2020 TicketSmart Birmingham Bowl Betting Preview: Boston College Eagles vs. Cincinnati Bearcats – Jan. 2, 2020

by Tyler Vaysman | January 2, 2020 |

The 2020 Birmingham Bowl will take place on Thursday, January 2, 2020, and will feature the Boston College Eagles and Cincinnati Bearcats.

The Birmingham Bowl is being played at the Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama with the kickoff scheduled to take place at 3:00 PM ET on ESPN.

Intertops has set the point spread for this game at Cincinnati Bearcats -7 and have set the total for the over/under plays at 55.5 points.

Birmingham Bowl History

The has been around for many years and will be playing in its 14th season. The Birmingham Bowl is sponsored by TicketSmarter this year for the first time in the history of this bowl. Previous sponsors have Jared, Papa John’s and BBVA Compass.

The following are the previous Birmingham Bowl game history:

2006 PapaJohns.com Bowl December 23, 2006 South Florida 24 East Carolina 7
2007 PapaJohns.com Bowl December 22, 2007 #20 Cincinnati 31 Southern Miss 21
2008 PapaJohns.com Bowl December 29, 2008 Rutgers 29 NC State 23
2010 PapaJohns.com Bowl January 2, 2010 Connecticut 20 S. Carolina 7
2011 BBVA Compass Bowl January 8, 2011 Pittsburgh 27 Kentucky 10
2012 BBVA Compass Bowl January 7, 2012 SMU 28 Pittsburgh 6
2013 BBVA Compass Bowl January 5, 2013 Ole Miss 38 Pittsburgh 17
2014 BBVA Compass Bowl January 4, 2014 Vanderbilt 41 Houston 24
2015 Birmingham Bowl January 3, 2015 Florida 28 East Carolina 20
2015 Birmingham Bowl December 30, 2015 Auburn 31 Memphis 10
2016 Birmingham Bowl December 29, 2016 #25 S. Florida 46 S. Carolina 39
2017 Birmingham Bowl December 23, 2017 #23 South Florida 38 Texas Tech 34
2018 Birmingham Bowl December 22, 2018 Wake Forest 37 Memphis 34

Previous Matchups

The Boston College Eagles and Cincinnati Bearcats have faced each other 7 times in the past, with BC holding a slight edge in the series 4 wins to 3 wins. The last time these two played was in 1997, where Cincinnati won 24-6.

Boston College Eagles Preview

The Boston College Eagles are entering the Birmingham Bowl off a 26-19 win at Pittsburgh.  The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Eagles. They finished the regular season with a 6-6 SU and 7-5 ATS record.

Boston College tied for 3rd with Wake Forest & Florida State with 4-4 conference records in the ACC Atlantic division.  Of course, none of those teams were close to division winner Clemson who went 8-0 again.  

Boston College could have easily started out 4-0 instead of 3-1, but a shocking 48-24 loss vs Kansas in game three put a halt to that.  They played just ok after that.

They could not win back to back wins going forward but twice lost two straight games. They were blown out in both games against ranked teams this season vs Clemson and Notre Dame.  

Boston College is scoring 30.9 ppg while giving up 31.7 ppg.  The Eagles were 50th in points scored per game.

The problem was their 95th ranked scoring defense.  It is a wonder this team finished 6-6 and going to a bowl game when they gave up more points than they scored this season.

Boston College really struggled to throw the ball this season as they were ranked just 107th in passing offense.  The Eagles for forced to go with backup QB Dennis Grosel after starting QB Anthony Brown was lost with injury for the season. 

Brown was having a decent season with 1,250 yards with 9 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions before getting injured. QB Dennis Grosel threw for 896 yards with 9 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. 

TE Hunter Long with 26 catches for 464 yards and 2 touchdowns led the team in receiving yards while WR Kobay White led the team in touchdowns with 5 on 27 catches for 424 yards.

The 6th ranked rushing attack in the land was led by RB AJ Dillon who had 1,685 yards on 318 carries with 14 touchdowns.  RB David Bailey chipped in with 140 carries for 816 yards with 7 touchdowns to help the highly ranked running game.  

The defense was bad.  In addition to 95th in points allowed per game, they were 88th against the run and even worse against the pass at 126th.  Those yards given up came in big chunks as well. They were just 112th in most yards allowed per play.  

PK Aaron Boumerhi made 13 of his 17 field goal attempts but struggled in the 30-39 yard range only going 5/9.  He did make all of his 45 extra points though.  

Cincinnati Bearcats Preview

The Cincinnati Bearcats are entering the Birmingham Bowl off a 29-24 loss vs 17th ranked Memphis in the American Athletic Conference Championship game.  The loss snapped their 9 game winning streak. They finished the regular season with a 10-3 SU and 8-5 ATS record.

Cincinnati won the American Athletic East division with a 7-1 record.  They finished one game ahead of 2nd place C Florida. They moved on to play Memphis who won the West division with a 7-1 record as well in the conference championship game but came up short 29-24.

Their only bad loss of the season was in game number two when they lost at Ohio State 42-0.  They reeled off wins in their next 9 games to move to 10-1. They finished the season with two games on the road, both against Memphis. 

Memphis handed the Bearcats their first conference loss in the first game 34-24 and in a rematch in the conference championship game beat them again 29-24.  

Cincinnati is scoring 29 ppg while giving up 21.7 ppg.  That offensive output has them ranked 67th in points scored per game this season.  In total offense, they came in an 85th in the country.

On the other side of the ball, the defense is ranked 30th in the fewest points allowed per game.  They were 52nd in total defense this season.  

QB Desmond Ridder threw for 2,069 yards with 17 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.  WR Alec Pierce led the team in receiving with 621 yards on 34 catches but only 2 touchdowns. 

TE Josiah Deguara led the team in TD receptions with 7 and was 2nd on the team in receiving with 36 catches for 492 yards.  Despite being the 67th ranked team in scoring, the passing offense was just 105th in the nation.  

The rushing attack was the strength of the offense with a ranking of 33rd.  They were led by RB Michael Warren II who ran the ball 240 times for 1,160 yards with 14 touchdowns.  QB Desmond Ridder (545) & RB Gerrid Doaks (499) combined for another 1,044 yards with 7 touchdowns.

This team won with a solid running game and defense.  The defense ranked 30th in points allowed this season.  They were definitely better against the run than the pass.  They were 49th vs the run and 80th the pass. Those are not great numbers but they did manage to limit the points they allowed.   

PK Sam Crosa was a perfect 46/46 on extra points and 13/18 on field goals.  His longest field goal made this season was just 44 yards, but he only attempted 3 from 40-49 yards.

Handicapping Breakdown

This game is already broken down and is part of Spooky's Premium Bowl Games package. If you would like to get this play, you must purchase the Spooky Premium Bowl Package. 

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