Tough as nails. Mandatory Credit: Michael Ivins-US PRESSWIRE
At the moment the line for the Ohio State v Cincinnati game sits between 8 and 7, depending on who you ask. Or if you think that gambling is the ultimate corruption of the Human Soul the line fore this game doesn't exist. But even if you a man or woman who fears for the very soul of humanity and a Bearcat fan you are probably hearing the same thing. On a loop. Over and over again. It wouldn't be unexpected if you might start to believe it.
You might start to forget the long list of teams of similar stature that UC has beaten this year. Ohio State is an excellent team. They do some things very well. Their offensive efficiency is off the charts and they play defense as well as anyone in the country. But Ohio State is not a consistent team by any stretch. They are prone to lapses not so much in effort but in execution. That makes them very beatable.
Ohio State has an advantage in terms of depth and overall talent level. But so did Syracuse and Marquette. The Bearcats beat them. This Buckeye team has been through some battles but they are prone to missteps at big moments. The Bearcats don't do that, for the most part. This is a team that makes you beat them. Ohio State has, at times, been a team that beats themselves for you.
One thing that I think has been overlooked is how well Sunday's game has prepared UC for Ohio State. If you look up and down the rosters there are similarities. Bernard James for Jaredn Sullinger, Xavier Gibson for DeShaun Thomas and William Buford for Michael Snear. The biggest difference is that Aaron Craft is actually a point guard, Luke Loucks was not.
Ohio State isn't going to do anything Florida State didn't do, and I think this team knows it. That's a good sign from where I am sitting. It will take 40 minutes played with all the intensity that the Bearcats can muster. But I don't doubt for a minute that this team can beat the Buckeyes. If you are one of the people who doesn't think that gambling erodes your soul or something like that I would take the points. But that's just me.