Houston’s quest for 12-0 season takes to the road in a very a very challenging environment, where nothing will come easy, as they open AAC play against Cincinnati, who has bad intentions.
Let’s not kid ourselves, while the American Conference hierarchy are excited for showcase contest, the idea of the Cougars running the table, being in the news all season as a possible Final Four participant and quarterback Greg Ward Jr. in Heisman conversations, this is publicity this conference could not buy, even though they might just be renting the space for Houston, who could be headed to Big 12 before long.
But Cincinnati has other designs, like trying to win the AAC themselves and while the college football odds at SportsBetting (see great bonuses) have the Bearcats as 7.5-point home underdogs, let’s not lose sight of the fact Cincy is exceptional 8-2 ATS in the role the last decade.
This ESPN encounter on Thursday at 7:30 EDT should be something to see and here is our look at the game.
Greg Ward Jr. sat out against Lamar on Saturday, as it was reported as early as last Monday he had shoulder injury. Ward is dynamic performer, who can beat you with his arm or legs. Coach Tom Herman inherited a lot of talent when he got to H-Town and he has molded it meticulously and added big players with the same amount of speed he required.
However, he needs Ward to be able to go at full strength, as we saw what happens last year when he could not play and the Cougs lost at Connecticut 20-17 as 10-point road favorites.
That is not to say his back up Kyle Postman cannot do the job, but even last year, a healthy Ward and Houston had to hold on to defeat Cincinnati 33-30 at home as nine-point favorites.
There were those that thought coach Tommy Tuberville’s club could have their hands full playing at Purdue. With QB Hayden Moore accounting for five touchdowns ( 3-passing and 2- running), Cincinnati built 31-7 lead and coasted to 38-20 victory.
Moore will be facing a team with more speed than he will take on all year and will have to be mentally and physically on top of his game. Realistically, Moore and the offense hold the keys to victory and that is controlling the ball, converting on third down and keeping the Houston offense off the field.