Through a streak of all-important victories, close matchups and an upperclassmen-fueled campaign, the Cincinnati Bearcats are 12-0 (8-0 American Athletic Conference) for only the second time in program history. The Bearcats will look to secure their second AAC Championship (2020) and 16th overall conference title on Saturday against the Houston Cougars.
Cincinnati is led by a plethora of prolific talent, including a series of determined senior bowl-bound invitees: QB Desmond Ridder, WR Alec Pierce, LB Darrian Beavers, CB Coby Bryant, S Bryan Cook and DE Myjai Sanders. Ridder (12,072 career total yards) shattered the AAC passing yardage record last Friday after throwing for a total of 301 against East Carolina. He enters Saturday’s game vs. the Cougars as a finalist for the Unitas Golden Arm Award (Nation’s top upperclassman quarterback) as well as a semifinalist for the Maxwell (College football player of the year), Walter Camp (College football player of the year) and Davey O’Brien (Best overall quarterback) Awards.
Houston, which owns both the No. 2 scoring offense (38.8) and defense (19.8) in the AAC, has reeled off eleven straight wins after dropping their season opener to Texas Tech. The Cougs feature QB Clayton Tune — tied No. 15th for most passing touchdowns (26) in the FBS — alongside CB Marcus Jones, the country’s current leader in interceptions (5).
- Kickoff: 4:00 p.m. ET, Saturday, December 4, 2021
- Location: Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
- Television/Stream: ABC
- Online/Mobile App: ESPN+
- Television Announcing Crew: Joe Tessitore (play-by-play), Greg McElroy (analyst) and Katie George (sideline reporter)
- Radio: 700 WLW AM/ Sirius 81 / XM 81 / Internet 970 / The Varsity Network: “Search Cincinnati” for mobile devices
- Radio Announcing Crew: Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Jim Kelly Jr. (analyst)
- Series History: Similar to many of UC’s American Athletic companions, Houston is not all too familiar with the Nip’. The current series history in Clifton stands at 7-5 in favor of Cincinnati, with the Bearcats triumphing in the last two matchups.
Houston does, however, own the overall series advantage at 15-12.
According to the latest odds by the DraftKings Sportsbook, Cincinnati opens up as a 10.5 point favorite against Houston. The money-line stands at -450 for the Bearcats and +340 for Houston while the over/under is set at 53.
Cincinnati remains on the downtrend for covering the spread after failing to do so in four of their last six games. The Bearcats have mustered 20+ point wins vs. SMU and East Carolina in the last two weeks, but their recent trend of going UNDER in five of their last six alongside Houston’s ferocious defense (No. 6 according to NCAA totals) suggests the possibility of a close, low-scoring affair from start to finish.