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Simulating Cincinnati vs. Tulane

Let’s predict what will happen in a homecoming matchup of two of the top teams in the AAC right now.

NCAA Football: Ohio at Cincinnati David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Two teams tied for first in their respective divisions of the American Athletic Conference will be pitted against each other this weekend, its just not who you might expect. The 5-0 Cincinnati Bearcats will host the Tulane Green Wave, who just upset Memphis this past weekend in their league opener.

Entering the season, expecting this to be a matchup between two conference contenders would have seemed outlandish, but that’s where we are. However, now that we have made it through five weeks of the season, there is a lot more data out there and that means projections will become a bit more accurate. That brings us to this week’s simulation.

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 20 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, despite the fact that it really favored UConn last week. Now let’s get to the fake football.

Tulane 28 Cincinnati 21

This is going to be a close game. This simulation set had UC winning 12 of 22 total matchups, even if it didn’t take this specific one. Both defenses should be on top of their games as well, with the Bearcats scoring 20 or more points in only two instances and Tulane doing so once.

Turnovers keep UC in the game, as two interceptions from the Bearcats’ defense allow the rather weak offense to do enough to keep it close. However, Tulane’s Corey Dauphine rushes for 195 yards and a touchdown, while UC only has 151 rushing yards combined. Michael Warren is the leading runner, with 62 yards on 20 carries.

Tulane 24 Cincinnati 3

The simulation set switched who it favored this time. Tulane won 13 of 25 matchups, including a pretty convincing one in the selection we will are looking at. A low-scoring game is still in order, with only five instances of 20 points scored in all those games.

Once again, Tulane’s defense keeps the UC running game contained (159 yards), especially Warren, who averages only 2.9 yards per carry. Desmond Ridder also struggles, throwing three interceptions while completing only 9-of-19 pass attempts.

Tulane 33 Cincinnati 23

I’m not sure where this defensive power is coming from for Tulane, which ranks 10th in the AAC in total defense (448.6 YPG). Still, this simulation has the Green Wave holding UC to 20 or fewer points in all but two of 28 total matchups. Tulane also wins 15 of those 28 outcomes.

Dauphine and Darius Bradwell are unstoppable when the Green Wave have the ball. Dauphine rushes for 190 yards and three scores on only 14 carries, while Bradwell racks up 130 yards on 16 attempts.

Warren actually has a fine game as well, tallying 123 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. Josiah Deguara also puts forth a strong effort (four receptions, 107 yards), but a late interception from Ridder ruins an otherwise effective passing attack.

Tulane 33 Cincinnati 3

I’m not really liking the trend we’re seeing here. Despite only averaging a margin of victory of fewer than two points, the Green Wave crush the Bearcats in this one. They won 16 total games in 29 matchups in the set.

Warren fights for 77 yards on 21 carries but the Bearcats only have 146 rushing yards while Ridder is intercepted three times and completes only nine passes for 78 yards.

Tulane 33 Cincinnati 17

In reality, the Bearcats clearly need to be ready for Dauphine, who rushes 144 yards and three scores on only 13 carries. Once again, Ridder throws way to many picks (four) and even though he leads the team in rushing, he only has 43 yards.

Tulane won 17 of 30 matchups in this set of simulations, by an average score of 20.6-18.6.


Just remember that this simulation exercise had UConn winning four of five matchups last week.