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Cincinnati Bearcats Vs. Purdue Boilermakers Free Pick 8/31/13

Purdue Boilermakers (6-7) at Cincinnati Bearcats (10-3)

College Football: Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 12:00 pm (Nippert Stadium)

The Line: Cincinnati Bearcats -14 --- Over/Under: 55 See the Latest Odds


The Cincinnati Bearcats welcome the Tommy Tuberville era with a home opener against the Purdue Boilermakers in week 1 college football action.

The Bearcats enter 2013 coming off another solid season under head coach Butch Jones who departed for Tennessee.  The Bearcats were 10-3 last year and won a share of the big east title in their final year in conference.  With only a few key losses on their roster and a favorable schedule that features their two most difficult games at the end of the year, the Bearcats should make a quick push into the top 25 and have a shot at the inaugural AAC title.  The Bearcats hope for continued growth of quarterback Brandon Kay.  Kay came on late last year after an injury to Munchie Legaux and was solid throwing for over 1200, 10 TD’s and only 2 picks.  Legaux is still on the roster and there should be some packages that favor his skill set thrown in but Kay seems to be the front runner to run Tuberville’s scheme.  The Bearcats will need to replace running back George Wynn and in doing so they will need a big year from junior speedster Ralph Abernathy who ran for nearly 400 yards and 3 TD’s last year but was also very effective in the slot position.  On D, the Bearcats should be strong with unit leader and all-american candidate at linebacker Greg Blair back.  Blair led the Bearcats with 123 tackles last year and has a nose for the ball which should factor into the turnover game as well.

Cincinnati Bearcats Vs. Purdue Boilermakers Free Pick 8/31/13

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Purdue turns the keys to the program over to Darrell Hazzell who inherits a team who finished 6-7 with a bowl loss last year.  All eyes in West Lafayette will be on the quarterback battle where projected starter and senior Rob Henry is being heavily challenged by early enrollee frosh Danny Etling.  Etling was a highly rated recruit and has been very strong throughout camp.  With the departure of Akeem Shavers and his 871 yards and 6 TD”s it is most important that the Boilermakers find someone servicable at the tailback position -- especially if freshman Etling gets the nod.  Akeem Hunt had 330 yards on the ground last year but was unable to make the most of his opportunities to reach the end zone tallying just 2 td’s on the year.  On D, the Boilermakers face a ton of questions as they lose key players on the line and in the secondary.  Hazzell should be able to re-build things fairly quickly and is considered a strong hire in most circles but given the strong schedule looming for Purdue, it is hard to see them qualifying for post season play this year.

Some trends to consider -- Cincinnati is 6-1 against the spread in their last 7 games overall and Purdue is 3-7 against the spread in their previous 10 games.

This game should be a nice early test for two teams with a couple questions but there is no doubt that the Bearcats are the more complete product.  I like the homefield advantage and the veteran advantage the Bearcats have at quarterback to be the difference in a game that should be close for the first few quarters.  Cincinnati gets the late game cover in this one.

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Cincinnati Bearcats -14

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