The Cincinnati Bearcats have stormed ahead of the pack in the American Athletic Conference and the entire Group of 5 in recent weeks. Luke Fickell and his Bearcats blew away SMU and Memphis for back-to-back statements wins in conference play. This week, Cincinnati (5-0, 3-0 AAC) looks to keep its unbeaten record going with a home game against the Houston Cougars (2-2, 2-1).
Houston at No. 6 Cincinnati
Kickoff: Saturday, Nov. 7 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Spread: Cincinnati -13.5
When Houston Has the Ball
Houston's offense is up against the most difficult task the Cougars may face all season. Cincinnati brings the AAC's leading defense and a unit that's ranked in the top 15 nationally in three of the four major categories (passing defense is 32nd) into the weekend. Huston quarterback Clayton Tune will have to be especially careful with the football too. Cincinnati leads the AAC with eight interceptions this season, and Tune is coming off his second two-interception game of the year. Cincinnati also has allowed just two touchdown passes this season.
When Cincinnati Has the Ball
Cincinnati is coming off a brilliant performance from quarterback Desmond Ridder against Memphis. In a statement victory over Memphis, Ridder completed 21-of-26 attempts for 271 yards with three touchdowns. Ridder can also do damage on the ground, which he showed by rushing for 179 yards in a big win at SMU two weeks ago and 41 yards last weekend against Memphis. Senior Gerrid Doaks and freshman Jerome Ford each getting some opportunities to carry the football will make for a long night on the ground for the Houston defense.
Houston's defense also is coming off a rough outing against UCF. The Cougars allowed 681 yards and the Knights scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 44-21 victory. Houston's defense may have too many holes to plug against Cincinnati. Expect the Bearcats to thrive on the ground after the Cougars surrendered 353 rushing yards to the Knights last week.
Cincinnati seems to be hitting its stride in a push for a spot in the New Year's Six bowl berth. If the Bearcats hope to make a case to the College Football Playoff selection committee, it's never too early to start racking up big wins the way Cincinnati has the past few weeks. Expect that to continue this weekend at home with an overwhelming defensive effort making for a long afternoon for the Cougars.
Prediction: Cincinnati 34, Houston 20
Podcast: Week 10 Preview and Predictions