Cincinnati (2-1, 0-1) at Memphis (3-0, 0-0)
When: Thursday, September 24th, 2015
Where: Liberty Bowl, Memphis, TN
Time: 7:30 ET
TV: ESPN Radio: XM 84
The top two quarterbacks in the American Athletic Conference were supposed to meet tonight in Memphis, but Cincinnati’s Gunner Kiel, who is suffering from a concussion, will probably not play tonight. The Bearcats will have to go with Freshman Hayden Moore who is only 15-of-28 passing with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. Kiel has Cincinnati ranked 7th in the Nation in total yards at 579 a game. The Bearcats are coming off a 37-33 win against Miami, Ohio after losing their Conference opener a week prior to Temple. Now they get one of the favorites in the AAC West in Memphis. Last year, Cincinnati was run over at home to this Memphis team 41-14 allowing 610 yards total including 299 on the ground. The defense doesn’t look much improved this year as they’ve allowed 25.7 points a game already against weak opponents. Cincinnati might have to rely on the running game until Kiel comes back. They have three guys who have totaled over 200 yards rushing already this year. Tion Green (252), Hosey Williams (221), and Mike Boone (220). Those backs have also combined for 7 touchdowns.
Memphis comes in clicking on offense as well. Quarterback Paxton Lynch is off to a great start completing 76% of his passes for 818 yards, 6 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. His favorite target has been Mose Frazier who has 17 catches for 232 yards. The Tigers are 3-0 after road wins at Kansas and Bowling Green. Now they open up AAC play as 10 point favorites needing only three more wins to be Bowl eligible. Memphis looks like a team that can go even further than that this year. I can see Memphis being a 10 win team the way their schedule sets up and the way they score points. They are 5th nationally averaging 54 points a game. They also have a pretty good rushing attack led by Jarvis Cooper. The running backs have scored a combined 12 touchdowns already this year. As with most teams in this conference, the Tigers defense is vulnerable, especially the secondary. They are allowing 238 yards a game through the air.
This could have been a really good game, but with Keil not playing, the line went from 4.5 to 10.5. Memphis will let up some points, but they might score on just about every possession in this game tonight. They beat Cincinnati handily on the road last year. I see a similar result this year.
Pick: Memphis -10.5