The Battle For The Keg

Stephen MContributor IOctober 23, 2009

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 29: Cincinnati Bearcats fans cheer against the Syracuse Orange during first half action at Nippert Stadium on November 29, 2008 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

This Saturday Cincinnati and Louisville battle for the Keg of Nails.  The 45th meeting between the Bearcats and Cardinals seems quite similar to last year with Cincinnati having everything to lose and nothing to gain.  Hopefully this game will be like this article short and sweet. 

Cincinnati comes into this contest unblemished and with an outside shot for a national championship.  Louisville on the other hand comes in with a 2-4 recorded trying to save their coach’s job.  As with any rivalry I doubt this will be a blowout.    

Cincinnati Offense vs. Louisville Defense

I held off on writing this article trying to determine if Tony Pike would be able to play for the Bearcats.  With that information classified, I have no choice but to move forward.  This on paper seems like a major mismatch.

Cincinnati comes in as the 11th ranked offense in the country.  After destroying the 18th defense in South Florida, the 62nd defense of Louisville should be no problem for the Bearcats.  No matter what quarterback starts for the Bearcats I expect the Cincy’s offense to jump out to an early lead and run the clock out.      

Cincinnati Defense vs. Louisville Offense

This again looks like a mismatch on paper.  The Bearcats come in with 36th ranked defense and the Cardinals with the 60th ranked offense.  After Cincy held the dangerous B.J. Daniels and company in check the Cardinals should be no sweat.

Cincinnati has been dominate in turnover margin and look for that trend to continue with the turnover prone Cardinals.  If Pike is sidelined this weekend the defense may need to carry the Bearcats to a victory in this game.  Look for the surprising tough Bearcats defense to shut down the Cardinals floundering offense.  

Looking at the disadvantage the Cardinals face on paper, I want to call for a Bearcat blow out.  But something inside me says this game will be closer than almost everybody else expects.  Cincinnati tends to allow teams they shouldn’t hang with them for four quarters.

I think Cincinnati will win this game but it will probably be less than the 18 point spread.  I hope I am wrong and the Bearcats put this game out of reach, but I just don’t think that will happen.  If the Bearcats can get out of this game with a win, without Pike, I think most of America would consider that more than adequate.