CFN: Early Belk Bowl Preview

The experts at offer their picks and analysis for Duke and Cincinnati.

Duke vs. Cincinnati Charlotte, NC Bank of America Stadium
Dec. 27, 6:30 pm, ESPN

Three Reasons Why You Have To Watch This Bowl

1. Two teams in the 1992 Final Four are now battling in a bowl game that has surprisingly become terrific over the last several years. The matchups might not have always seemed scintillating, but the Belk – formerly the Meineke Car Care and Continental Tire – has come up with four straight games decided by a touchdown or less and five of the last six.

2. This is Duke's first bowl game since losing to Wisconsin in the 1995 Hall of Fame, and it's just the third post-season appearance since 1960. The team might have died down the stretch, but it still managed to come up with the wins needed to finally get back over the hump.

3. Cincinnati was really, really close to being the Big East representative in the BCS losing to Louisville in overtime and to Rutgers by seven. The Bearcats destroyed the rest of the Big East, winning all of its five conference games by double digits.

And Why You Shouldn't Care A Lick: Cincinnati comes into the game winning four of its last five helped by one of the nation's best defenses. The Bearcats haven't allowed more than 17 points since early November. Meanwhile, Duke has lost its last four games and five of its last six thanks to a defense that that hasn't allowed fewer than 42 points since mid-October.

Three Names To Drop To Make Every Man Want You And Every Woman Fear You:

1. RB George Winn, Sr. Cincinnati – The team needed a steady star to carry the offense, and Winn became it with five 100-yard games on the way to 1,204 yards and 12 touchdowns.

2. WR Jamison Crowder, Soph. Duke. – Connor Vernon is the bigger name, but Crowder had the better year. On fire by the end of the season, he caught seven passes for 167 yards against Clemson and closed out with eight grabs for 203 yards and two touchdowns against Miami.

3. LB Greg Blair, Sr. Cincinnati – One of the Big East's most underappreciated players, the sure-thing tackler came up with 19 stops against Louisville and finished up the season with 123 tackles. He's the best player on a strong defense.

Gut-Reaction Pick That Might Change In The Next Few Days On A Whim: Cincinnati 41 … Duke 17

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