Bearcats Trying to Stay in the Playoff Picture

The Cincinnati Bearcats (9-0) and the South Florida Bulls (2-7) will face off at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 PM EST on Friday, November 12. 

The Bearcats are right outside the college football playoff, as they rank fifth entering Friday. However, as long as they keep winning, they will have a possible opportunity to creep into the top four. But their margin for error is thin, and any loss will be detrimental to their chances. 

USF has labored all season, but they could play the role of spoiler in this one. Especially considering that Cincinnati has failed to cover the spread over their past couple of games. 

Cincinnati is coming off of an exciting 28-20 victory over Tulsa, while USF dropped a shootout to Houston by a final score of 54-42. 



The Bearcats keep on winning, and that is their only option right now. This is a team with playoff aspirations, and if they can finish out the season strong, we could see Cincinnati battling for the championship in the playoffs. 

This offensive unit has been incredible all season long, as they rank fifth in total offense. Quarterback Desmond Ridder has been a constant all year, as the QB has thrown for over 2,100 yards and 20 touchdowns. Running back, Jerome Ford is nearing 900 yards on the season with 15 touchdowns. 

They are lethal in the scoring department with their impressive ability to run and throw the ball at a high rate. It is a major reason why they find themselves undefeated here in mid-November. 

However, Ford is dealing with an ankle injury which could limit him on Friday. 

Their defense is excellent as well. They only allow 15.9 points per game which places them fifth in the nation in that department. The Bearcats defense is effective at stopping both the pass and run. 

This is a Cincinnati team that is going to need to sell out in this performance as well. This is a scenario where just winning the game won’t cut it. They need to dominate this performance and prove to the CFB committee that they deserve a playoff spot. 


The Bulls don’t have a whole lot to play for at this juncture of the campaign. They are 2-7 and have struggled throughout the year. But, they can upset Cincinnati and lower their chances of making it to the postseason. 

And that is the goal late in the year for teams that endured difficult seasons. The Purdue Boilermakers have earned the nickname of the “spoiler makers’ as they have already upset two top teams. The Bulls could join that trend and spoil a season for an excellent team in Cincinnati. 

This offense posted 42 points last game so that they could be a threat on offense in this matchup. Expect the Bulls to give everything they have as they look to steal a victory on Friday. 

Having a home-field advantage will increase their chances of giving Cincinnati some trouble as well. 


USF has covered the spread five times in their last six contests in front of their home fans. However, they are just 2-7 on the season. 

The Bearcats have gone under the total in seven of their last nine games on the road. Cincinnati has not covered the spread four out of their previous five times playing the Bulls on the road. Despite their issues with the spread at times this season, the Bearcats are incredibly talented and well-balanced, and they have the tools to get the job done on Friday. 


According to Betonline, Cincinnati is a 23.5 point favorite. They set the over/under at 57.5. 

BetUS has the Bearcats as 23 point favorites. They set the total at a lower number of 48.5. 

While it is obvious who the favorite is, the discrepancy in total is attention-catching. The total will likely be decided in the fourth quarter when USF attempts to score some garbage points if they are indeed blown out. 

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The Bearcats are going to win this game unless something truly out of the ordinary occurs. The real question is, by how much? As aforementioned, the Bearcats need to win by a large margin to impress the CFP committee.

For that reason alone, I like the spread holding up in this one. Cincinnati will mix their passing and running game in the first half and will likely run the lights out in the second half. The Bulls’ defense struggles against the run, so the Bearcats should have little resistance in scoring on the ground late in the game. 

While upsets are exciting and happen all of the time in college football, I would not bet on it happening in this game. 


We fully expect Cincinnati to remain undefeated on Friday night. The Bearcats should be able to go out and win by a good amount of points. USF might be able to score a bit and make the game closer than one may believe, but I think the predicted spread of around 23 points sounds about right. 


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