Belk (Charlotte, N.C.): Duke (6-6) vs. Cincinnati (9-3), Dec. 27, 6:30 p.m. ET
Why To Watch: Duke…is in a bowl!
Who To Watch (Bearcats): RB George Winn – averaged 100 rushing yards per game with 12 touchdowns.
Stat Advantage for Duke: Passing offense v. Cincinnati’s D – averaging 277.6 yards per game (32nd nationally) to the Bearcats’ 243.5 given up per (72nd nationally).
Stat Advantage for Cincinnati: Rushing offense v. Duke’s D – Hitting nearly 200 yards per game (199.75), while Duke is allowing about the same (199.83).
What Happens: Is Duke just happy to be here? Will Cincinnati be the same under an interim coach? Those factors could very well cancel each other out, and the Bearcats look to have the edge, beyond just the record. In Football Outsiders’ FEI ranking, Cincy is 18th (No. 32 offense/No. 13 defense), while Duke is 94th (No. 104 offense/No. 112 defense). The Bearcats did change quarterbacks midseason (Munchie Legaux – 13 TDs to 9 INTs, to Brendon Kay – 6 TDs to 2 INTs, 966 passing yards), but should be able to establish a running game. Both rank in the top-15 in red zone defense and outside the top-30 in red zone offense, which could make things interesting with a lack of big plays. It’s a good game for 2.5 to 3 quarters, but Cincinnati pulls away.
The Picks: Brandon Rink – Cincinnati 31-20; Griffin Wong – Duke 23-17; J.J. Greenstein – Duke 34-31; W. Gustin Vandiford – Duke 38-24.