While it might be a stretch to say the Cincinnati Bearcats' season hinges on its upcoming game with Rutgers on Saturday, it is no secret that their BCS hopes do.
If Cincinnati has any plans of winning the Big East, this is a game it needs to have.
Even though Rutgers is undefeated in Big East play and nationally ranked, Cincinnati is still a touchdown favorite in this one.
If the Bearcats plan on coming out with a victory and forcing a three-way tie atop the Big East standings, here are five things that need to happen on Saturday.
Rutgers running back Jawan Jamison is one of the most talented in the Big East and perhaps the most consistent.
He has gone over 100 yards in six of the Scarlet Knights' nine games. The only game the Scarlet Knights lost all season he was held to 84 yards.
If Cincinnati can hold Jamison in check and keep him under the century mark, it will likely come out victorious.
In the Bearcats two losses this season, former starting quarterback Munchie Legaux threw a combined five interceptions.
Needless to say, winning the turnover battle is essential for Cincinnati to come out on top in this one.
With Brendon Kay now the starter, that issue might have solved itself. Still, Rutgers is one of the best defenses in the country and will be looking to force turnovers all night.
Cincinnati must protect the ball.
The Rutgers offense is certainly not that explosive. The unit only averages 26 points a game.
With that being said, they are not a high-flying, quick-scoring offense, but are still very talented. Cincinnati will need to try and control the time of possession to keep its defense off the field.
The Bearcats defense has been solid this season, but keeping it on the sidelines will help it stay fresh for the fourth quarter.
Cincinnati has one of the most explosive kickoff returners in the Big East and the entire country for that matter.
Sophomore running back Ralph David Abernathy IV is better known for what he can do on special teams.
Saturday, he will need to help Cincinnati win that battle. Scoring against a talented Rutgers defense will be made a lot easier with better field position.
Abernathy can certainly give Cincinnati that.
Nippert Stadium is one of the more unique college football venues in the country. The thing about it is the place rarely sells out.
The Bearcats have only sold out one game over the past three seasons, but it is looking like Saturday might be the second sellout.
That would be a huge boost for the Bearcats. When the place is packed, it can be an intimidating atmosphere.