College football fans remember everything; from the game-winning touchdowns to the amount of rushing attempts that the backup running back had last season. It is a blessing the majority of the time, as you reminisce over the glorious plays you have watched over the years, but it can also be a curse because every team has a goose egg.
Last year against USF, the Bearcats laid their egg, which is why I won't dive into the statistics behind what I consider the most despicable game of football ever played, by a respectable football team, as the projected winner, I have ever seen. After all, I am sure anyone reading this remembers the pitiful display that was last year's game. If the Bearcats come out and play the way they did last year, they might as well throw the season in the trash. Luckily for them, the Bearcats will be ready for this game because, like their fans, college football players remember everything...sort of.
Momentum, big plays, and lazy defense all have one thing in common; a lopsided scoreboard. Let's run over the scoreboard in the first quarter alone for the Bearcats, starting with a 67-yard touchdown 15 seconds into the game, with another touchdown pass two minutes later, followed by another one five minutes after that. A 28-yard run capped off the lopsided first quarter.
The second quarter started off fantastically with Gunner Kiel showing his Achilles heel by throwing a 29-yard pick-six, which was followed by more lazy defense that allowed a 46-yard touchdown pass, a 10-yard touchdown run, and a 49-yard field goal to make the score 51-3 AT THE HALF.
Sure, I lied about not going into detail, but these kinds of things cannot be ignored.
The offense was lazy, predictable, and executed plays with the passion of a peewee team that found out it wouldn't be getting pizza after the game. The Bearcats will need to come out like they want to be there and play a hard fought game on offense, lead by Kiel, who will avenge his poor performance from the year before. I think the Bearcats will remember the atrocity that was last season's game and avenge it with passion, execution, and hopefully a victory. As for the Bulls, it will be on Marlon Mack for the majority of the game for their offense and the Bearcats will have no choice but to respect play action and the deep ball.
Ha, there wasn't any defense last season. The Bearcats hardly outscored the Bulls' second team in the second half. The Bearcat defense was absolutely unacceptable. This season, I doubt the Bulls will achieve half of the yards they did last season (561 to be exact for a total of 65 points).
The Bearcats defense will likely be running a zone-blitzing scheme to allow Cover-3 over the top, but also to disrupt the pocket and the running game. With the senior leadership of Zach Edwards in the secondary, I see the Bearcats playing hard and showing the fans that last season wasn't their best play.
As for the Bulls, they were a formidable defense last season, finishing 35th in the nation and they did everything right against the Bearcats last year. It won't be as easy as it was last season, but the Bulls still match-up well against the Bearcats and I don't see either team with a huge advantage on defense. Hopefully, there is enough defense to keep it competitive in the long run because honestly, I turned last year's game off at the half.
South Florida really picked up steam as last season came to a close and the Bearcats were caught looking ahead. The Bulls and Bearcats will be fighting for the East crown during the regular season and I expect the Bulls to have a fairly successful run overall. This one is likely going to come down to who wants it and I see the Bearcats wanting it more than the Bulls do. The Bulls are currently my prediction to win the Eastern half of the AAC, but the Bearcats get revenge for last year's abomination. The Bearcats win 38- 34 because of the defense, not the offense.