16.Sep.2009 Cincinnati@Oregon State: An Analysis

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The more I hear talking heads clamoring about the massive beat-down Cincy is going to lay on the Beavs, the more skeptical I become. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from sports betting, it’s that when picking teams that are similar in talent, the majority is usually wrong. Vegas seems to agree with me here, favoring the Beavers slightly.

This game is fascinating because despite being 2-0, neither of these teams have beaten anyone significant. Having grown up in New Jersey, I know for a fact that Rutgers is tantamount to UNLV, and the two FCS teams Cincy and the Beavs beat up on are also, for all intents and purposes, equal in ability. So the question becomes: what do we really know about either of these teams? I contend we know little. But there are two things I do know, and they are going to be the key to this Saturday’s game:

1. Cincinnati has more experienced players than we do.

2. Cincinnati has confidence right now because of *how* they played against their opponents.

Let’s face it, the Beavers should have won both their games in more convincing fashion. The fact that they didn’t has to be weighing on their confidence. Cincy is coming into this game believing they can score on anyone at any time. That kind of confidence, bordering on hubris, is scary. And I think it’s the reason why, in the final analysis, Beaver fans fear this opponent.

The key to winning this particular game is 100% mental–reduce Cincinnati’s confidence. Make them question their talent, make them question the opponents they beat up on, make them fear a long, somber trip home. How to do this?  Hit Tony Pike early, jam Gilyard at the line, and play a “downhill”, aggressive style of defense. I don’t think we win this game reacting rather than acting. On offense, ball control and tempo will be key. This game should feature at least a few play action passes deep down the field. This is the time to open the playbook, get creative, and build off all those Quiz carries.

Some other keys to winning:

1. Crowd must be the 12th defender–put down the joint and get to the game.

2. Beavers must wear their orange jerseys–if you look good, you feel good, and if you feel good, you play well.

3. Trick play–look for Hekker to finally throw a pass in this game if the Beavers are punting anywhere near the 50 yard line…

In the end, I think Vegas knows more than the casual fan. They’re favoring the Beavers -3.5. Personally, I’d call this a “pick ‘em” game, and I believe it’ll be decided by a field goal and go down to the wire. So, while a betting man should take Cincy…

31-28, Oregon State.

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