Week 2 of the 2012 College Football season gets underway on Thursday night and we will see the Pittsburgh Panthers travel to Ohio to take on the Cincinnati Bearcats. The game is scheduled for an 8:00 PM (Eastern) start time and it will be televised live on ESPN. Currently the odds for the game have Cincinnati favored by 4 points for the game, while the total sits at 48.5. Currently 88% of the Public is on Cincinnati, while 56% is on the Under. Find out what side the Public is taking on all the games by clicking HERE.
Free Analysis: Pittsburgh won’t have much time to recover from a season-opening 31-17 loss to Youngstown State and that may be a good thing. The Panthers dive right into the Big East schedule at Cincinnati tonight and will no doubt come in angry off the huge upset loss. Pittsburgh's offense didn't get it done on the important downs in the loss to Youngstown State, converting only 6-of-12 third down attempts and going 2-for-3 in the red zone, while YSU was a perfect 3-for-3. Despite that, there was a major positive in the return of star running back Ray Graham. The senior was lost midway through last season but rushed for 71 yards on 14 carries and scored a touchdown. Graham did have a costly fumble in the red zone, however. Tino Sunseri completed 19-of-30 pass attempts for 244 yards and looked much more comfortable in new head coach Paul Chryst's offense then the spread attack the team employed under Todd Graham last season. There were certainly growing pains for the Pittsburgh defense in the first game of the season when eight different players made their first start. Missing from action were also key defensive players like junior defensive tackle Tyrone Ezell and senior defensive end Shayne Hale, who were both serving suspensions. According to the depth chart both should be back in action on Thursday. The inexperience showed as Pitt allowed 386 total yards to the Penguins and ended a 25-game streak without at least one sack.
Cincinnati had a bye in the first week of the season making the matchup with Pitt its season opener. The Bearcats are coming off a 10-3 campaign last year when they tied for the Big East title with a 5-2 mark. Cincinnati, along with former member West Virginia, were the only teams in the conference to get into the national rankings during the season. Cincinnati capped off the season with a 31-24 victory over Vanderbilt in the Liberty Bowl. The Bearcats have plenty of practice time this month, with only two games until a Sept. 29 clash with Virginia Tech. That should help them focus on the only Big East game until Oct. 26. The Bearcats are replacing their quarterback, top running back and two first-team, all-Big East players on defense. However, Cincinnati is a contender. Munchie Legaux takes over at quarterback with some experience and has talented receivers. Legaux was impressive in three starts last season, going 2-1, and has veteran receivers Kenbrell Thompkins and Anthony McClung among his options. The pair combined for more than 90 receptions and 1,200 yards in 2011. John Jancek will be taking over as the defensive coordinator for the Bearcats after Tim Banks left for Illinois. He will be trying to get similar production from last year, when Cincinnati ranked sixth in the nation in rushing defense and 42nd in total defense. John Jancek will be taking over as the defensive coordinator for the Bearcats after Tim Banks left for Illinois. He will be trying to get similar production from last year, when Cincinnati ranked sixth in the nation in rushing defense and 42nd in total defense. The Bearcats also have seven starters back on defense and should be better than last year.
This series dates back to 1921 although there have only been 11 total matchups. In those matchups, Pittsburgh is 8-3 including a 3-1 mark at Cincinnati.
Free Pick: I like the Under in this one. Pittsburgh played well offensively last week, but their defense struggled against an FCS foe and you get bet that they will look to play much better on that side of the ball. They should do better vs a Cincinnati team that brings back just 3 starters on offense. The Bearcats are replacing their quarterback, top running back and 3 starters along the line and it will take a few games for this unit to gel. The strength of the Cincinnati team will be their defense as they bring back 7 starters from a group that allowed just 20.3 ppg last year. Pittsburgh's offense played well in their opening loss, but were still just 6-12 on 3rd downs vs an FCS opponent and they should struggle in that department even more in this one. Look for both defenses to dominate this game as this one is played in the 30's and not the 40's.
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CFB Free Picks: Pittsburgh at Cincinnati BettingWhat Football bettors need to know about Pittsburgh at Cincinnati on Thursday (9/06/12) - with Pregame.com's Vegas Runner, Marco D'Angelo, Scott Spreitzer and host RJ Bell.