The Cincinnati Bearcats are ranked seventh in the country and leading the way in the Group of 5 race to a spot in the New Year's Six, and this week they look for revenge against a team that had their number last year. The Memphis Tigers went 2-0 against Cincinnati last season, so the Bearcats are looking to change the narrative in the series. A win against Memphis would keep Cincinnati at the top of the AAC and inching closer to a spot in the conference championship game. Can Memphis force their way into the AAC title picture?
Memphis at No. 7 Cincinnati
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 31 at 12 p.m. ET
Spread: Cincinnati -7
When Memphis Has the Ball
This is where the best matchup of the game will be found. Memphis has scored 155 points in four games this season, including 118 points in three conference games. The big-play explosion from the Tigers can happen at any given moment, and Brady White is fully equipped to put up some gaudy passing numbers every week. The loss of wide receiver Damonte Coxie to the NFL draft hurts the offense a bit, but Calvin Austin III is still ready to make some big plays as well. Cincinnati's defense, however, has been as stingy as they can come. Cincinnati limited SMU to just 13 points in Dallas last week, and Cincinnati has not allowed more than 20 points in a game this season.
When Cincinnati Has the Ball
While the Memphis offense is expected to put up points, the defense should be expected to give some up as well. Cincinnati scored 42 points against SMU last weekend. Quarterback Desmond Ridder played a big role in the team's rushing attack by leading all players with 179 rushing yards and three scores (he passed for 126 yards and another touchdown as well). But should you be used to seeing that kind of rushing production from Ridder? Probably not. Regardless, expect Cincinnati to try keeping things going on the ground after rushing for 313 yards against SMU.
This is a rematch of last season's AAC Championship Game, but is there a chance it could be a preview of this year's conference title game? For that to be a possibility, Memphis may have to get this win, as a loss would drop them to 2-2 in AAC play. Cincinnati's defense is not going to make that an easy task for the Tigers. After shutting down SMU, asking the Bearcats to do the same against Memphis may be a bit much, but Cincy will manage to slow them down just enough to secure a big win in the AAC.
Prediction: Cincinnati 31, Memphis 27
Podcast: Week 9 Preview and Predictions