The Return of the Predicto
When last we left you, nobody was feeling too good about the last game of the era of, among others, Robert Marve, Caleb TerBush, Akeem Shavers, Kawaan Short and the scattered remains of Danny Hope's coaching staff. Predictably, those concerns were validated -- over and over -- by the Cowboys of Oklahoma State. But now it's the first game of the 2013 season. It's a new regime, but we have some familiar faces.
And speaking of familiar -- and handsome -- faces, the boys of BS are back for another exciting season of football predictos. Whose genius will reign supreme? The guys discuss the Boilers chances this weekend against Cincinnati in..... THE NIP!
THE NIP WILL BE FULL AND BUSTY!
Cinci fans are excited. This is the first home opener to sell out since the last time the Boilermakers were the home opener for Cinci, back in 2001. The Boilers spoiled the party that day. Can they do it again? Let's find out, after the click.
The Cincinnati Bearcats have a team that is in a similar situation as the Boilermakers last season. Hopes are high, and two quarterbacks will be taking snaps on Saturday against Purdue, with a far less number of screen passes called and no bushy mustache to gleefully cheer for. Coming off a 10-3 record last year, this game will be a tough first test for Darell Hazell and the men in the Black and Gold.
Although things are looking up for the Boilermakers it’s going to take an all around perfect effort for Purdue to defeat this experienced Cincinnati team. This game will show us what we’ve all been waiting for, a look at Hazell’s schemes and how they fit in with this current squad of Boilermakers. I would like to say this will be a “grad student smacking” great game, but Purdue is outmatched. What I’m looking for is fight in this team and Hazell’s ability to coach through a mismatch of talent and experience.
The spread on the game is 10.5 currently, Cincinnati covers.
Cincinnati 27 Purdue 14
Purdue and Cincinnati have a lot in common. They both have new coaches (Tommy Tuberville is the new head coach for the Bearcats) ... both will have seniors starting at QB (whether it's Munchie Legaux or Brendan Kay) ... both schools end in a vowel ... where was I? Oh, yes. Cincinnati is coming off a 10-win season and a borderline top-25 statistical profile (26th in Football Outsiders' combined rankings), and returns 14 starters, 8 on offense, including their entire offensive line. If Hudson is going to work his magic this season, there's no better time to start than in the road opener, especially if Legaux is named the starter: his completion percentage was nearly 11 points lower than Kay's (52.2 to 63.0) with close to double the attempts, and with a lack of experience in the receiving corps, Legaux will likely struggle to move the ball effectively against a competent defense.
Hope for Purdue rests in the fact that Cincinnati's defense loses key contributors on the line and in the secondary. If Hazell can turn Akeem Hunt loose at anywhere near his career numbers (over 8 yards a carry through two seasons), the Boilers may be able to make up for what was, last year, an atrocious passing game. Purdue managed just 6.4 yards per attempt, which put them in the bottom quarter in I-A football, but right down there with them was Kent State. When your offense is averaging over 5 yards a carry, the passing game is secondary, and right now, that may be exactly what Purdue needs. (It doesn't hurt that Cincinnati's defense was 110th against the run, posting an 86.7 S&P+.)
Generally speaking, it's much easier to take over a winning program rather than a losing one. However, it's fair to question whether Tuberville is a coach who can keep the wheels in motion; he took a meh Mississippi program and kept it that way, basically did the same at Texas Tech, and had one solid period at Auburn surrounded by more meh. Cincinnati may well be the best of a lame-duck conference, but they may not be looking at anything other than their season finale against Louisville, and it's certainly not uncommon for a new coach to lead his team to a surprising victory over a team that, in retrospect, should have played better.
Hazell is missing too many pieces on offense, I think, for that to happen. Cincinnati is favored by 10.5 ... it's hard to see that going Purdue's way. I expect the Boilers will startle Cincinnati fans early, but by the end of the game, we'll have a better idea of how much work Hazell has in front of him.
I'll make this ridiculously detailed so that it's easier to mock. Frankly, you all have been too nice to me so far.
Purdue 7 10 3 0 - 20
Cincinnati 7 7 14 10 - 38
Two revamped programs square off as Tubberville's Bearcats welcome Coach Hazell's Boilers...so this one's tough to predict. But, from top-to-bottom, Cincy's squad has the experience edge.
Since people started prognosticating about this one, the favorite has been Cincy; they're still favored by 10.5...and who could blame people for going with the Bearcats since they'll have the home advantage of 34,000 screaming fans (minus 10,000 who will be clad in metallic beige and black) in the nip. It'll be around 180 degrees, and since the field is down low, the humidity will make it feel like 250; that's warm. Look for plenty of cramping from both teams.
My gut says the new offense, defense and young two-deeps for the OLine, WR position and LB spot will be tough for Purdue to overcome since the heat will force regular substitutions...but the Boilers will keep it close.
Henry passes for two TDs, runs for another but the good guys come up short.
Cincy 37 Purdue 31
The Artist Formerly Known as "Tim" says:
The first game being this critical is rare. No, the season isn't shot if they lose, by any stretch. But a thumping certainly makes the first 2/3 of the season look like a mountain. A victory here -- or at least a solid, respectable showing -- gives hope that things are indeed moving in the right direction under Coach Hazell. We all expect that they are, but seeing it happen in front of us will go a long way towards reinvigorating a fan base that is tired of being fans of a program that's run by guys who should barely be high school coaches.
I see my cohorts here have little faith the Boilers can pull out a W this weekend in lovely Cincinnati. I still feel confident in these guys because I have faith that they will be properly prepared by this coaching staff. I also feel as though this team is just dying to come out and prove they can be better and are better than a) what they showed last season and b) what the media expects out of them this season. They'll come out fired out of a cannon and with the steady leadership of Rob Henry on the field and Darrell Hazell off it, the Boilers will get off to a better start than most of the previous regime's big games. (Which won't be difficult.)
Across the field, I don't think much of Tuberville at this point in his career. I know he tends to win wherever he goes and that's a feather in his cap. But the Bearcats didn't really want a new coach and Tuberville showed his true colors in the way he fled Texas Tech. I guess that doesn't matter much on the field, but it sure makes him easy to dislike. I love that Cinci lost some experience on offense and that Tuberville is jerking the team around at the QB positions. How nice is it to be on the opposite side of that kind of decision?
I'll be the lone voice of optimism this weekend. The Boilers get off to a good start, reduce the excitement of the Nip and cause the heavily-favored home team to begin to tighten up. The defense takes over from there and gets visibily more confident as the game goes along, with a defensive TD helping to seal the deal.
Purdue 21 Cincinnati 17