Cincinnati vs. UCF fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, November 17
Game Time: 8:00 ET
Venue: Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, FL
Cincinnati (9-1) vs. UCF (9-0) Game Preview
What’s Going To Happen
This might be seen as the showcase game for UCF on a national stage, but it’s going to work both ways.
Cincinnati is looking for its breakthrough moment, too.
The Bearcats might be 19th in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, but based on resumé, that’s a total misfire. It’s a good team whose only good win this year is over … uhhhhh … either Ohio or USF. The only loss is to Temple on the road in overtime, but the program needs this to not only prove it’s legit, but to take a big step in the race for the automatic New Year’s Six spot among the Group of Five champions.
There’s one big problem. If the Bearcats win, and Temple beats USF, the East becomes a mess.
But with GameDay coming to town, and put in the ABC primetime slot, this is the moment for UCF to lobby that it belongs in the College Football Playoff mix.
The 45-14 annihilation of Pitt looks amazing now, but … that’s about it. There’s next to nothing else on the schedule to do cartwheels over, giving up close to 700 yards to Temple and needing a late stop to beat a mediocre Memphis team 31-30.
But that hasn’t stopped the UCF trolling/PR machine from doing everything possible to make a case to be considered for a spot in the top four. Unfortunately, there’s way too much traffic up top, and again, the schedule isn’t going to be strong enough.
However, if UCF comes out and just destroys Cincinnati, the public might start to be swayed a bit.
This isn’t the offense of last year, but McKenzie Milton has managed to come up with another massive season, throwing just two picks against FBS teams and keeping the O moving for 44 points per game. The catalyst of the 22-game winning streak, this is his chance to crank up a few Heisman votes his way, too.
But the Cincinnati defense is terrific under head coach Luke Fickell.
Sixth in the nation and first in the American Athletic conference in total D, the Bearcats don’t allow a thing on third downs, is a rock against the run, and they know how go grind games down. UCF doesn’t care how long it controls the clock – it just wants to go fast, fast, fast.
But the big problem with that, is that going fast, also means you get off the field in a hurry if you’re not moving the chains.
It’s the amazing offense vs. the brick wall of a defense.
The big difference, though, is the turnover margin. UCF is air-tight. It doesn’t turn the ball over, it doesn’t beat itself, and the defense – while porous – is great at coming up with the big takeaways. The Cincinnati D is fantastic, but it doesn’t come up with the key takeaways at the right times.
UCF has come too far and is building this up too much to blow it now. Cincinnati is good enough to pull this off, and it won’t be easy, but the Knights will keep the streak going.
It might not be the performance that will move the needle, but it’ll be entertaining.
Fearless Prediction & Line
UCF 30, Cincinnati 26
Line: UCF -7, o/u: 61
ATS Confidence out of 5: 1
Must See Rating: 4
5: Narcos: Mexico
1: Toy Story 4