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North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Belk Bowl Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/28/13

Cincinnati Bearcats (9-3) at North Carolina Tar Heels (6-6)

College Football: Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 3:20 pm (Bank of America Stadium)

The Line: North Carolina Tar Heels -2.5 -- Over/Under: 56.5 See the Latest Odds


The North Carolina Tar Heels play the Cincinnati Bearcats in the Belk Bowl on Saturday.

North Carolina finished with a 6-6 overall record and 4-4 in ACC competition. North Carolina won five of its final six games to become bowl eligible after starting 1-5 and was rewarded with its fourth trip to the Belk Bowl. The Tar Heels became only the sixth team since the regular season expanded to 12 games in 2006 to start the season so poorly and make a bowl game. North Carolina, which did not participate in the postseason last year due to bowl sanctions, is searching for just its second bowl win since 2001. QB Marquise Williams filled in admirably once starting quarterback Bryn Renner was lost for the season in early November, accounting for 1,279 total yards and 13 total touchdowns while leading the Tar Heels to a 3-1 finish. Eric Ebron (55 catches, 895 yards), who has already announced he will enter May’s NFL Draft, is widely considered to be the best tight end in the country. Freshman Ryan Switzer tied the ACC single-season record with four punt return touchdowns in only three games.

North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Belk Bowl Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/28/13

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati finished 9-3 overall and 6-2 in AAC competition this season. Cincinnati will end its season in Charlotte for the second straight season against an opponent from the state of North Carolina after defeating Duke 48-34 in last year’s contest. With newly hired Tommy Tuberville, the Bearcats won despite the departure of coach Butch Jones and both of his coordinators after they accepted similar positions at Tennessee. The Bearcats, winners of six of seven, are striving for their sixth 10-win season in the last seven years after coming up short in an overtime loss to conference champion Louisville. QB Brendon Kay directs the country’s 15th-ranked passing attack while Cincinnati is one of five teams in the FBS holding opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing per game. While Cincinnati has typically been proficient offensively, it hasn’t always been efficient, committing at least two turnovers in four straight contests and eight times overall this season.

Despite a decided home-field advantage, Charlotte is located about 2 1/2 hours southwest of Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels are still in search of their first Belk Bowl victory. North Carolina, which is 2-0 all-time against Cincinnati, fell to Boston College in 2004, West Virginia in 2008, and Pittsburgh in 2009, the last two losses coming by a combined three points. I think the Tar Heels will get the win and the cover in this one.

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