The second week of the 2012 college football season kicks off this Thursday night (8:00pm ET) with a Big East Conference match up featuring the Panthers of the University of Pittsburgh (0-1) traveling to Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, OH to take on the Bearcats of the University of Cincinnati in their first game of the season. Pittsburgh dropped their opening game to Youngstown State by a score of 31-17 last weekend at home in a game in which they were favored by 18.5 points going in, and the Panthers finished 6-6 in 2011. The Bearcats finished 10-3 last season, finishing up with a 31-24 win over Vanderbilt in the Liberty Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
The Panthers return quarterback Tino Sunseri in his third season as the starting quarterback, Sunseri threw for 2,616 yards with 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2011. The Panther defense had problems with Youngstown State’s spread offense last week, allowing 381 total yards in their loss to the Penguins. Cincinnati coach Butch Jones named Munchie Legaux, who threw for 749 yards with 5 TDs and 4 INTs in his three starts (2-1 record) last season, as the new starting quarterback for the Bearcats in 2012. With 60 first and second year players on the roster, the Bearcats will be a much different team than last year’s top-25 ranked squad. Look for a running back by committee approach utilizing George Winn, Jameel Poteat, and Ralph David Abernathy IV to replace departed star Isaiah Pead for Cincinnati. Running back Ray Graham should be a featured weapon for Pitt, Graham ran for 5.8 yards per carry (958 rushing yards) and 9 TDs last season in only 8 games before suffering a season-ending injury. He is back this season and ran for 71 yards on 14 carries in the opener last week.
BEST FOOTBALL BETTING SITE:
#1) Best College Football Lines
#2) Best Bonus – 50% up to $520 FREE
#3) Best Deposit Methods
Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati Spread and Betting Odds:
Pittsburgh Panthers +4.5
@ Cincinnati Bearcats -4.5
Over 48.5 (-110)
Under 48.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from 5Dimes.eu <- $520 FREE
Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati Pick:
Pittsburgh and Cincinnati last met on November 5 of 2011 at Pittsburgh; a game won 26-23 by the Bearcats in which they failed to cover the 3.5 pint line and the under came in for the 54.5 point total. The Panthers are 20-7 ATS in their last 27 Big East games, and 502 ATS in their last 7 games overall. Cincinnati is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 Thursday games, and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a losing record. The under is 5-1 in Pitt’s last 6 road games and 4-1 in their last 5 games overall. The under is 10-1 in Cincinnati’s last 11 Thursday games and 7-3 in their last 10 games overall. In head-to-head play, the home team is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings, and Pitt is 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings between the two teams.
Both teams had success offensively in their meeting last season, with Pitt and Cincinnati putting up 397 and 366 yards of total offense respectively. No individual had a particularly outstanding day however, save for the departed Isaiah Pead who ran for 118 yards. With so many new players for Cincinnati and the Bearcats yet to take the field this season, it is hard to say exactly what they have on either side of the ball. We do know they have a quarterback with extensive experience in their system that was able to win for them last season, and they have a spread offense that is similar to that run by Youngstown State with great success against the Panthers last week, only with superior athletes to the Penguins. If the Bearcats are able to achieve anything close to the 11 for 16 (69%) success rate that Youngstown St. had on 3rd downs last week, it will be a long day for the Panthers. The call here is that Cincinnati will be able to attack the Panther defense at will and should be able to cover the 4.5 points at home with relative ease against a Pitt team that appears to have major issues on defense. With an unknown quantity in the Bearcat defense, it is difficult to advise playing the over/under here as the Panthers could have success on offense as well. The play to make is the Bearcats to cover here.
PICK = Cincinnati -4.5