(6-5, 5-4-2 ATS)
(4-7, 4-7 ATS)
A disappointing season for both the Pittsburgh Panthers and Cincinnati Bearcats comes to a close on Saturday afternoon at the U of C, as both teams look to take a step in the right direction with a college football betting victory in their Big East finales.
The only consolation prize this year for the Panthers is that they are going to a bowl game. If the chips fall right and both the West Virginia Mountaineers and Connecticut Huskies lose on Saturday, this one would be for the right to go to the BCS, but the truth of the matter is that U-Pitt doesn’t deserve it after blowing a two game lead in the conference with just four to play. There just hasn’t been enough offense for the Panthers this year to cut it. They got absolutely nothing this year out of RB Dion Lewis, as 695 rushing yards and eight scores is about half of what was the minimum expectation this year, and though RB Ray Graham had 825 yards and eight TDs as well, the majority of his stats were accumulated in one massive game against a Sun Belt team. QB Tino Sunseri is no Bill Stull, that’s for sure. He only threw for 2,318 yards and 15 scores against seven picks. The only good news is that the defense has at least held its own, though the schedule has been incredibly weak. Missing DE Greg Romeus for virtually the entire season has stung dramatically.
The Bearcats were 12-0 going into the Sugar Bowl last year when HC Brian Kelly decided to jump ship and head to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Since that point, the Bearcats are a woeful 4-8 both SU and ATS, and they are really in the dregs of the Big East at this point. Offensively, some of the great numbers that we came to expect last season are really still there. RB Isaiah Pead, in spite of the fact that he missed a couple games due to injury, is averaging 6.8 yards per carry and has 932 yards on the ground, while both WR Armon Binns and WR DJ Woods have had great years as well, combining for almost 2,000 yards and 18 scores. QB Zach Collaros has taken a major drop off from his first year to his second, though. Many thought that this was a Heisman Trophy finalist in the making this year, especially after really being the better quarterback between he and QB Tony Pike for the majority of last season. However, Collaros has only completed 59.3 percent of his passes with 25 scores and 11 picks, and he needs 207 yards in this game to finish up his season with 3,000 yards.
The Panthers remember what the Bearcats did to them last year, stealing a victory from the jaws of defeat in a game that really should have been won at home. Now, U-Pitt can return the favor by going into the Bearcats’ den and ending their season on a low note. The Panthers are the lesser of the two evils in this one.
College Football Free Pick: Pittsburgh Panthers -1