The Saturday afternoon NCAAF docket is jam-packed with numerous quality matchups. In the early window which starts at Noon EST, there are four ranked teams in action, as well as several other compelling contests to sift through. Our attention has been drawn to a showdown in Columbus.
The Ohio State Buckeyes will be welcoming the Cincinnati Bearcats to campus for an early kickoff. The Buckeyes are pretty big favorites, but the Bearcats bring a solid defense to the table. It’s a great measuring stick game for both sides, not to mention another chance for a team from the American Athletic Conference to prove that it can hang with the big boys.
In last week’s opener, Ohio State cruised to a home victory over Florida Atlantic behind an impressive debut performance from signal caller Justin Fields. Cincinnati also tasted victory on the home field in Week 1, taking a 10-point victory over UCLA behind a solid defensive performance and a balanced approach on offense.
It shapes up to be an intriguing matchup. The Bearcats have something to prove, while the Buckeyes are looking to continue inserting themselves into the national championship conversation. Let’s take a look at this contest in full detail, starting with the way the oddsmakers see it.
Cincinnati vs. Ohio State, 12 PM EST, Sat. Sept.7, ABC
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Cincinnati vs. Ohio State Pick:
Entering last Thursday’s game with UCLA, the Bearcats were 2-point favorites. The team went up 7-0 in the first quarter and never looked back, taking the game by a final score of 24-14. Desmond Ridder had a pretty solid day, throwing for 242 yards, two scores and a pick. Michael Warren II had a pair of TDs and 119 combined yards. The Cincinnati defense notched two sacks and forced four turnovers.
Justin Fields had himself a day in his first start for the Buckeyes. He threw for 234 yards and four scores, and ran for 61 yards and another score for good measure. J.K. Dobbins led the way out of the backfield with 91 yards and a TD. The Buckeyes defense got to the FAU QB four times and forced a turnover. Ohio State dominated in a 45-21 win, but they missed the cover as 28-point favorites.
|Ohio State||13-1||8-1||593||357||W6||1-B10 East||#3||W-Rose|
It was a solid 2018 for the Bearcats. They suffered only two losses, but those defeats would cost the squad a crack at the AAC title. The team picked up two shutouts, and held opponents to 10 points or less three other times. The program was invited to the Military Bowl to face off with Virginia Tech. The trip went quite well as they managed to walk off the field with a 35-31 win.
The Buckeyes only suffered one loss last year, a 45-20 road upset at Purdue. The team smashed Michigan in the final game of the regular season by a score of 62-39. They advanced to the Big Ten title tilt versus Northwestern, picking up a 45-24 win. The club missed out on a bid for the College Football Playoffs. The consolation prize was a trip to the Rose Bowl, where they took down Washington by a score of 28-23.
For the 2018 campaign, Cincinnati tied for 28th in the nation with 34.9 points per game. The defense was 7th with 16.1 points allowed per contest. All of the major pieces of the coaching staff return this year. Luke Fickell is in his 3rd year as head coach of the Bearcats with a record of 16-10 to date. The program has returned a good amount of talent, but there has been some attrition on both lines.
Ohio State was 8th in the country last season with an average of 34.9 points per game. The defense wasn’t as stout as normal last year, especially against the pass, and checked in at 55th in the nation with 25.7 points allowed per contest. Ryan Day has taken over as head coach for the retiring Urban Meyer. The team remains loaded with talent and has little trouble restocking the coffers as players move on.
The Buckeyes have dominated the overall series with a record of 14-2 versus the Bearcats. The last meeting took place back in 2014. Ohio State picked up a convincing 50-28 home win as 17-point favorites.
For the 2018 season, Cincinnati was 7-6 against the spread and 6-7 on totals. Ohio State checked in at 6-8 ATS and 7-7 on the Over/Under. As road underdogs, the Bearcats were 2-2 last year. The Buckeyes were 3-3 as home favorites.
For this tilt, Ohio State checks in as 15.5-point home favorite, while the total is projected at 53.5 points.
This game almost has a little brother, big brother feel to it. Cincinnati is looking like one of the top programs in the Group of Five this season, while Ohio State is in the mix for the same honors in the Power Five conferences.
The Bearcats defense is no joke. They should be able to make the Buckeyes work for it, especially in the early going. A really tight game at halftime wouldn’t be stunning. However, Ohio State is the more talented team overall, and the offense can be downright explosive.
We can safely assume they will eventually break through on the stout defense of Cincinnati. The Bearcats will make a game of this, but the Buckeyes should be able pull away in the end. This one has all the makings of one in which the spread can go either way entering the fourth quarter.
We’re rolling with Ohio State minus the points in what should be an entertaining contest.