BY MARK KERN
Cincinnati and Tulane play on Friday in a game that will determine which team will get to host the American Athletic Conference championship. To add to the stakes, the loser may find itself not even getting to play in the championship.
Depending on how other games go in the conference, UCF and possibly Houston could play in the game.
The Bearcats are coming off a solid performance against the Temple Owls, winning the game 23-3. It was the first game Cincinnati had been in since Oct. 1 against Tulsa that was decided by more than 10 points. The defense was outstanding in the game, holding Temple to 202 yards and four turnovers.
The Tulane Green Wave is coming off a dominating 59-24 victory against SMU last week. While the Bearcats did most of their damage on defense, the Green Wave had a great performance by their offense. Tulane rushed for 310 yards and five touchdowns against SMU, while quarterback Michael Pratt threw three touchdowns, while rushing for three of those rushing touchdowns.
Caesars Sportsbook lists the Bearcats as a 1-point favorite with an over/under of 46.
Let’s take a closer look at the odds and trends:
Tulane Green Wave at Cincinnati Bearcats
Time/TV: Noon ET Friday, ESPN
Point spread (from Caesars Sportsbook): Cincinnati -1
Money line: Tulane -110, Cincinnati -110
Analysis: Pratt has been outstanding for the Green Wave this year, throwing for 2,220 yards and 20 touchdowns while completing 65.4% of his passes. He has also done an outstanding job of limiting turnovers, throwing only four interceptions on the season. Shae Wyatt has been his number one receiver, catching 27 catches for 520 yards and five touchdowns. Running back Tyjae Spears is the perfect complement to one of the more balanced offenses in the country, as he has 996 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.
Quarterback Ben Bryant has been solid all year for the Bearcats, as he has thrown 2,732 yards and 21 touchdowns, while also throwing seven interceptions. Tyler Scott (53 catches, 888 yards and nine touchdowns) and Tre Tucker (52 catches, 672 yards and three touchdowns) are outstanding receivers who give Bryant a lot of mismatches.
Tulane had one of the biggest non-conference wins in school history when it went and beat Kansas State in Manhattan early in the season. The confidence from winning that game on the road will be just enough to tip the scales in Tulane’s favor in a game that should be close.
Prediction: Tulane 24, Cincinnati 23