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Simulating Cincinnati vs. Navy

A quick glimpse at the records of these two teams would lead you to believe this weekend will be easy for the Bearcats. Do the computers agree?

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at Navy Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

As sudden as it might seem, there are only four games of regular season college football left for the Cincinnati Bearcats. Today is the last day of October (Happy Halloween, by the way), and that means November, the month when bowl resumes are solidified, is just about here. The Bearcats will be going bowling this season, which is splendid news, but just where and when is yet to be determined. They can improve the prestige of the bowl they play in (and potentially challenge for an American Athletic Conference crown) by excelling in these next four weeks.

But perhaps you don’t want to wait until November is over. Perhaps you just want it to be December already. Well, I can’t really transport you there, but with the power of computer simulations, I can give you some predictions about UC’s next game against the Navy Midshipmen.

As I will outline every week, here’s how this works. I will run five simulation sets using NCAAGameSim.com. 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 42 Navy 33

It’s been a little while since the Bearcats have played in an offensively explosive environment. They’ve scored 21.5 points per game during the last two weeks, and needed overtime to get that many. This simulation seems to believe that the UC offense is a sleeping giant about to be hear its alarm go off.

In the simulation we’re looking at (one of 49 total), Desmond Ridder throws for four touchdowns and 281 yards on 28-of-41 passing (68.3 percent). He also rushes for a touchdown, but hampers UC’s cause by throwing three interceptions. Luckily the skill position players around him step up big time. Kahlil Lewis catches two touchdown throws, Michael Warren has another day at the office (101 yards, TD) and Josiah Deguara hauls in nine passes for 107 yards and a touchdown.

As I mentioned, there were 49 simulations in this set. The Bearcats won 37 of those, while allowing more than 20 points only twice.

Navy 20 Cincinnati 10

This was an outlier in the entirety of the second simulation set. The Bearcats won 37 of 49 games and averaged 27.5 points per game. However, in this specific game, Ridder doesn’t make up for a slew of turnovers (four interceptions) and completes only half of his pass attempts for 165 yards. Warren is unable to carry the offense alone, and misses out on 100 yards rushing for just the fourth time this season.

Navy doesn’t exactly dominate offensively, with Malcolm Perry accounting for the bulk of the offense (130 yards, TD), but its enough to get the job done.

Cincinnati 31 Navy 6

This seems like an appropriate score for a game between a team with a 7-1 record and one with a 2-6 mark, as the Bearcats are victorious in 39 of 52 simulations in this set.

Instead of Navy’s running game brutalizing the UC defense, it is the Bearcats who dominate on the ground. Ridder only needs nine carries to get 105 yards and Warren also has 105 yards, but on 28 carries. Both score touchdowns as well, while Jayshon Jackson hauls one in through the air.

On defense, the Bearcats force a few turnovers and don’t allow a single Navy rusher to pick up more than 50 yards.

Cincinnati 24 Navy 3

Other than that second outcome, I’m sensing a trend. The Bearcats win 41 of 54 simulations this time, winning by an average score of 27.4 to 16.2.

This time around Lewis is the offensive difference-maker. Coming off his slump-busting performance against SMU, the senior wideout turns four catches into 101 yards and a touchdown. Ridder throws another two touchdown scores on top of that, and completes 64.3 percent of his passes in a perfectly solid effort, especially since UC’s defense let’s Navy into the red zone just once all afternoon.

Cincinnati 24 Navy 14

UC has been a strong team at defending against the run this year, and our simulation set here thinks that won’t change, even against a team like Navy. The Bearcats limit the Midshipmen to 151 rushing yards and 215 total. As if to add insult to injury, Warren outdoes Navy’s ground game all by himself, picking up a career-high 203 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries.


We’ll do a bit more in depth examining of this matchup in the days to come, but right now, all signs point to an easy win for the Bearcats to start November.