Spiff’s Spots – Cincinnati Preview
Scotten H. Whaley
Loyal. Strong. True.
OREM, UTAH – In 1963, Cincinnati alumnus Ronald Howes unveiled one of his greatest toy inventions – the Easy-Bake Oven. On Friday night, the Bearcats will bring their similar fast-baking production machine to Lavell Edwards Stadium to attempt to quickly cook the BYU Cougars.
In their first four games of the season, the fewest offensive yards they had was 545. They have topped 600 yards twice and peaked with 752 two weeks ago against Memphis. They are averaging 39 points per game – scoring more than 50 twice.
One of Howes other inventions for Kenner Toys was the Spirograph. With UC averaging nearly 400 yards passing (385) per game, the routes the Bearcats run have their opponents going in circles trying to cover all the receivers. Six receivers have double digit catches and all told, 13 Bearcats have caught a pass this year. And all but two of they have at least one catch of 10 or more yards. Hopefully, the Cougars have last week’s injuries and suspensions behind them and will not be around running in circles trying to figure out whom to cover.
Howes was also credited with a Give-a-Show Projector. BYU fans are most certainly projecting their hopes that Tanner Mangum will be healthy enough to give them a show. In three home games in 2015, Mangum has led the Cougars to three wins while throwing for 1,006 yards and 7 touchdowns. BYU is averaging over 36 points a game at home.
If he is limited in mobility or does not play, the result could be a final Howes’ invention – the Close-and-Play Record Player. No Mangum could lead to a close up shop early, and watch the Bearcats play for a record performance for opponents in Provo.
A poor BYU offense will give Cincinnati more opportunities to see if they can set records for most yards gained (519, Virginia 2013), points scored (54, Florida St 2009; Utah 2011) and yards passing (385, East Carolina 2015).
However the game plays out, those in the stadium and watching at home will see a lot of points scored, a lot of big plays made and a lot of yards gained. It just remains to be seen if this will be done by just one team, or will both be able to easily bake their way offensive success.
Last Week’s Bold Prediction Recap: BYU was on pace for that 600 yard offensive game, but the injury to Tanner Manner Mangum scuttled any chance he had at 400 yards passing. Still they did gain over 500 yards (508).
This Week’s Bold Prediction: Cincinnati is a slightly below average defense against the run. They give up about 167 yards per game and 4.6 yards per carry. With Mangum’s status uncertain, BYU will likely look to control the game with the run. The Cougars will rush for over 200 yards for the first time this season and will have four rushing touchdowns.
Pre-season Matchup to Watch: Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel (Jr.) vs BYU Pass Defense. In 2014, Kiel threw for over 3,200 yards with 31 touchdowns and just 13 interceptions. He had six games with three or more touchdowns and four games with more than 350 yards passing. The Cougars will have their work cut out for them in what I predict will be a shootout.
Updated Matchup to Watch: Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel (Jr.) or Hayden Moore (Fr.) vs BYU Pass Defense. Kiel got knocked out of the Memphis game, but already had a 400-yard game this season. Moore came in and finished the Memphis games with 557 yards passing. He followed that up last week with 279. BYU opponents have two 300-yard passing already this year and will likely have a third. If BYU cannot provide at least some semblance of pass defense, the Cougars may find themselves needing 40 points to win again.
Pre-season Prediction: BYU 47 Cincinnati 38
Updated Prediction: BYU 35 Cincinnati 31
Spiff’s Season Prediction Tracker: 5-1 (Correct Picks: BYU over Nebraska, Boise St, UConn & East Carolina; UCLA over BYU) (Incorrect Picks: BYU over Michigan)
- This is the first matchup between BYU and Cincinnati. BYU is 1-4 (.200) against the state of Ohio.
- The Bearcats have worn a black helmet the last three games, but wore a white one in their first two contests. Either helmet is a good sign for Cougar fans. Under Bronco, BYU is 4-1 (.800) against teams in a black helmet and 23-6 (.793) against a white helmet.
- Through five games, Cincinnati is ranked 5th in total offense, 16th in scoring offense, 32nd in rushing offense and 45th in passing efficiency. They are ranked 70th in rushing defense, 74th in total defense, 84th in passing efficiency defense and 91st in scoring defense.
- Through six games, BYU is ranked 63rd in total offense, 76th in passing efficiency, 79th in scoring offense and 109th in rushing offense. They are ranked 61st in rushing defense, 69th in passing efficiency defense, 79th in scoring defense and 79th in total defense.
- The Bearcats are a big play offense. Five receivers have catches of at least 35 yards. Seven different receivers have caught their 12 touchdown passes.
- Cincinnati has converted on 32 of 67 (.478) third downs, good for 11th nationally. BYU has allowed just 29 of 96 (.308) third downs to be converted, 29th nationally.
- Bronco has a 5-5 (.500) record in the seventh game of seasons. The Cougars lost game seven last year (35-42 vs Nevada). BYU has lost their last two home game sevens (2014 and 2012).
- BYU is favored for the third consecutive game (4-2 against the spread). They are currently 6 ½ point favorites. The Bearcats have only been favored twice this year (2-3 against the spread).
- This game was picked as the 5th most difficult game of the season by CougarCorner.com voters.
6:00 p.m., ESPN
Friday, Oct. 16, 2015
Lavell Edwards Stadium (63,470)