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Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Pitt Panthers Preview

Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Pitt Panthers Preview

Starting out week 2 with the Thursday night game. Pretty happy with my 5-3 +3.5* Units week in Week 1 and look to build upon that here in a Big East Thursday Grudge Match, Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Pittsburgh Panthers.

1.5* Units Pittsburgh Panthers +3 1st Half

Added: 1* Units Pittsburgh Panthers +6

I’ve been looking at this game for two days and keep going back and forth with how I feel. When I get into this spot, I go back to the basics and break it down. I start with the trenches, because that’s where the game is dictated. The throwing and running game stems from the trenches. First downs stem from the trenches. Ultimately, scoring comes from protection, running lanes, and blocking.

Cincinnati Offense vs Pittsburgh Defense

Let’s start on with Nati on the offensive side of the ball.

They lose LG, LT, and their C from last year, for a combined 76 starts. Two of those players were All-Big East. They have 3 players returning to the line with some playing experience. On the other side of the ball, Pitt returns 2 DTs. One being relatively solid. They lose their 3 best Linebackers. Cumulatively between these players, they lose 36% of their tackles and 16 sacks. The light at the end of the tunnel is they return their leading sack DT and are very deep at LB. In conclusion, I don’t think either teams line here are that solid. Doesn’t appear as though either team has the advantage, but the fact that Pitt couldn’t penetrate Y State (no sacks), I don’t see them doing it much here either.

Continuing on the Nati offensive side, they have a QB named Munchie. Seriously bro? Let’s talk about this for a second. What type of female goes through allllll the trouble of having a baby, and then decides to name it Munchie?  I’m already skeptical.http://grfx.cstv.com/schools/cinn/blog/MunchieLegaux.jpg

In seriousness though, He has some experience. Zach Collaros went down for a few games last year and Munchie got some looks. He was sub-par throwing the ball, completing just 47% of his passes. I think some of this has to do with being thrown into situations without as much preparation with first team, with the WR, etc. I think this year will be better, but he still won’t be a 60% passer. He’s also a pretty solid rusher. He averages 6.6 YPC last year. This is grossly underestimated in the early weeks. Having a QB that can pick up 3rd downs, and extend drives, making something out of nothing. That’s valuable. I don’t see Pitt having too much of an answer for him personally, but I think his supporting cast is lacking. With that being said, I still expect him to make mistakes.

At RB and WR, Cincy lost quite a bit. They have some talent returning, but no one scary. This could be an issue as all of Pitts attention is stopping Munchie (this just sounds so wrong). The Pitt secondary is the most secure part (so I thought) of their defense based on who they have returning. They did not prove that last week though as they were shredded by Y State. Munchie is not as good of a passer as Y State QB, and I honestly think he struggles a bit throwing the ball here.

Pittsburgh Offense vs Cincinnati Defense

On the Pitt offensive side of the ball, on paper, they are pretty solid. The only big turnover was the OL. They lost the RG, RT, and LT who combined for 66 starts. With that being said, they protected Tino well last week. I think they will have a tougher time this week against a Cincy DL, even though they lost their 2 most solid lineman. They are deep though, returning 5 players with 12 or games of experience. They will get pressure, but I don’t think they will be in the back field allllll day.

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6033/6373621515_056e8330c5.jpgThe QB for Pitt is Tino Sunseri. I think this dude has been starting since Dan Marino. He is a pretty experienced 64% passer, but he makes quite a few mistakes. Surrounding him, he has highly touted Ray Graham who averages 5.9 YPC and is set to breakout. He fumbled last week, and I think he rebounds this week as a senior leader who is trying to improve his draft stock. On the defensive side, Cincy lost their best LB, but return 3 with decent amounts of experience. They should be okay here, but not totally disruptive. In the secondary, their big loss is their free safety. Overall this defense is a bunch of ball hawks.

I project Tino and Ray Graham to be able to pace the game and have some sustained drives. They only had one 3 and out last week, but with that being said only went 6 of 12 on 3rd down conversions. They only punted the ball twice so how didn’t the score? The reason they lost the game was because of fumbles and not being able to get any big stops on defense. Y State completely controlled the game on offense. I expect the defense struggles to probably continue, but I think they convert better 3rd downs and red zone opportunities. I also don’t expect Cinci offense to be as fluid (that doesn’t mean as good) as Y State.

Off the Field

Outside of the actually talent comparison, there is so much other noise going on with this game. It is UC’s first game of the season, at home in Nippert Stadium, where I have witnessed many of games (back when my high school sold more tickets than UC Football did). Cincy has been pretty solid at home the past few years, and I expect a crowd here and the players jacked up to play.

http://magazine.uc.edu/content/dam/magazine/images/0411/sports1.jpg

UC got to watch Pitt last week. They got extra time to prepare. They will be fresh. I also believe UC has a much better coach.

Pitt got beatdown by an FCS team.  Has a new coach implementing a new system. May be a little dejected. Coming off of short rest. Want to prove themselves that they aren’t as bad as they showed.

My Play

When it comes down to it, I have been back and forth on this game. I am playing Pitt in the first half for multiple reasons. First, I think they want to come out and show that they are actually a decent team. If I am the coach, I am telling these players to put that first game behind them, and that they can still win the Big East and make a good bowl game.

I like the first half here for Pitt because having the game field speed is huge. They’ve gotten out there and have hit someone. I think UC has the first game first half jitters. They will probably miss some tackles and the offense will probably be a little off beat.

I think Pitt will have the adrenaline carry them through the first half at least. The legs may start to feel tired towards the end of the game, where Cincy’s fresh legs should have an advantage.

I look to also probably make a play on the 2h, as well as possibly an in-game play depending on how I see things playing out. I will have those plays on my twitter account, probably from some random bar in the city.

Added Play: Way to much value at +6 on Pitt. No idea what you will get from UC. Pitt has little bit more motivation, better QB, better RB, and just needs to protect ball and convert better. Adding a unit there.

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6 Responses to “Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Pitt Panthers Preview”

  1. Cin Ol return’s just 28 career starts, New Starting QB and RB and first game of the season. I think Cin offense might struggle. Also I’m sure Pit was game planing more for this game the last couple weeks and did not open up the play book VS Youngstown.
    I got pit at +6.

    • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:

      Agreed. You must have just missed me update it. I added a play on Pitt at 6. Move on it quick as I’m sure it won’t last long.

      • Yep just missed it. Allot of value at +6 which i just barley got. Pit can still win the Big East and you know the coach will be selling that. I think they come motivated. If they fall flat I would suspect there is some issues with Player/new coach compatibility

        • SabertStxVii SabertStxVii says:

          Absolutely agree. Teams historically and statistically (which I never usually rely to much on btw) improve the most from week 1 to 2. I think theres alot stacked against Pitt, but people are high on a Cinci team we know nothing about, in their first game.

  2. Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

    Agreed. I couldn’t resist the +6. GoSooners and I cleaned up last year on Big East underdogs getting 3 or more points.

    Great write-up Sabert. I went with you on the first half too.

  3. That was a horribly executed game by Pitt. So many bad decisions by players and the coaching staff. I would suspect that there is some tension between new coaching staff and players. And after seeing the play calling I dont blame the players for not buying in. Betting on first year QB (and now) first year coaches early in the season is a no go for me now.

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  1. Thursday In The Big East: A Reluctant Nod To Pitt | Just Cover - [...] be quick as it sounds like the line is back on its way down.  I am not the only …

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