Thursday, October 25, 2012

Building supply brawls

With the Bengals on bye this week, the Queen City will turn to the collegiate landscape to get its football fix. A pair of rivalry games should make things interesting.

Cincinnati Bearcats @ #16 Louisville Cardinals

In the 52nd Battle of the Keg of Nails (although I'm not sure why anyone would want a keg of nails), the Big East standings could finally get some clarification. The Cardinals (2-0 in Big East play) are currently in second place behind #15 Rutgers (4-0 Big East record), while Cincinnati (1-0 Big East record) rounds out the third spot. UC leads the all-time series between the schools 29-21-1, with the Bearcats winning the last four meetings. Cincinnati also holds a 13-9-1 advantage in games played at Louisville and has a two-game winning streak at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

At times, the Cincinnati offense has been of quality caliber, with running back George Winn averaging 101 yards per game, and quarterback Munchie Leguax averaging 283 total offensive yards. The defense has allowed only 16.8 points per game, along with racking up the tackles for loss. The front of their schedule is loaded with cupcake teams (Delaware State, Fordham), and their only big win has been on opening night against Pittsburgh. To be fair, though, the 'Cats showed up when their Big East record was on the line.

The Cardinals have stumbled over an easy non-conference schedule, looking much more unimpressive than their ranking and 7-0 overall record would suggest. Quarterback Terry Bridgewater has lived up to expectations with a 73 percent completion rate and 11 touchdowns, but the rest of the team has been average to above average at everything. That's what happens when you beat UNC, South Florida, Florida International, and Southern Mississippi by a combined 18 points.

As you can see, both teams are largely untested in big games, and the winner of this matchup will likely contest Rutgers for the conference title.

#24 Ohio Bobcats @ Miami RedHawks

The Battle of the Bricks (seriously, what's up with fighting over construction supplies?) finds itself in Oxford on Saturday as the Bobcats travel to Yager Stadium.

Ohio hit the national spotlight in Week 1 with a win over Penn State, but haven't faced any real competition since that game. Their 3-0 conference record puts them at second in the MAC-East division, but those three wins came against UMass, Akron and Buffalo--arguably the three worst MAC teams. The RedHawks, too, have posted wins against UMass and Akron, but fell to Bowling Green and third place in the MAC-East standings. Miami (2-1 MAC record) could lock a spot in the conference championship game by winning their five remaining MAC games.

The biggest statistical story to watch during this game is that of RedHawk quarterback Zac Dysert, a member of the NCAA's exclusive 10.00 yard club. Dysert currently is in 61st place with 10,444 career passing yards. A 17th career passing effort could move Dysert past Boston College's Dough Flutie (1,579), USC's Matt Leinart (10,693) and Marshall's Chad Pennington (10,698).

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