7-5 (5-3), 4th Conference USA - East
9-3 (4-3), 3rd Big East
December 22nd, 1:00PM, ESPN2
The Cincinnati Bearcats started out the season 6-0 under new head coach Brian Kelly, but finished the year 3-3 to go to cap off their best season in 54 years. On the other side of the field Southern Miss will be saying farewell to their coach Jeff Bower who resigned after 29 years at the school, 17 of which were as the head coach. This is the second year in a row that Cincinnati will play in a bowl game while the Golden Eagles will be playing in a bowl game for the sixth straight year.
The Bearcats are led by former Wake Forest QB, Ben Mauk. Mauk has thrown for over 2700 yards this season with 27 touchdown passes. He has helped Cincinnati have the 23rd ranked passing offense and 14th ranked scoring offense in the country. Marcus Barnett and Dominick Goodman are his go to receivers combining for over 1600 yards and 19 touchdowns. On defense the Bearcats have a stingy rush defense and a lock down guy in Mike Mickens who has 6 interceptions, 2 of which he has returned for touchdowns. Although as a whole, Cincinnati has shown they will give up a lot of yards through the air.
Southern Mississippi's strength on offense is their rushing attack. Sophomore Damion Fletcher ran for over 1400 yards this season with 15 touchdowns, averaging over 5.4 yards per rush. This will be a good test for Fletcher going up against the Bearcats' tough run defense. Jeremy Young and Stephen Reaves have both seen time at quarterback this year, but Young is the better of the two. Neither are terribly effective and Reaves has show that he is interception prone, throwing 8 interceptions to only 3 touchdown passes. On defense the Golden Eagles are about average against the run and the pass. For them to win they need to use Fletcher to control the clock and not turn the ball over.
Even though both teams have similar records, they are a bit apart in talent. Cincinnati has been battled tested beating teams like Rutgers, South Florida, and Connecticut while Southern Miss. only beat 1 team that is bowl eligible and that was East Carolina. Ben Mauk will have a good day spreading the ball around and the Bearcats will show the Golden Eagles what a true run defense is holding Fletcher to under 100 yards on the ground. Cincinnati 30 Southern Mississippi 13
Picking Southern Mississippi to Win
Sportsbone TV, Mrs Corn Nation,
Picking Cincinnati to Win
ITB Brian Sakowski, Rizzo Sports, ITB Ron Juckett, Pitch Right, The Enlightened Spartan, Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, ITB Charlie Swager, Kansas It's Business Time, MizzouRAH, The LSC Scoop, Corn Nation, Football Frontier, MidWest Coast Bias, Bastard Sons of Pinfall Marks, Brian Isaacson, Brant Chruscial, Timmy B, Matt Kieta, Jeff Brancolini, Sunny Verma, Jason Stiver, Rodney Polston, Richard Dixon, Cyril Tircuit, Pete Boivin, Lou Nemec, Lorena The Dodgerchick, Logan Jaffe, Dan Schoonover, Greg Gowins