Ohio State to Cover vs. Cincinnati for College Football Picks

Willie Bee

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 2:59 PM UTC

Wednesday, Sep. 24, 2014 2:59 PM UTC

A little more than 100 miles apart on the map, the college football odds say Ohio State and Cincinnati are two touchdowns apart for this week's.

As far as geographical rivalries go, the one between Ohio State and Cincinnati is about as one-sided as they come.  Not only have the Buckeyes won each and every meeting with the Bearcats, they've won by an average margin of 39-10.

Of course, athletic director Mike Bohn isn't going to be all that unhappy even if his Bearcats suffer another rout at the hands of the Buckeyes.  Ohio State guaranteed Cincinnati nearly $900,000 to play in Columbus this season, pretty good cake considering the small travel expenses for the under 2-hour drive along I-71 the 'Cats have.

The Big Ten Network will televise the kickoff at Ohio Stadium shortly after 6 PM (ET), and while the college football oddsmakers do like the Buckeyes, it's not predicted to be a huge blowout though the spread has climbed from -13 to OSU -15.5, a few shops already sporting -16 on SBR's live college football odds where 64 is the consensus total.

The rivalry actually dates all the way back to 1919, though this will be just the seventh meeting, fifth since 1999.  The closest the Bearcats have come to beating Ohio State was in 2002, the Buckeyes' only visit to Cincinnati in the series.  Ohio State needed a late interception to deny the Bearcats an upset as 20-point underdogs, and the Buckeyes went on to a perfect 14-0 season and BCS Championship over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.


'Cats Facing Huge Step Up In Competition
You can't argue with the results Tommy Tuberville has gotten in Cincinnati in such a short time.  He guided the Bearcats to a 9-4 record last season and has them off to a 2-0 start this year.  But those two victories came against MAC schools Toledo and Miami (OH), and it's safe to say there will be a little more talent on the Ohio State side this week.

Tuberville was holding his breath much of the second half last week in the 31-24 decision vs. the RedHawks.  A late goal-line stand by his defense sealed the victory, but the 'Cats were never close to covering a 30-point spread in the matchup.

Gunner Kiel, the transfer from Notre Dame, has had a couple of pretty good showings to begin his Cincinnati career.  The 6-4 soph from Indiana threw six TD passes in the season opener vs. Toledo, and added four more against Miami (OH) though his game was marred by a couple of interceptions.  Kiel's efforts have the Bearcats ranked ninth in the country averaging more than 350 yards per game through the air.


Buckeyes Tuning Up For Start Of Conference Schedule
Cincinnati should also give Ohio State a better game than what Urban Meyer's squad experienced two weeks ago in a 66-0 whipping administered to Kent State.  The Buckeyes had the 31-point spread matched less than three minutes into the second quarter, and the defense picked off three passes while holding the Golden Flashes to just 126 yards of total offense.

Meyer was none too pleased about his team also turning the ball over three times, but couldn't complain much about JT Barrett's six touchdown passes on the afternoon and the gaping holes his offensive line opened for Curtis Samuel, Ezekiel Elliot and whoever else was sent out to perform in the backfield.

All signs point to a nice day in Columbus on Saturday when mostly clear skies are in the forecast.  Look for the thermometer to be at 76º for the kickoff with a slight NE breeze.

Ohio State won't be able to run as roughshod over Cincinnati as it did against Kent State, but the Buckeyes should still be able to move the pumpkin well enough to cover the spread, and that's my free college football pick.

College football pick: Ohio State -15.5 at 5Dimes

Season: 19-13-1 (+4.70)

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