The first four weeks of the season found the Cats pitted against their animal kingdom brethren. The Bearcats easily plucked the feathers from two variations of Redhawk, took the Beavers to the woodshed and left the Herd looking like Buffalo Bill Cody himself had just rode through town. Last Saturday we had the Aztecs and now this week we go up against still another bunch of ancient warriors in the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers.
This week's adversary, Rutgers, will play host to the Bearcats of Cincinnati in the Big East opener for both teams. They were known as the Knights until last Saturday's loss to the Maryland Terrapins. The Turtles spanked the formerly undefeated Knights in Piscataway 34-24 as a 17.5 point dog. The Knights faces, embarrassed, pissed off and wondering just where in the heck was Lancelot, turned a shade that can only be described as scarlet, thereby forcing us into making their official moniker a little longer and a lot more colorful. That is the story on the unique name and now it is time to dissect this week's joust.
Coach Greg Schiano's now Scarlet Knights came into this season as one the favorites along with WVU and Louisville to win the Big East. That could still be said for WVU and Rutgers up until last weekend. WVU's loss at South Florida was far less shocking than Rutgers upset loss at home to the Terps. REMEMBER THIS: THAT LOSS WILL DEFINE THEIR SEASON. This Rutgers squad does not have the swagger the '06 squad had and there are obvious reasons for that lack of swagger. Their defense is not the dominating, quick to the ball and hard hitting defense of last year. Their offense is having a hard time establishing the run with Raymell Rice. QB Mike Teel's passing has improved over '06, but if you are a Rutgers fan do you really want to depend on Teel's arm or Ray-Ray's legs to lead you to victory? I think they would take Rice's legs everyday, unfortunately for them that is exactly who the Cats will be concentrating on come Saturday. I'm not Dr. Phil but the Rutgers loss to the Terps has to have had an affect on their psyches. Add into the mix that they were out played, out hustled and out coached and if you're a fan, you had to be out of your mind last Saturday. Rutgers once vaunted run defense could not contain MD's Keon Lattimore and Lance Ball, two runners who have speed and are elusive in the open field. Rutgers had a lot of difficulty tracking these guys down Saturday. I GUARANTEE you Brian Kelly took notice of this fact prior to his conquest of the Aztecs.
HERE IS THE 1st PREDICTION:
The Cincinnati Bearcats' version of the 4 Horsemen are going to get a workout! Rutgers won't be able to stop the ground game of Cincinnati.
There has been quite a bit of talk regarding the Bearcats soft OOC schedule that has netted them a national ranking. With that said, have you taken a gander at who Rutgers has played this season? Let me save you some quality sittin' down reading time: Buffalo, Navy, Norfolk State? and of course Maryland. The first 3 were blowouts, however Coach Schiano caught some national attention for running it up on Navy and Norfolk State. Heck against NORST he called 3 timeouts at the end of the 2-nd quarter with his team up 45-0! What's up with that? Do you think he is/was trying to build some confidence in his team. I think for him and the fans as well. It was short lived confidence however as the very next game they were soundly defeated by Maryland, their first "real" opponent of the year. Headline gang…Maryland is NOT a juggernaut. There is no reason to "fear the Turtle!".
HERE IS THE 2nd PREDICTION:
U.C.'s D-line and Backers are going to stop Ray Rice just like they did against OSU's Bernard. They are going to wear him out. I have to level with you, I've never been a big Rice fan and I feel there are 5 backs in the Big East who have more talent than Rice. Ouch! The truth can be painful, but not as painful as having UC's "D" blowing you up all night!
HERE IS THE 3rd PREDICTION:
Mike Teel will be exposed for the not ready for prime time quarterback that he is. If Mike Teel was a Bearcat he would have been "Zach Fraser'd" before the season started. The Cats are going to make Teel look like the Big East's version of Rex Grossman. I intimated earlier that you didn't want the game on Teel's shoulders and when we squash the now Scarlet Knights running game, that is exactly where it is going to fall.
The early line has the now Scarlet Knights as a 3.5 point favorite. The over/under has been set at 51.5
HERE IS THE FINAL PREDICTION and THE PLAY:
The now Scarlet Knights are living last year's lie, and Vegas is hoping like hell that the public is still in love with Cinderella. It can be argued that the Cats are ‘07's Cinderfellas. Regardless, the wrong team is favored here and the Bearcats are a great value. I've handicapped it at Cincinnati –7.5, getting the 3.5 is like a first date slipping you a couple Viagras, you just know you're going to get lucky! The Bearcats are going to control this contest from the start as we stole their MOJO last November in Cincy and unlike them, we are not going to give it back. Take the Cats plus the 3.5 BIG and make a small play on the total of under 51.5. Always remember, "Gamblin' money's got no home" and go Bearcats!!!