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Simulating Cincinnati at Temple

The Bearcats are still a few days away from getting back to actual football, so these simulations will have to do for now.

NCAA Football: Temple at Cincinnati
Nov 10, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats defensive end Kevin Mouhon (48) knocks down a pass from Temple Owls quarterback Frank Nutile (18) in the first half at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

We have been deprived of Cincinnati Bearcats football for far too long. Since destroying Tulane on Oct. 6, the Bearcats have been awaiting their next matchup. The wait will end on Saturday when they visit the Temple Owls in Philadelphia, but until then, we only have prognostications and our collective imagination to rely on.

There is still a long road to go before the Bearcats finish this season, but while we wait for them to return to the field, let’s take a look at what projected outcomes can tell us.

As I will outline every week, here’s how this works. I will run five simulation sets using NCAAGameSim.com. This is a new site for us, so its subject to change. The site runs roughly somewhere between 30 and 80 matchups (usually) before providing a possible result. It also now has entirely updated rosters, so even though this is just an approximation, it’s a better one than year’s past. Now let’s get to the fake football.

Cincinnati 16 Temple 10

The simulation machine knows its stuff. UC and Temple are ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the American Athletic Conference in total defense, and the result of this simulation set reflects that. Interestingly, in 89 total simulations, Temple won out 55 times, but both teams averaged less than 20 points per game in each result. (Temple at 18.5 and UC at 13.3). In this specific simulated game, the Bearcats rally from a 10-6 deficit thanks to a six-yard touchdown run from Michael Warren and a 22-yard field goal from Cole Smith, all in the fourth quarter.

Cincinnati 17 Temple 16

Once again, our simulation provides another game with a lot of defense, very little scoring and a metric ton of suspense. After securing a 14-6 lead in the second half, the Bearcats let their advantage slip away and fall behind 16-14, but Smith is the hero once more, connecting on a 36-yard field goal on UC’s second-to-last offensive possession. The defense does the rest and UC moves to 7-0.

Desmond Ridder throws a key touchdown pass in the second half, but is also intercepted twice while completing 15-of-26 pass attempts for 182 yards. Michael Warren rushes for 71 yards and a score on 15 carries and tight end Josiah Deguara turns only two catches into 57 yards and a touchdown.

Temple 10 Cincinnati 9

If the simulation has its way, this is going to be one brutal game to watch — unless you are into defensive struggles. Ninety two simulations featured only 35 UC wins and an average score of 13.3 for the visitors. That includes the final result of the featured sim, during which Ryquell Armstead scores the only touchdown of the day. He rushes for 50 yards total, but UC bottles up the Owls otherwise, allowing only 335 total yards. UC finishes with 360 total yards but fails to score in the red zone and lets a winnable game slip away.

Cincinnati 13 Temple 10

Thank goodness for Warren, who rushes for 89 yards and the only touchdown of the game for the Bearcats. The score comes on the final play of the game and gives UC a thrilling triumph. Kahlil Lewis catches a 69-yard pass as well, which sets up a critical field goal on UC’s second-to-last offensive drive, and the defense then intercepts Frank Nutile to set up Warren’s theatrics. It’s a skin-of-their-teeth type of win for the Bearcats, as Ridder only completes 9-of-22 passes for 115 yards and is intercepted twice.

Cincinnati 10 Temple 3

UC only won 38 of the 95 simulations run this time, but it claimed the one we’re talking about, and that’s what matters. The defense allows only 240 yards of total offense to the Owls and also forces a turnover. The UC offense does enough to make that work, with Ridder throwing a touchdown pass to Rashad Medaris to seal the victory.


The lessons from this experiment are clear. The Bearcats are in for a real challenge this weekend and anyone looking for big offensive numbers will have to look elsewhere.