Cincinnati Bearcats at Oregon State Beavers
College Football: Saturday September 19, 2009 6:45 PM EST (Fox Sports Net)
The Line: Oregon State -1
The Big East gets a few opportunities on Saturday to show it truly belongs as a BCS Conference and one of those takes place in the unfriendly surrounding of Corvallis, Ore. The Cincinnati Bearcats take the long trip west as they play the Oregon State Beavers.
Both of these teams played in New Year's Day bowl games last season and both hope to exceed expectations and at least get back to where they were a year ago. This game will go a long way in both departments as both teams are ranked heading in.
Oregon State started slow last year and after upsetting USC at home, went on a nice run that sputtered out near the end of the season when Jacquizz Rodgers went down with an injury.
"The Quizz" is back in full form this year after racking up 166 yards last week against UNLV, but his backfield mate, QB Lyle Moevao, is doubtful with an injured shoulder.
Mike Riley's team is somehow flying under the radar in the Pac-10 and while this is still somewhat of an under the radar type game, it should be a nice chance for both of these programs to showcase themselves.
A lot of people, including myself, expected this to be a rebuilding year for Cincinnati after it lost 10 starters on the defensive side of the ball. I guess coach Brian Kelly didn't get the memo, as his team has looked razor sharp on the field.
Tony Pike is back at QB running the offense and Mardy Gilyard is catching passes. Jacob Ramsey looks to be as an effective runner as there is in at least the conference, if not beyond.
Kelly reminded us that although he lost starters on defense, he still had plenty of players with a lot of game experience, and it has shown, but this will be the toughest test so far for both teams.
Oregon State is 7-2-1 against the spread as a favorite between zero and three points and is 4-1 against the spread at home against a team with a winning road record.
Cincinnati is 10-1 against the spread in its last 11 as an underdog and 6-1-1 against the spread in their last eight as a road dog.
This is a good game between two of the better teams in the country, but even though Mike Reilly has NFL experience, I think the game at Rutgers shows Brian Kelly may be one of the best college coaches today. I think it will come down to that as these teams just look even.
Mitch's Pick: Cincinnati +1.