SPOOKY EXPRESS BOWLING FOR DOLLARS SELECTION AND ANALYSIS THREAD
CINCINNATI vs. DUKE
Thursday, Dec. 27, 6:30 pm
If this was a basketball game it would be cant miss. But Bowl Season is much more important to me than basketball. Butch Jones is among the hottest names in coaching circles after lifting the Bearcats to a share of their fourth Big East title in the past five seasons despite significant personnel losses from a year ago. Cincinnati is a 9-3 team who has been fighting for relevance as the lead institution in the Big East. They will have to continue their fight but had a great year this year. Quarterback Munchie Legaux lost his job earlier this year to Brendon Kay, but could see some time in this game to get more experience heading into 2013. A player to watch for Cincinnati is George Winn, who is the workhorse and someone who an entire offense can revolve around. His ability to break one at anytime is what the Blue Devils will have to watch out for.
David Cutcliffe, meanwhile, has won the nation's adoration after lifting the Blue Devils to their first bowl berth since 1994, snapping the nation's longest bowl-less streak. They have put together a very good team this season and were just one win away from going to the ACC championship game. Playing in the postseason without crossing state lines gives Duke a chance for plenty of its fans to be one hand. It also gives the 16 Duke players from the Charlotte area a chance to play in front of friends and family members. A key player to keep an eye on is QB Sean Renfree, who has been one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC this season. His all around play has shown that he can lead a poor program like Duke to a bowl game. Renfree will earn his way onto an NFL roster if he can have a good showing against a solid Cincinnati defense.
Duke needs to rise up from the ashes of despair. Duke was trampled four of their five previous games. The Devils’ also fell to the Pacific-12 Conference Champion by 37 points and were beaten to a pulp by the Atlantic Coast Conference Champ and Runner-Up. Duke’s lone away victory came at 5-7, 3-5 Wake Forest 34-27 to end September. Bottom line Duke is terrible at playing defense. Conversely Cincy was 2-2 on the road this season along with a 27-24 win in Washington D.C. over the Hokies. The ‘Cats beat 4-7, 2-5 Temple 34-10 and should wallop the Blue Devils here. I list more stats here because this game should not be close. Cincinnati isn’t a wildly-potent offense, and they have faced uncertainty at QB in the second half of the year. However, they did score 31 points per game, and they should be able to exceed that here. I don’t feel great about the effect the coaching change will have on the Bearcats, but they are still the simple pick here. Duke is underwhelming offensively, they are terrible defensively, they are inexperienced, and they have struggled against decent teams. There is no good reason to consider picking Duke. Cincinnati will win this game by 3 touchdowns. Another one of these bowl matchups that I dont see as being close. Jump all over Cincinnati now and later as I have posted on my NFL express the past week.
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