Duke and Cincinnati will square off in the Belk Bowl to close out their seasons. It's not an ideal matchup by any means but the lower tiered bowls rarely have great even matchups.
The Belk bowl has been both the Continental Tire and the Meinecke Car Care bowl at some point. The constant rotation of sponsors still keeps this as a fun matchup of a Big East team and an ACC team every year.
Despite it being one of the newer bowls, it tends to regularly turn out a game with a good amount of NFL prospects in it. It will be interesting to see how the two teams match up on game day.
When and Where
6:30 PM on December 27, 2012 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina
TV, Radio and Live Streaming
Streaming: WatchESPN and ESPN3.com
Radio: ESPN Radio
Duke is going to a bowl for the first time since the 1994 Hall of Fame bowl that it lost to Wisconsin. They have put together a very good team this season and were just one win away from going to the ACC championship game.
Cincinnati is a 9-3 team who has been fighting for relevance as the lead institution in the Big East. They will have to continue their fight but had a great year this year.
Quarterback Munchie Legaux lost his job earlier this year to Brendon Kay, but could see some time in this game to get more experience heading into 2013.
QB Brenden Kay SR, 6'4" 223 pounds
RB George Winn SR, 5'11" 210 pounds
WR Kenbrell Thompkins SR, 6'1" 190 pounds
WR Anthony McClung JR, 6'1" 172 pounds
TE Travis Kelce SR, 6'6" 260 pounds
TE Blake Annen JR, 6'5" 247 pounds
LT Eric Lefeld SO, 6'6" 287 pounds
LG Austin Bujnoch JR, 6'5" 285 pounds
C Dan Sprague JR, 6'3" 283 pounds
RG Sam Longo JR, 6'5" 286 pounds
RT Parker Ehinger FR, 6'7" 290 pounds
DE Brandon Mills SR, 5'10" 240 pounds
DT Camaron Beard SO, 6'5" 275 pounds
NT John Williams SR, 6'1" 283 pounds
DE Dan Giordano SR, 6'4" 260 pounds
WLB Solomon Tentman SO, 6'2" 228 pounds
MLB Greg Blair SR, 6'2" 252 pounds
SLB Nick Temple SO, 5'10" 219 pounds
CB Camerron Cheatham SR, 5'9" 187 pounds
CB Deven Drane JR, 5'11" 186 pounds
S Dominique Battle SR, 5'11" 192 pounds
S Drew Frey SR, 6'3" 212 pounds
K Tony Milano SO, 6'2" 186 pounds
P Pat O'Donnell JR, 6'5" 222 pounds
KOS Pat O'Donnell JR, 6'5" 222 pounds
QB Sean Renfree SR, 6'5" 225 pounds
RB Juwan Thompson JR, 5'11" 225 pounds
WR Connor Vernon SR, 6'1" 200 pounds
WR Jamison Crowder SO, 5'9" 175 pounds
WR Desmond Scott SR, 5'9" 190 pounds
TE David Reeves FR, 6'5" 250 pounds
LT Takoby Cofield SO, 6'4" 305 pounds
LG Dave Harding JR, 6'4" 285 pounds
C Brian Moore SR, 6'2" 285 pounds
RG Laken Tomlinson SO, 6'3" 320 pounds
RT Perry Simmons JR, 6'5" 300 pounds
DE Justin Foxx JR, 6'3" 245 pounds
NG Sydney Sarmiento JR, 6'4" 300 pounds
DT Nick Sink SO, 6'5" 285 pounds
DE Kenny Anunike SR, 6'5" 260 pounds
MLB Austin Gamble SR, 6'1" 245 pounds
WLB C.J. France SO, 6'0" 230 pounds
CB Ross Cockrell JR, 6'0" 180 pounds
CB Tony Foster SR, 6'1" 180 pounds
ROVER Dwayne Norman FR, 6'1" 195 pounds
S Jordon Byas SR, 6'1" 220 pounds
S Walt Canty SR, 6'1" 220 pounds
K Ross Martin FR, 5'9" 185 pounds
P Will Monday FR, 6'3" 210 pounds
KOS Ross Martin FR, 5'9" 185 pounds
Running Back George Winn
George Winn is the workhorse and someone who an entire offense can revolve around. His ability to find and explode through the holes is what makes the offense work. He has a double digit amount of runs 15 yards or more and is an explosive player.
The 5'11" 210 pound senior has rushed for 1204 yards on 227 carries for 12 touchdowns. He also has 12 catches for 116 yards. His ability to break one at anytime is what the Blue Devils will have to watch out for.
Quarterback Sean Renfree
Sean Renfree has been one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC this season. His all around play has shown that he can lead a poor program like Duke to a bowl game. Renfree will earn his way onto an NFL roster if he can have a good showing against a solid Cincinnati defense.
Renfree's statistical line coming into this game is 260-for-392 (66.3 percent) for 2755 yards, 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Connor Vernon, Jamison Crowder and Desmond Scott versus the Cincinnati Defense
The trio of Duke wide receivers have combined for 2586 yards on 206 catches and have been targeted almost evenly. Cincinnati will have its hands full trying to cover these dynamic receivers. Conner Vernon is a standard No. 1 style guy.
However, Jamison Crowder and Desmond Scott are guys who can play all three of the wide receiver positions—slot, flanker and split end. The matchup problems that these three create for each other will have them open all day for Sean Renfree.
Cincinnati's Play Action Passing versus the Duke Defense
Cincinnati's ability to spread teams out and either run or pass makes them dangerous. Add in the ability to play fake on either draw plays or play actions and the Bearcats have a huge advantage over the Duke defense.
Brendan Kay having excellent rushing ability doesn't hurt the Bearcats' ability to play-fake either. By him being able to run the zone-read, the Bearcats have just another piece to their multifaceted offensive puzzle.
They just play their game. They have more talent then Duke does and have proven that they should be able to easily handle the Blue Devils defense.
On offense they have one of the better all around attacks based around George Winn running the ball and great play action passing that spreads the ball around to multiple receivers.
As long as they can curtail the passing attack of Sean Renfree and his speedy receivers, they should be able to send the Blue Devils back to Durham with a loss.
Cincinnati forgets that they have a game. As much as Duke earned the bowl game, they have performed poorly versus competition that is just plain better.
Of their six wins, five come against teams that either have a losing record or are in a lesser conference. It's highly unlikely Duke wins.
The Cincinnati Bearcats are a 9-3 team for a reason. At this point, they just seem to have a much better team than the Blue Devils do. There's more talent along both the offensive and defensive lines of Cincinnati.
Expect this one to be a game where Cincinnati takes a quick jump to a lead. Then, they should just be in a staying pattern til the end of the game. Cincinnati backup Munchie Legaux should be coming in part of the way through the game to get some experience as well.
Prediction: Cincinnati Bearcats 35, Duke Blue Devils 21
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL Draft Website ScarDraft.com and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.