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USF Football First Look: Bulls vs. Cincinnati Bearcats

USF tries to avoid breaking the school record for losses in a season on Friday night against Cincinnati. Let's get to know the Bearcats... for the last time? (DUM DUM DUMMMMMM)

Joe Robbins

Considering that the whole USF program mentally shut it down in the second half against Miami, I don't even want to think about what these last two games are going to look like. The first one is Friday night against the Cincinnati Bearcats, a team that's beaten the Bulls in five of the last six meetings. So that's something to look forward to!

GAME: South Florida Bulls (3-7, 1-4 Big East) vs. Cincinnati Bearcats (7-3, 3-2 Big East)
WHERE: Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati
DATE/TIME: Friday, November 23, 7:00pm Eastern
TV/RADIO: ESPN, 98.7 FM The Fan
TICKETS: It's Cincinnati's senior night, and unlike USF they are actually good at football. However, you may still be able to get some from the box office.

USF is 3-6 all-time against the Bearcats, with wins in 2003, 2005, and 2010 (their only road win in the series). Cincinnati won four straight between 2006-09.

Something about the Bulls and Bearcats makes for wildly entertaining games. The 2007 game, a 38-33 Cincinnati win, featured eight USF turnovers, a bunch of trick plays and special teams heroics, and a dropped touchdown pass with two seconds left that would have pulled it out for the Bulls. Two years ago, USF won 38-30 despite giving up a school-record 590 yards of offense, and last year Cincinnati won 37-34 on a last-second touchdown, matching what had been an apparent game-winning drive by B.J. Daniels.

CONFERENCE: Big East (8th year). Cincinnati joined the league with USF in 2005. How long either one of them will stay there is anyone's guess.
2012 SEASON: Cincinnati jumped out to a 5-0 start, climbed into the top 25, and for a time looked like they might be the best team in the Big East. They slaughtered Pittsburgh on a Thursday night, and rallied past Virginia Tech with a miraculous last-second touchdown. But after an upset at Toledo, the Bearcats lost the Keg of Nails game to Louisville in overtime, and were knocked off 10-3 by Rutgers last week to end their Big East title hopes. At this point, they might as well be making their reservations for the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, which is still a pretty good outcome for a team that no one knew what to expect out of back in August.
SB NATION SITE: Down the Drive is your source for all things Cincinnati.
OTHER NEWS SOURCES: Cincinnati Enquirer, and of course Bearcats Blog

KEY OFFENSIVE PLAYERS: Running back George Winn is already over 1000 yards rushing and looks every bit as good as Isaiah Pead ever did. The Bearcats have alternated between Munchie Legaux and Brendon Kay at quarterback, mostly going with Kay the last few games. Tight end Travis Kelce is Cincinnati's leading receiver, with Kenbrell Thompkins and Anthony McClung close behind.

KEY DEFENSIVE PLAYERS: Linebacker Greg Blair cracked the 100-tackle mark last week and is also second on the team in tackles for loss (5.5) and interceptions (two). Camerron Cheatham is the top defensive back, while the Bearcats rely on depth to pressure the quarterback after losing Walter Stewart (five sacks in five games). He injured his back against Fordham in October, and doctors discovered that he had a congenital defect in his spine, forcing Stewart to end his football career.