Week 11 - Cincinnati at Temple

Posted Nov 7, 2012

Week 11 Fearless Prediction – Cincinnati at Temple

Cincinnati (6-2) at Temple (3-5) Nov. 10, 12:00, Big East Network

Here's The Deal: With each Louisville victory, it looks increasingly likely that Cincinnati will not be the Big East representative in a BCS bowl game. Instead, the Bearcats will spend the final four games of the regular season trying to improve their eventual postseason destination.

Cincy officially became bowl eligible after rallying to beat Syracuse, and snapping a two-game losing streak in the process. Butch Jones has begun using multiple quarterbacks to spark his offense, a storyline that bears a close watch throughout November.

Since peaking with back-to-back Big East wins in October, Temple has fallen off the radar by losing three straight games … in blowouts. The wheels have come off for the Owls, who have fallen to Rutgers, Pitt and Louisville by no fewer than 25 points. Only good enough to compete in spurts, the program hasn't played a complete game all season long.

Why Cincinnati Might Win: The D of Temple has become a Temple of doom.

The Owls haven't stopped anyone over the last three games, slipping into last place in the Big East in defense. And now here comes Cincinnati, the league's highest scoring offense. Munchie Legaux has been erratic at quarterback, paving the way for Brendon Kay to compete for reps, but it hasn't kept the Bearcats from putting up points. RB George Winn has been revelatory in his final year of eligibility, closing in on 1,000 yards. He hoisted the offense on his shoulders a week ago, running for 165 yards and three scores, and throwing a 37-yard touchdown pass.

Why Temple Might Win: No, it hasn't produced wins of late, but that won't keep the Owls from attempting to control the clock and wear out the defense with their running game.

Temple can't throw the ball and has been leaky on defense, so the onus will again fall on the shoulders of the backfield. Whether Chris Coyer or Clinton Granger—or both—is behind center, the Owls are going to operate a power running game that also heavily incorporates RB Montel Harris. The Boston College transfer has really come on since taking over the load in early October. On a macro level, Cincy has been fine against the run, but in recent weeks, Toledo and Syracuse have had success on the ground against it.

What To Watch Out For: Who wound up Greg Blair?

The Cincinnati linebacker leads the Big East with 83 tackles, quite a turnaround from last season's quiet debut out of Lackawanna (Penn.) Community College. He's provided veteran leadership all year for a unit that was hurt by graduations and injuries. The 6-2, 252-pounder, who has posted double-digits in tackles in each of the last three games, figures to be a busy man again this week versus the ground-based Temple offense.

What Will Happen: While Cincinnati isn't so consistent that it can't be picked off, Temple is showing no signs that it's capable of upsetting a more talented opponent.

The Owls are operating on fumes, getting little production out of anyone but Harris. The running back won't be enough to compensate for a Bearcats squad that has its own ground-gainer, Winn, to go along with a better situation just about everywhere else. Cincinnati hasn't won a true road game in 2012, but the Temple D will provide the roadmap for a breakthrough at the Linc in Philadelphia.

CFN Prediction: Cincinnati 30 … Temple 21
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Cincinnati -11 O/U: 53.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Skyfall, 1 – Wreck It Ralph): 2