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AAC Championship Game Predictions: No. 21 Houston Cougars at No. 4 Cincinnati Bearcats

Who does our staff think will win Saturday's game between the Cougars and Bearcats?

While the American Athletic Conference title is on the line for both Cincinnati and Houston, the stakes are much higher for the Bearcats, who could become the first Group of Five team to make it to the College Football Playoff with a win.

The Cougars, meanwhile, enter Saturday on an 11-game winning streak, which is the second-longest in the county behind Georgia (16) and Cincinnati (12). Their only loss this season was the season opener against Texas Tech in a neutral-site game at Houston's NRG Stadium.

Here’s how our staff at BuckeyesNow expects the game to go down:

HOUSTON at Cincinnati – Saturday, 4 p.m. on ABC
Spread: Cincinnati (-10.5)
O/U Total: 53

Brendan Gulick: Cincinnati 34, Houston 23

Of all the conference championship games to be held this weekend, I think I’m personally most excited to watch this one. Everything is at stake for Cincinnati and it feels like they’re playing for more than just themselves – winning represents hope for all non-Power-5 teams, proving that it is possible for the stars to align to make the College Football Playoff. 

They won’t have an easy time, as there aren’t many teams in the country hotter than the Houston Cougars. But with no speculation about Luke Fickell‘s future in Cincinnati, I think the Bearcats will be awfully focused and will come away with a solid win. Two hot offenses, two steady defenses... should be a terrific game!

Andrew Lind: Houston 42, Cincinnati 35

While I don’t think Cincinnati will be fazed by playing in the biggest game in school history on Saturday, I do think a momentary lapse on special teams will change the result of the game.

That play will come from Houston cornerback Marcus Jones, who has not only recorded a nation-leading five interceptions on defense, but has also returned two kicks and two punts for touchdowns this season. His fifth score on the year makes the difference late.


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