The River City "Rivalry" Bix's Picks

After an undeserved week of R & R in always beautiful Hilton Head, Bix's Picks returns for still another attempt at Nostradamian prognostication.

This week the 6-1 Bearcats of Cincinnati are paddling upstream in Viking longboats to meet the 2-4 Panthers of Pittsburgh.  The Cats were scheduled to roll into Pittsburgh via the Dirty Dog (Greyhound), but after last week's turnover laden contest with Louisville, stern disciplinarian and Head Coach Brian Kelly thought it best to take to the mighty Ohio.  All skill position players were required to secure a football at all times while the Big Uglies paddled upriver. 


Can somebody tell me what all this jazz about the River City Rivalry is?  The only River City Rivalry that I have any feelings for was played last Saturday!  We already have the Battle for the Bell and the Keg of Nails.  The River City Rivalry reminds me of a Hallmark holiday.  (SIDEBAR:  SWEETEST DAY IS SATURDAY FELLAS!!!)  I don't know, maybe I am more of a purest when it comes to these kind of things.  Regardless, I saw the "trophy" on a Pittsburgh site and it looks like the Panthers had either just won the Metro Softball Tournament or had placed in the Open Division at Edgewater Raceway.  Hey don't get me wrong, it would look really good on YOUR mantle….on mine however, not so much.



Coach Dave Wannstedt's Pittsburgh Panthers have played more like bubonic plagued Tabbies this season.  Wannstedt has been less than spectacular in his third season at the helm of his alma mater and because of that lack of success; Wannstedt's Fan Club resembles that of Bill Callahan's at Nebraska.  Needless to say the Indians are restless, and while they are not on the warpath as they are in Nebraska, there has been a lot of smoke spotted in the skies over the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela.  Pitt opened with victories at home over Eastern Michigan and an Eddie Robinsonless Grambling State squad.  Impressive…..I jest!  However, they haven't won since.  Pitt lost at Michigan State, at home in a blowout to UCONN 34-14, were plowed at Virginia 44-14 and lost to NAVY in Dobule OT after one of the worst coaching decisions I have witnessed since John McNamara left a hobbling Bill Buckner in for the last three outs of what would/could have been the deciding game of the '86 World Series. 


Pitt's offense is centered around two freshman.  RB LeSean McCoy is 21-st in the nation in rushing.  He has been compared to Pitt and Dallas Cowboy great Tony Dorsett.  I know Tony Dorsett, ladies and gentlemen, and LeSean McCoy is no Tony Dorsett.  Pitt's offense is led by QB Pat Bostick.  Bostick has a sound arm and is pretty savvy, but Bostick would make the late great Bo Diaz look like an Olympic gold medal sprinter.  Bostick's lack of speed and mobility has Byrd, Craig and Hoke salivating like Pit Bulls at a butcher shop.  That will leave Touchdown Tony Jr. to shoulder the load and TD Jr. will quickly realize he is not up against the Midshipmen.  This is not meant to be a knock on the Naval Academy.  Their graduates go on to be boat captains; our graduates go on to be Cowboys, Giants, Steelers and Saints.


Pitt's defense has given up an average of 42 points a game in their last three contests.  Wannstedt's defenses have been historically bad against the spread offense.  The real problem for Pitt is that they didn't play against the spread the past few weeks.  Uh Oh Panthers!!  Trust me; you will see a rejuvenated Bearcat offense Saturday afternoon.  The Bearcats will set up the pass via the run and it will be good night Irene for the bubonic plagued Tabbies.  Coach Wannstedt had his Achilles operated on this past Tuesday.  The "Stache" has been conducting practice from a golf cart and will probably be viewing the dismantling of his Panthers from the pressbox.  Regardless, he'll probably be so hopped up on pain medication the game will be a blur.  It's a shame the Pittsburgh faithful won't have the same experience.  They can't brew enough Iron City to ease the pain of this impending beat down.




The early line has the Bearcats as 9.5 point favorites.  The over/under has been set at 50.5.




9.5 points is an insult to the Ambassador.  I fully expect the Bearcats to be up big by the end of the first half.  4 to 5 TD's big.  The second half will allow Ben Mauk to rest that shoulder and allow Grutza and Pike to get some much needed reps.  Go with the Bearcats BIG and go ahead and parlay that with over the total of 50.5.  The Cats will get that number by themselves.  Always remember, "Gamblin' money's got no home" and GO BEARCATS!!!!!


2-nd SIDEBAR:  Don't forget about Sweetest Day.  Give your loved one some sort of special something first thing in the morning (NOT a Dutch Oven, Tim Adams!), and you will be doing it ALL DAY LONG!!!!! (Watching football that is!!!)

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