G.W. Gras

Senior Writer for The Bears Brawl and Lead Host of The Bears Brawl Podcast.

Ohio Bobcats +5.5 at Pitt Panthers
Over/Under 56.5

The Pittsburgh Panthers finished first in the ACC Coastal last season, but in the same breath last their last three games of their 2018 campaign. The reason for that is the ACC Coastal is an obvious joke, and the Panthers are just “good enough” to be it’s punchline.

Head coach Pat Narduzzi hired a new offensive coordinator, Mark Whipple. The hiring is a bit of a head scratcher as Whipple just had a less than stellar five year run at UMass. The one positive Narduzzi can take from last season is that his defense seemed to put it all together (for the most part) in the second half of last season. Unfortunately, that defense didn’t seem to show up against Virginia last week in their 30-14 home loss.

Source: Grant Halverson/Getty Images North America

Also in that loss, Pitt displayed the same lack of offense that plagued them in 2018. That can be a problem going up against the Ohio Bobcats.

Ohio head coach Frank Solich has had an impressive 14 year run with a 106-75 record coaching the Bobcats, and he comes back in 2019 looking to add more numbers to that win column.

Ohio’s quarterback Nathan Rourke is the straw that stirs the drink in the Bobcats offense. Last season Rourke ran for 816 yards, threw for a 2,228 yards at a 61% completion rate and was responsible for 35 total touchdowns.

Last week Ohio played against Rhode Island and won 41-20, which was actually a lack luster, looking ahead game, but Ohio showed a weakness that other teams will be looking into. The Ohio defense held Rhode Island to a completion percentage of 51% but allowed two deep touchdown passes (34 and 38 yards). Could that just be a lack of concentration against an inferior opponent? Maybe. And if it isn’t it will be something to look at fixing. . .at least after this week.

Pitt won’t threaten Ohio’s defense because they simply cannot run the ball if their life depended on it.

There is actually no reason why Pitt should be the favorite in this game. Playing Ohio with the points is the smart play, but I couldn’t blame anyone for putting some action on the money line as well.

The Pick: Ohio +5.5