There really couldn’t have been a better start to the 2018 season for the Cincinnati Bearcats. Even if you did a simulation on NCAA Football 2014 and turned all the difficulty sliders down, there would still probably be at least one spat of difficulty here or there.
But what might have happened in a pretend simulation is irrelevant. The Bearcats are 3-0 and entering their last non-conference game of the schedule. Their opponents are the Ohio Bobcats, who were a team that look poised for Group of Five glory entering the year, but an uneven start has that potential hanging in the balance. At 1-1, they have gotten plenty of offensive pop, but the defense has been lacking. We’ll have more specifics later in the week, but for now its time to project how this game might turn out via 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 50 matchups before providing a possible result. It also now has entirely updated rosters, so even though this just an approximation, it’s a better one than year’s past. Now let’s get to the fake football.
Cincinnati 27 Ohio 7
Another defensive masterpiece for the Bearcats. There were 45 simulations in this set and UC won 36 of them, with an average final score of 21.4-11.6. In this specific outcome, Desmond Ridder has arguably the best all-around game of his young career. He completes 13-of-18 pass attempts for 208 yards and three touchdowns and is also the team’s leading rusher, racking up 53 yards on the ground. Jayshon Jackson comes through as Ridder’s favorite target, catching five passes for 76 yards and a score while tight end Josiah Deguara adds another score to his team-leading total.
Ohio 20 Cincinnati 6
A total role reversal from the first simulation, this time the Bobcats win by two touchdowns. Papi White carries Ohio to victory, scoring both of the team’s offensive touchdowns while catching six passes for 81 yards. Ridder is barely able to make much of anything work, finishing with only 53 yards passing and an interception, while Michael Warren is bottled up in the backfield time and time again.
The good news is that this was just one of 10 victories for Ohio in 46 total simulations in this set.
Ohio 24 Cincinnati 23
That hurts. Even though it isn’t a real game, losing by one point always stings. Warren and Jackson are the stars for the Bearcats, with the former accounting for 27.3 percent of the offensive output. Specifically, Warren rushes for 112 yards on an incredible 32 carries. He isn’t asked to do all the work though, as Tavion Thomas enters the game a few times and actually shows a lot of breakaway ability, tallying 66 yards on only five attempts.
As for Jackson, he catches three passes for 97 yards and a touchdown. Deguara has six catches, but for far fewer yards (48) as Ridder completes only 10 passes on 15 attempts.
Once again, the entire set of simulations favors the Bearcats, who win 36 of 47 total games this time around. This was actually the worst game for them in the collection, as Ohio only scored 20 points once in those 47 contests.
Ohio 38 Cincinnati 10
Well come on. Yet again, the Bearcats win the majority of the simulations (36-of-48), but not the one that “matters.” Ohio only scores 20 or more points in 4.2 percent of the simulations and it takes advantage in this particular instance. Nathan Rourke throws four touchdown passes to lead Ohio, including a 72-yard strike to White. Let’s just move on.
Cincinnati 20 Ohio 6
That’s more like it. In a total of 50 simulations, the Bearcats win 38 times and score at least 20 points in 11 of those. The defense is all over Rourke and forces three interceptions while holding the Bobcats to 255 total yards.
UC’s offense doesn’t look like a juggernaut, but two touchdown passes from Ridder to Javan Hawes and 176 team rushing yards is enough to do the trick.
In general, the simulations seemed to like the Bearcats. In each set, they were favored to win a large majority of the outcomes and even if Ohio got the upper hand in the ones we picked out, all signs point to a 4-0 record for the Bearcats when Saturday comes to an end.