The American Athletic Conference takes center stage on Friday night with a couple of conference matchups kicking off at 8 p.m. Eastern. One of them will be in New Orleans as Tulane hosts Cincinnati. The Bearcats will bring a lot of offensive firepower to the table, while the strength of the Green Wave is their tenacious defense. The line tells a story in this game as the Bearcats are road favorites in spite of their porous defense.
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Cincinnati vs. Tulane College Football Preview
Date/Time: Friday October 31, 8:00 p.m. ET
College Football Betting Odds from WagerWeb
College Football Betting Favorite: Cincinnati -3.5
Tommy Tuberville has been around the block a time or two. At Cincinnati, he is now 13-7 straight up and 9-11 against the number with this season’s 4-3/3-4 record. The Bearcats did cover in their lone game as a road favorite this season. Curtis Johnson has fallen to 11-21 straight up and 18-13-1 against the number with this season’s 2-5 and 3-4 records.
Former #1 quarterback recruit Gunner Kiel hasn’t disappointed in his first season at Cincinnati. Former Cincinnati head coach Brian Kelly was able to recruit Kiel to Notre Dame, but he transferred out of the program and wound up with the Bearcats. He’s thrown 20 touchdown passes for an offense that has averaged 34 points per game. Five different receivers have accumulated 275 or more receiving yards. The Bearcats offense was highly dependent on the passing game before true freshman Mike Boone ran 19 times for 212 yards against South Florida. That’s a dimension that could help the beleaguered Bearcats defense. The Bearcats have given up 32 points per game and gave up 204 points through their first five games. Consistency has definitely been an issue for Cincinnati.
Tulane Green Wave:
Curtis Johnson was heralded as the savior of the Tulane program last season. The Green Wave made their first bowl appearance since 2002 and won seven games. From 2004-12, Tulane had 28 wins total. The Green Wave benefited from a +11 turnover margin last season to generate some short fields for the offense. Without that element this season, the offense is scoring nearly a touchdown less per game and the defense is allowing nearly a touchdown more per game. Tulane’s two victories are over UConn and Southeast Louisiana. Regression was coming for Tulane with key losses at the skill positions, a lot of close wins, and a high turnover margin, so this season’s developments aren’t entirely surprising. The silver lining for Tulane is that they play very hard under Johnson, so they’re never outclassed in the effort category.
Free Pick: Cincinnati Bearcats -3.5
Tulane can’t throw haymakers with this Bearcats offense and Tulane’s defense has definitely taken a couple of steps back this season. It’s not entirely their fault because the offense has regressed as well, but it’s a perfect storm of problems with a team like Cincinnati coming to town. The Bearcats defense is terrible and it’s always scary laying chalk on the road with a bad defense, but Tulane’s not in a position to exploit that weakness.