Friday, December 30, 2011

Big East Bowl Preview: Liberty Bowl

Cincinnati v Vanderbilt:  Zach Collaros will be back for the Bearcats, who would probably be getting ready for the Orange Bowl if he had never gotten hurt.  The Bearcats looked like the best team in the conference with Collaros healthy this season, and we'll see if he can shake off the cobwebs quickly against Vandy.  This is basically a home game for the Commodores that put together a pretty good year.  The offense continues to be a work in-progress, but the defense has been a rock.  The Commodores allow just over 20 points a game.  That's one of the best in the nation.  But, they are about to face an offense that is a bit more explosive than most of what they saw this season.  With Collaros back, it may open things back up for Isaiah Pead.  The Bearcats can be very balanced if Pead gets going early.  Look for Cincy to consistently go to Pead to slowly get Collaros back up to speed.  Meanwhile, the Bearcats defense will be going after it all day long.  The opportunistic unit has been under-appreciated all year, and should have some good success against an unexperienced line.  The Bearcats should control this game from the beginning if Collaros is truly healthy.  Vandy will try to win the time of possession, but could struggle to find space against the Bearcats' defense.  it's not every day you think a Big East team is better than an SEC team, but this is the case in this one.

Prediction:  34-24 Cincinnati

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