American Athletic Conference Championship: Cincinnati vs Houston prediction, game preview, how to watch: Saturday, December 4
American Athletic Conference Championship: Cincinnati vs Houston How To Watch
Date: Saturday, December 4
Game Time: 4:00 ET
Venue: Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
How To Watch: ABC
Record: Cincinnati (12-0), Houston (11-1)
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American Athletic Conference Championship: Cincinnati vs Houston Game Preview
Why Houston Will Win
Shhhhhhhhhh, it’s been a very, very quiet Houston team that’s been able to sneak on through the season with 11 straight wins after dropping the opener to Texas Tech, and now it’s here with more than enough talent to play the spoiler role.
It’s not just about taking the American Athletic Conference title for the Cougars. Win this, and they might get the New Year’s Six bowl slot.
There isn’t that Notre Dame win like Cincinnati has, and there’s not even an Indiana – Houston didn’t beat a Power Five team – but the offense has been able to roll with a whole lot of points, the special teams makes a whole lot of big plays, and the defense is like nothing Cincinnati has seen since South Bend.
This Houston defense can swarm.
It’s amazing against the run – it held everyone but Navy to under 150 yards and allowed fewer than 100 yards in six of the last eight games – the pass rush is a terror, and this group takes the ball away in bunches.
The Cougars lead the American Athletic Conference in turnover margin, they’ve forced multiple takeaways in five of the last eight games, and Cincinnati turns the ball over WAY too often – three giveaways in three of the last four games.
Why Cincinnati Will Win
Yeah, Houston has done a whole lot of big things and it’s been building to this point, but …
Houston’s schedule makes Cincinnati’s slate look like the SEC West.
Not to schedule-shame the American Athletic Conference, but Houston has played – according to the official NCAA stats – the second-easiest schedule in college football ahead of only Coastal Carolina.
The best win was over … SMU? Tulsa? There’s not a whole lot of meat on that bone.
No, Cincinnati’s schedule really isn’t that great – everyone knows the problem at this point when it comes to the College Football Playoff discussion – but even with a few close calls against some awful teams, the defense was still a rock when it had to be, the special teams has come up with huge plays to change around games – Indiana and East Carolina were the two biggies – and the offensive line has stepped up as games have gone on.
The Houston offensive line has ben fine. It hasn’t been special, and that could be the big difference against a Cincinnati defensive front that holds up well and should live in the backfield in this.
What’s Going To Happen
How much will the Houston control matter?
Cincinnati is usually able to get teams to play on its terms, but it never seems to have the ball – time of possession doesn’t seem to mean much to Luke Fickell and this team.
On the flip side, Houston dominates the clock and the pace, keeping the ball for over 33 minutes per game as it makes teams press. Cincinnati will come up with a few mistakes as it tries to make something big happen to keep drives alive.
And then it’ll make something big happen to change the momentum around.
Houston will be deep in this for a full four quarters, but for the second year in a row, Cincinnati – thanks to a brilliant drive from QB Desmond Ridder – will pull out the American Athletic Conference championship in a thriller.
And then it’ll quickly check on what’s happening in the SEC Championship that’s going on at the exact same time.
American Athletic Conference Championship: Cincinnati vs Houston Prediction, Lines
Cincinnati 31, Houston 30
Line: Cincinnati -10.5, o/u: 53
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3
Get a 2nd opinion on the Houston vs Cincinnati game from Winners and Whiners. Click here for their in-depth analysis and predictions on the side,total, 1st half, and exotics.
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