looking to get back in the winning column. I turn to an early matchup between Cincinnati and Virginia Tech in the Military Bowl. VTech was in the spotlight all season long, not for the successes they had throughout the year, but for one game in particular. That game was the upset of Ohio State, beating them 35-21 in week 2. It is all a moot point now, as Ohio State was able to get into the playoff even though they lost to the Hokies.
One thing that stands out in this game is the fact that Cincinnati and Virginia Tech have played a similar schedule despite being in different conferences. They both played Ohio State, Miami, and Eastern Carolina with varying degrees of success. The one game that shines out is VTech’s big win over Ohio State and how the Bearcats got rolled over by the Buckeyes. Not a facet to solely base a pick on, but it is worth noting anyway. The greatest part of bowl season is matching up two different conferences with two totally different styles of play. The Military Bowl particularly sticks out as having opposite styled teams. Tech wants to line the ball up and slow the game down by utilizing a pro-set offense. They utilize plenty of the ground while looking to wear the opposing team down. The goal really is for the defense to take over the game and make the offense come up here and there. Conversely, Cincinnati wants to speed it up with a potent offensive attack. No secret what the game plans will be for these teams, well, I would like to think anyway. The Hokies are going to want to play the field position game, while Cincinnati will try and get ahead early and often. If VTech runs the ball effectively it puts them in a great position to not only cover but win the game straight up. So what is going to win out today, defense or offense?
Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech Spread and Betting Odds:
Cincinnati -3 (-110)
@Virginia Tech +3(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech Pick:
The Bearcats are on an impressive romp lately, winning seven straight games heading into the Military Bowl. The centerpiece of the offense is quarterback Gunner Kiel, who enters the contest throwing 30 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. The sophomore is a pocket passer that likes to wheel the ball around the football field. He has benefited from an excellent offensive line that has only given up 10 sacks on the season. However, we see it happen a lot, quarterbacks taking advantage of porous defenses that skew their numbers. This is without a doubt the stiffest test Kiel will face all season long. The Virginia Tech defense is allowing only 20 points per game, which in college football, is really impressive. Shutting down the Ohio State offense is not an easy task and they did just that earlier in the season. Against the pass the Hokies are giving up only 186 yards per game. If Kiel isn’t careful with the ball, he may be throwing it to the other team, setting VTech up with great field position.
Cincinnati has a commendable defensive unit statistically. They gave up 26.8 points per game in the regular season. But much of that was in thanks to offenses like UConn, Temple, Tulane, USF, and SMU. All of those teams are at the back of the pack offensively. None of them can really run the ball, but Virginia Tech has that potential. They average 142.4 yards per game rushing by using a running back by committee system. It isn’t unheard of to see three backs getting significant carries for the Hokies. The Bearcat defense is susceptible to the run, as they are allowing 158 yards a game on the ground. I like getting points with a shutdown defense in this game. Cincinnati has made a living out of Kiel throwing the ball up, but he is going to see a type of defense he hasn’t seen all year long. VTech has made life tough for opposing quarterbacks all season long, and look for that to continue today. We’ll go with Virginia Tech +3 on the early game on a Saturday of bowl game action.
PICK: VIRGINIA TECH +3 (-110)