Belk Bowl – Cincinnati Bearcats vs North Carolina Tarheels
Date and Time: Saturday 12/28/13 at 3:20pm on ESPN
Game Line: North Carolina -2.5 (from JustBet)
Saturday’s Belk Bowl NCAA Football Analysis: The Cincinnati Bearcats and the North Carolina Tarheels took almost identical paths to reach the Belk Bowl this season. Both teams had early season struggles leading them to make mid season changes at quarterback. Both teams went on big runs during the middle of the year, picking up steam and going on long winning streaks and both lost close games in rivalry week to close out the season. Cincinnati is playing in this game for the second year in a row, beating Duke last year. This year, they rolled off six straight wins in the middle of the season and finished third in the AAC. With an offense that averages 33 points under quarterback Brendon Kay, the Bearcats finished with 166 more passing yards than their opponents in games they win. Kay took over in the team’s second game following an injury to Munchie Legaux. Kay’s play has improved as the season went on and with the extra time to prepare for the bowl game, he should be ready to play in this one. The Tar Heels made their change under center later in the season after starter Bryn Renner suffered a season ending shoulder injury early in November. The more mobile Marquise Williams took over and finished with 14 touchdown passes and six rushing scores. No matter which quarterback has been playing for North Carolina, the best option they have is receiver Eric Ebron, a finalist for the Mackey Award given to the countries best tight end. North Carolina started 1-5 then went on a five game winning streak to become bowl eligible before losing their season finale 27-25 against Duke. These two teams match up very evenly on paper with above average passing attacks, average rushing attacks. Cincinnati’s big advantage is their team’s defense. They only allow 19.5 points per contest while North Carolina allows 25 and that will be the difference in this game.
Cincinnati vs North Carolina NCAA Football Picks: Cincinnati +2.5 and under 56.5
Cincinnati vs North Carolina Game Prediction: 29-23 Cincinnati
What to expect in the 2013 Belk Bowl: Both teams will use the run to set up the play action pass, North Carolina with their quarterback and Cincinnit with their running backs. Which ever team has an easier time establishing the run will win this game and Cincinnati has had the stronger defense for most of the season. North Carolina gives up big chunk plays on defense and Cincinnati will take advantage of them if they can run the ball effectively.