Today is a monumental day for Cincinnati sports. The Bearcats literally take over the major sports networks for a full quarter of the day.
At noon you’ve got Bearcats basketball hosting the Nebraska Cornhuskers in their final nonconference game of the season. If you can’t make it to Fifth Third Arena, and are hopefully in Charlotte right now, you can watch the game on ESPN2. Then at 3:20 pm is Cincinnati football’s much-anticipated match up against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Belk Bowl. That game is on ESPN. If you, like me, are just going to hunker down and watch both from a far, I hope you have a plethora of brews and snacks to accompany you. All UC games are best with alcohol and food. Especially the Crosstown Shootout-like ones.
Anyways, since we’re just a few hours away from both games, here is a slew of pregame previews for you to peruse in anticipation of Bearcats basketball and football starting at noon.
Belk Bowl Prep from Cincy on the Prowl
Statistically, the Tar Heels are a slightly better passing team than running team but at the end of the day do a lot of things right offensively, racking up 432 yards of offense per game. Overall, North Carolina knows how to get into the endzone and how to get there often.
Like North Carolina’s hogmollies on the other side of the line of scrimmage, this is a good-not-great unit. And quite frankly, outside of defensive end Kareem Martin (#95), the Tar Heels’ DL isn’t all that impressive. Martin really does carry the unit. He’s notched 78 tackles, paced the team with 20 tackles for loss, a team-leading 11 sacks, 14 quarterback hurries, and 3 forced fumbles this season. There’s no question he’s NFL bound.
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 Tar Heels are a deceivingly tough team. I wasn’t very pleased when I saw we were going to play them, as I wanted to take down Brian Kelly in the Pinstripe Bowl, but I think this game is nice because we will have a god chance to win yet another bowl game. North Carolina has played very well recently and it is tough to take down a hot team in their own backyard. The Tar Heels have scored a whopping 139 of their 386 total points in the second quarter, so the ‘Cats must resist the urge to let up before the half is over.
Eric Ebron, the tight end. I don’t know who will try to cover him. Cincinnati’s linebackers and secondary have been picked on quite a bit. He’s their top target in terms of receptions and yards. He picks up 16 yards a reception, a big play threat.
Carolina had a tough schedule this season, ranking among the toughest in the country. Considering the obstacles we’ve faced, I’m proud if what this team accompanied. However there are three games we lost and shouldn’t have. Overall, I expect more next season even with another tough schedule.
Cincinnati-Nebraska Prep from Cincy on the Prowl
The Cornhuskers have plenty of good, young talent. Their scoring is led by a pair of sophomores, Terran Petteway and Shavon Shield (a forward and guard). Both players average a shade over 30 minutes per game and over 10 points per game. Junior Forward Leslee Smith stands at 6 feet and 8 inches and leads the team in rebounding. Cincinnati will have to work it into the post against him and he’ll make them work for rebounds.
More Belk Bowl Prep
- Belk Bowl Preview: Cincinnati Bearcats vs North Carolina Tar Heels
- Tar Heels To Watch: Eric Ebron
- Tar Heels To Watch: Ryan Switzer
- Football Takes On North Carolina In Belk Bowl
- The big 2013 Belk Bowl breakdown: Much better game than you think
More Cincinnati-Nebraska Prep