Cincinnati clinched a spot in the AAC championship game after last week’s dominant 48-14 victory over SMU. The Bearcats won’t be satisfied with simply clinching their spot in the game but will look to add style points to their resume for their true goal in 2021: a berth in the College Football Playoff.
The defense has been the calling card all year, led by future NFL corners Ahmad âSauceâ Gardner and Coby Bryant. The Bearcats are allowing only 16 points per game (sixth nationally) and most recently forced six three-and-outs on SMU’s first seven possessions. That’s a top-10 offense they were facing, and they completely neutralized any threat.
East Carolina has been a fun story to follow, reaching bowl eligibility after reeling off four straight victories. It’s the first time the Pirates have reached at least six wins under Mike Houston, and their first bowl game since 2014. The offense has been humming (over 440 yards in four straight) but faces a much stiffer test against the Bearcats.
ECU has been a solid team in 2021. They’ve even impressed in losses, holding Houston to 3.9 yards per play offensively and outgaining South Carolina. Three of their four losses have come by only one possession.
That being said, Cincinnati showcased last week that they’re on another level in this conference. If they play their âA’ game, the Bearcats should win this game going away. Given that this is a sandwich spot (SMU last week, AAC championship next week) and this team has played below expectations for portions of the year, it’s hard to lay the points with them currently.
The model likes Cincinnati in this spot.