Cincinnati Bearcats (4-0 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. Miami (OH) RedHawks (0-4 SU, 0-4 ATS), 1:00 p.m. EST, Saturday, October 3, 2009, Yager Stadium, Oxford, Ohio.
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Cincinnati -28/Miami (OH) +28
Could Cincinnati be a BCS team this season? Could Bearcats quarterback Tony Pike be a Heisman contender? Could Miami of Ohio go winless? All three are possible right now, and it’s likely that all three will remain possibilities after Cincinnati and Miami of Ohio meet early Saturday afternoon.
Cincinnati is now ranked No. 10 in the country after a 28-20 win at home over Fresno State to improve to a 4-0 record. The Bearcats have also enjoyed two wins over solid competition - Oregon State and Rutgers - on the road and a 70-3 home demolition of helpless Southeast Missouri State.
Miami failed to score a point in its first two games, getting outscored 90-0 by Kentucky and Boise State. The RedHawks have at least improved enough since then to score 26 points in a 22-point defeat at Western Michigan and they lost 29-19 on Saturday at Kent State.
The Bearcats’ formula for success thus far has been a consistent defense and a very good quarterback. In four games, Pike has thrown for 1,223 yards, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions, and ran for two more touchdowns. Pike has completed over 70 percent of his passes and has only been sacked three times this season.
If Miami wants to keep this game close, the RedHawks will have to put pressure on Pike and try to limit the passing game. Pike’s main target is Mardy Gilyard, who has 32 receptions for 442 yards and six touchdowns. Gilyard isn’t Pike’s only serious target - D.J. Woods and Armon Binns have combined for 35 catches, 457 yards and a touchdown - but Gilyard is certainly Pike’s primary target. If Miami wants to limit Pike, it will have to consistently double-team Gilyard. The moment Pike sees that the 6-foot-1 senior wide receiver has single coverage, the ball will be thrown towards him.
Through the first four games, Pike has 11 touchdowns and two interceptions. Through the first four games, Miami has given up 11 passing TD’s with 2 INT’s. Cincy has been dominant thus far and Miami has been dominated. Based on the numbers, it appears that Pike will have his way with the RedHawks defense.
Jacob Ramsey and Isaiah Pead share the load for Cincy’s ground game. Ramsey leads with 175 yards on 24 carries for a very efficient 7.3 yards-per-carry average, but Pead has more carries (34 for 165 yards) and has three rushing touchdowns, while Ramsey is yet to reach the end zone via a rush.
The Cincy defense has been one of the best in college football against the pass. The Bearcats have nine interceptions this season, which is tied for second in the country (SMU has 11), and have allowed a total of just two passing touchdowns.
Cincinnati’s pass defense is incredible, but its rush defense isn’t bad at all. The Bearcats are allowing just 3.2 yards-per-carry thus far. If Miami wants to keep it close on Saturday, the RedHawks must run the ball better than that because it’s so difficult to pass against the Bearcats. If the RedHawks can establish a decent running game, it will be a little easier to get their passing game going.
Miami’s QB is Daniel Raudabaugh, who has completed just 53 percent of his passes and thrown two touchdowns and five interceptions this season. Raudabaugh needs to have his best game of the season for the RedHawks to stay within reach in this game.
Miami hasn’t been able to consistently run the ball, either. The RedHawks are averaging less than 90 rushing yards per game. Their leading rusher is Zac Dysert with 143 yards. Thomas Merriweather leads the team with 41 carries but he has totaled just 86 yards for a 2.1 yards-per-carry average.
Cincinnati has won 10 of its last 11 games, dating back to last season. The Bearcats are 4-1 ATS in their last five road games and 5-0 SU in their last five road games. The total has gone over in five of Cincy’s last six road games.
Not only has Miami lost all four games this season, but it also has not covered in any of the four games. The RedHawks are 1-4 ATS in their last five home games.
Ryno’s Pick: Against Kentucky and Boise State, Miami scored zero points and gave up a total of 90. Cincinnati has scored at least 28 points in every game this season, and three of its four opponents (Rutgers, Oregon State and Fresno State) are better teams than Miami. Pike will have his way with this defense and continue his pursuit as a sleeper for the Heisman, while the RedHawks will continue to struggle on offense against a defense that hasn’t allowed more than two touchdowns in a game yet this season. Take Cincinnati -28.