Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Free Pick 9/7/13

Illinois Fighting Illini vs. Cincinnati Bearcats Free Pick 9/7/13
2013-09-07 11:00:00 EDT

The Cincinnati Bearcats head to Illinois on Saturday to face-off against the Fighting Illini.

The Illinois Fighting Illini got a win in their first outing on Saturda, but it wasn’t always pretty. Illinois pulled out to an early lead over the Southern Illinois Salukis, but after the Illini pulled their starters (namely quarterback Scheelhaase), the Salukis came clawing back. Illinois had a commanding 25-7 lead at the break, but after pulling many of their starters in the third quarter, Southern Illinois started making things interesting. Illinois quarterback Scheelhaase was outstanding for Illinois, thiteming for 416 yards and two scores against the Salukis, while thiteming one pick. Illinois is a team that has talent, but getting that talent to perform on the field always seems to be a challenge in Illinois. It will be fun to watch on Saturday whether or not the Illini starting group really is beginning to gel and play well together, or if it was just the competition they faced on Saturday that allowed the Illini the big numbers.

The Cincinnati Bearcats are a solid team, and no matter who they face, the Bearcats seem to hold their own. Cincinnati got a win in their first outing, dismantling the Purdue Boilermakers 42-7. The Bearcats did take a while to get going against the Boilermakers, only leading 14-7 at the half, but the Bearcats did what they needed to do in the locker-room and after the break, Cincinnati scored twice in the third quarter and twice more in the fourth for the easy win. The Bearcats put up 425 yards of offense against the Boilermakers, and, honestly, the way things were going late, it could have been more. The ground game led the way for Cincy, as the Bearcats gained 221 yards on the ground against the Boilermakers, with Williams leading the way with 70 yards and a score. The passing game wasn’t all that impressive, but if the Bearcats can continue to grind it out and remain balanced, this team will be a tough out for opponents again in 2013.

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Line movements have been fast and furious here as the Illini started out at +12.5 and quickly jumped to +13. Just as fast as it went up, it went down and the number dropped to +12, and now is currently sitting at it’s all time low at the key number of +10.

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The Illini put up impressive stats in their opening game, but I just don’t trust this team. Scheelhaase is an outstanding player and will make plays no matter who he faces, but I really like what the Bearcats are doing. Cincinnati has been solid the past few seasons, and 2013 looks to be no different. I am waiting on this one as I expect the number to climb back up. At the current number it’s a tough call, but if the line jumps back up like I think it will, I will take the Bearcats.

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Mitch Wilson's Free Pick:
Cincinnati -10
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Mitch Wilson

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