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NORTH CAROLINA vs. CINCINNATI
Saturday, Dec. 28, 3:20 pm
ESPN North Carolina won five of its final six games to become bowl eligible after starting 1-5 and was rewarded with its fourth trip to the Belk Bowl on Dec. 28 where it will meet Cincinnati. The Tar Heels became only the sixth team since the regular season expanded to 12 games in 2006 to start the season so poorly and make a bowl game. North Carolina, which did not participate in the postseason last year due to bowl sanctions, is searching for just its second bowl win since 2001. Cincinnati will end its season in Charlotte for the second straight season against an opponent from the state of North Carolina after defeating Duke 48-34 in last year’s contest. With newly hired Tommy Tuberville acting as a “watching head coach” (as he called it in a recent press conference), the Bearcats won despite the departure of coach Butch Jones and both of his coordinators after they accepted similar positions at Tennessee. Despite a decided home-field advantage, the Tar Heels are still in search of their first Belk Bowl victory.
The Bearcats – winners of six of seven – are striving for their sixth 10-win season in the last seven years after coming up short in an overtime loss to conference champion Louisville. Brendon Kay directs the passing attack while Cincinnati is one of five teams in the FBS holding opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing per game. While Cincinnati has typically been proficient offensively, it hasn’t always been efficient, committing at least two turnovers in four straight contests and eight times overall this season.
The Tar Heels - Marquise Williams filled in admirably once starting quarterback Bryn Renner was lost for the season in early November, while leading the Tar Heels to a 3-1 finish. Eric Ebron who has already announced he will enter May’s NFL Draft, is widely considered to be the best tight end in the country. Freshman Ryan Switzer tied the ACC single-season record with four punt return touchdowns in only three games.
Cincinnati should win by more than 2 touchdowns and really dont see this game being close. This right now is one of my favorite picks. Really like the Cinci defense and think if they have a decent game plan they should roll. What a great moneyline dog for us to jump all over. Will update as we get closer to game.
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