Jamie Rhodes-US PRESSWIRE
Now the Bearcats return to the fortress that is Nippert Stadium, needing a win, badly. This, and every game thereafter, are must win contests for the Bearcats. Odds of an outright Big East crown are very, very low. Louisville would have to go down twice, which I don't quite see happening. But the Bearcats must win out to even have a chance to clinch a share of the crown. That is a goal that is wholly achievable for this team.
For all of the sky is falling pessimism that has swirled around the program, Munchie Legaux and Butch Jones this weeks this is a team that has lost two games, by a combined 9 points, to two teams that will probably go on to win 20+ games. Its not time for the panic button for this team, or this coaching staff.
That doesn't mean that this afternoons game is an afterthought. Syracuse is a dangerous team, one that is entirely capible of further decimating the smouldering ruins of the Bearcats secondary left over by Teddy Bridgewater. Ryan Nassib is not as good as Bridgewater, but he is good, really good. This Syracuse team has weapons, particularly at receiver with Marcus Sales, Alec Lemon and Jarrod West and Nassib spreads the ball around well and will challenge this secondary, profoundly.
Syracuse is solid on defense, for the most part, but they do have issues containing spread based running attacks. South Florida gashed them for 369 yards rushing a week ago, and that was a team that is basically an averaged rushing attacks. Butch Jones has promised to run the ball, and have Munchie run the ball, more. And there isn't a better team to do it against than the Orange.
The Bearcats are in a tough spot. This is a good team, one capible of winning 10 games once again. But there is a chance for this season to spiral out of control. Another loss could very well do that. This is a must win game for the Bearcats to regain some measure of control of their destiny, and this season.