Despite a 9-3 record, the 12th best defense in the country, and an offense that averages almost five touchdowns per game, the Cincinnati Bearcats aren’t getting a whole heck of a lot of respect from the national media outlets heading into their bowl game. Basically everybody is going with the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Belk Bowl.
The betting lines do favor UNC (by 3.5 as of this post) but you’d think some outlets would give the Bearcats their due. Unfortunately Cincinnati’s conference affiliation, and UC’s third place finish in said conference, as well as a weak schedule are probably working against them. But it’s not like North Carolina’s 6-6 record is all that impressive. In general they won against teams they were expected to beat and lost in games in which they were underdogs. This isn’t like the Florida-Cincinnati disparity in the 2010 Sugar Bowl. Why is North Carolina the automatic pick by most pundits to win the Belk Bowl? Laziness? Aligning with the betting lines? I don’t know.
Whatever, “experts”. All you’ve done is given a Cincinnati Bearcat team scratching and clawing for national respect excellent bulletin board material to motivate them even more for this game.
Below are the actual predictions.
Sports Illustrated: North Carolina (By two and a half touchdowns)
FanSided: Unanimous North Carolina
ESPN: Unanimous North Carolina
CBS Sports: Unanimous North Carolina
SB Nation: North Carolina
OddsShark: Cincinnati (Woo hoo! We got one!)
Fox Sports: 4/5 Cincinnati
USA Today: Split, Cincinnati and North Carolina
What If Sports: Cincinnati