The Connecticut Huskies (5-6, 2-4) will end their 2012 season at home against the Cincinnati Bearcats (8-3, 4-2) on Dec. 1. Last season these two teams met in a similar matchup, both with the same record they have coming into this one.
It has been a tale of different seasons for both of these teams. The Huskies have struggled for most of the year but have come on strong, winning matchups against Pittsburgh and Louisville in consecutive weeks.
The Bearcats had their Big East Championship dreams squashed by Rutgers two weeks ago in a disappointing 10-3 loss. Their offense was completely shut down by the stout Scarlet Knights defense.
This week will showcase much of the same in terms of scoring. Last year's 35-27 final score between these two will look like a shootout compared to the points we'll likely see this year.
Neither team has much to gain from a win, but UConn may be looking to end the season on a high note by winning its third-straight game to conclude its season.
When: Saturday, Dec. 1 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Rentschler Field, East Hartford, Conn.
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Radio: Free Football Radio
Betting Line (via Covers)
Over/Under: 40.5, Spread: Connecticut (+5)
I think Cincinnati wins. If UConn quarterback Chandler Whitmer is unable to play due to lingering concussion symptoms, the chances of the Huskies covering become less and less.
Cincinnati and UConn both boast very good defenses, and the prospect of a backup quarterback being put out there for the Huskies is enough for me to go with the under on this one.
Injury Report via USA Today (as of 11/26/2012)
DB Trenier Orr, Undisclosed, Questionable
OL Walter Stewart, Upper Body, Out (10/23)
QB Chandler Whitmer, Concussion, Questionable
DE Elijah Norris, Shoulder, Out for season (11/1)
T Adam Masters, Ankle, Out for season (10/30)
DE Jesse Joseph, Achilles, Out for season (9/29)
DE Ted Jennings, Knee, Out for season (9/14)
TE Sean McQuillan, Ankle, Out for season
BCS/Top 25 Implications
There are no BCS implications for this game. Louisville and Rutgers will determine the Big East winner while both UConn and Cincinnati are playing solely for pride at this point. The Bearcats could possibly wind up cracking the final Top 25 standings after bowl season but they will not get back into them with a season-ending win over the Huskies.
While it's not a BCS bowl, the Huskies are playing with their bowl eligibility on the line. A win against the Bearcats would cap off an excellent finish resulting in a bowl appearance for the once down-and-out Huskies.
Cincinnati Player to Watch: George Winn, RB
Senior running back George Winn played a reserve role behind Isaiah Pead in years past. Last season he recorded just six yards in the team's Dec. 3 matchup against UConn.
It's amazing the difference one offseason makes. He has made the most of his opportunity this season by getting into the end zone 11 times and totaling 1,134 yards on the ground with a 5.5 yards per carry average.
Connecticut Player to Watch: Johnny McEntee
McEntee was replaced by sophomore transfer QB Chandler Whitmer during spring practices. He came in for Whitmer and completed just two of seven passes for 20 yards against Louisville in the Huskies' triple-overtime win. One of his two completed passes was a touchdown.
McEntee certainly isn't going to come out and torch the Bearcats, if he plays. Still, he does have experience and nearly led the Huskies to a victory over Cincinnati last season.
Prediction: Cincinnati 20, Connecticut 10
Defense can only take a team so far. Unfortunately for the Huskies, Cincinnati is also a defensively sound team. Look for a very hard-fought game that ultimately ends in a Cincinnati victory. The Huskies will keep it close, but they just don't have enough to continue their winning streak into the offseason.