The Blue Collar Breakdown: #25 Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati

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This weekend, the Hokies will travel to FedExField to take on the University of Cincinnati Bearcats at 3:30 pm on ESPNU.  The Hokies are going into this game as a 7-pt favorite, but everyone associated with the football program – from fans to coaches to players – has a healthy respect for a Bearcat team that steamrolled the Pitt Panthers a few weeks ago.  As Beamer himself has mentioned, Cincinnati has a very athletic team with plenty of agile, speedy players, and they whipped a team that also whipped the Hokies.  Make no mistake here – this is a game the Hokies can lose.

The Bearcats come into this game having only played two games previously.  The first was a sound thumping of the Pitt Panthers, who only had five days after a heartbreaking loss to Youngstown State to get ready for a Cincinnati team that had been preparing for Pitt for two weeks.  Cincinnati followed up that victory with another win against Delaware State, and although they got the “W” in that game, the Bearcats really didn’t play all that well offensively, turning the ball over 6 times.

So, what can the Hokies expect to see on Saturday from Cincinnati?  Let’s dive right in…

Bearcats’ Playmakers and Overall Talent Comparison

Let’s dive right in with a similar overall talent comparison between these two teams as I ran in last week’s Breakdown between Bowling Green and VT.  For my purposes, I will compare the two schools’ Rivals Rankings from 2008-2011, as those years’ recruiting classes will have players who will likely have the biggest impact on the game.  Since 2008, Cincinnati has signed the 67th, 60th, 59th, and 49th ranked classes in the country, respectively.  Over that time, the Hokies’ recruiting classes were ranked 18th, 23rd, 23rd, and 33rd  This implies a fairly wide talent gap between the two schools in terms of raw talent coming into the programs.  Of course, Pittsburgh has signed higher ranked recruiting classes than Cincinnati over the same period of time and you see how well that worked out for them.  Regardless, the Hokies should field more talent on both sides of the ball than the Bearcats. But, who has more playmakers?        

Cincinnati’s two top players on offense