Date: Saturday, October 20, 2018
Kickoff Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
All-Time Series: Temple leads, 12-7-1
Last Meeting: 11/10/17. Temple 35 - Cincinnati 24
Betting Lines: Temple -3, O/U 48.5
Cincinnati Bearcats Outlook
Luke Fickell is the front runner for AAC Coach of the Year as the Bearcats are off to a surprise 6-0 start and ranked 20th in the nation. They were also off last week so they have had an extra week to prepare for Temple.
Like I said on our last episode of the Underdog Pawdcast, Cincinnati doesn’t do anything sexy on offense, but is putting up points in bunches. They are led by Desmond Ridder, who has thrown for 1,062 yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions with 315 yards and four scores rushing. Michael Warren has been the workhorse on the ground with 664 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.
The reasoning for Cincinnati’s undefeated start is their defense, which ranks third in the nation in scoring defense and fourth in total defense. Cortez Broughton is living in the backfield and Perry Young leads an impressive group of linebackers.
Temple Owls Outlook
The question we have asked ourselves all season is whether Temple could compete in the AAC East. We’ll find out in the upcoming weeks as the Owls begin a four-game stretch in which they will square off against the conference’s best - Cincy, at UCF, at Houston and against South Florida - coming off wins in four of their last five games.
Anthony Russo has been the signal caller during that five-game stretch, but currently has more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (six). He’s been more efficient in recent weeks, but that that’s come against ECU and Navy. He’ll need to step his game up if the Owls are to compete the next four weeks.
All eyes will be on whether Ryquell Armstead will play after sitting out last week against Navy with an ankle injury. The senior is the catalyst for the Owls offense and it could be a long day for Russo if he doesn’t have his top playmaker on offense.
Temple has been strong on the defensive side of the ball as well, ranking 27th in the nation and second in the conference in total defense. The Owls are stout up the middle in all three phases with Michael Dogbe, Shaun Bradley and Delvon Randall.
It’s somewhat shocking that the Owls are the favorite and so many are backing them to cover the spread. Cincinnati’s best win came against UCLA, which is in rebuilding mode. This will be the biggest challenge yet for both squads and expect it to be a close game. I’ll give the Owls the edge since they are home, but won’t make any bettors happy as a field goal should likely win it for the push.
Temple 27 - Cincinnati 24