It’ll be deja vu all over again–sort of–when the Memphis Tigers (11-1) and the Cincinnati Bearcats (10-2) square off in the ACC Championship at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis. The two teams met just last week, and the Bearcats fell to the Tigers, 34-24.
Memphis will have the hometown crowd again in this game, and they will be looking to cap off a near-perfect season with a victory. The winner of this one will not only win the division, but the victor could also have a chance to represent the ACC in the Cotton Bowl.
So who should come out on top in this one? Here’s our game preview followed by trends and our final predictions.
Memphis is led on offense by junior quarterback Brady White, who played well last week, with 233 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. White has had a very solid season, throwing for 3,307 yards, 32 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. He will likely rely on running back Kenneth Gainwell, who had 87 yards on 15 carries last week, and will be looking to have a bigger game in the championship.
On defense, the Tigers gave up 178 rushing yards to Cincinnati last week, and they’ll want to buckle down in the championship game.
One other note of import: Memphis has lost back-to-back ACC title games, and that should provide them with a bit of extra motivation here, especially at home.
Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell says this game will provide him with a unique challenge. “For the coaches, it’s unique. What do you do? How much do you change? What do you change? We’ve got to do some different things, but you don’t want to do too much. It’s quite unique and different just because of the situation,” Fickell said.
One thing that will be different for the Bearcats this week is their starting quarterback. Last week, Memphis faced freshman Ben Bryant, who played for the team’s starter, Desmond Ridder, who missed the game due to a shoulder injury. Bryant played well in relief, but Fickell noted that he will roll with Ridder if he’s healthy, and he appears to be good to go. Ridder has 432 rushing yards to go with 1,836 yards through the air on the season, and it should be interesting to see how–if at all–his injured shoulder could impact his movements or rushing tendencies.
Note: The following odds, numbers and trends are all courtesy of Odds Shark:
Trends, Spread and Prediction:
Spread: Cincinnati +9.5
Over/Under: 57.5 points
Odds Shark currently have Memphis winning the game by a projected score of 39-29, with the Tigers covering the spread and the total score going over 57.5 points.
Some relevant trends surrounding this game to consider:
- Cincinnati is 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games.
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Cincinnati’s last 6 games.
- Cincinnati is 9-1 SU in their last 10 games.
- Cincinnati is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games against Memphis.
- The total has gone OVER in 7 of Memphis’ last 9 games.
- Memphis is 6-0 SU in their last 6 games.
- Memphis is 7-0 SU in their last 7 games at home.
- Memphis is 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games when playing at home against Cincinnati.
We’re with Odds Shark on this one. The Tigers will be looking to win at home, and they should be able to outlast the Bearcats for four quarters on both sides of the ball.
Final Prediction: Memphis 34, Cincinnati 24 (OVER)