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FIVE FAIR FACTORS: HOUSTON-CINCY

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A COMPLETELY UNBIASED READING OF TONIGHT'S AMERICAN CONFERENCE CLASH, WRITTEN BY SOMEONE WHO MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE ATTENDED ONE OF THESE SCHOOLS, IT'S HARD TO SAY

Well, there's one game on tonight, and it looks to be an exciting one - an American Athletic Conference clash between newfound rivals and Big 12 hopefuls the Cincinnati Bearcats and the #6 Houston Cougars. Now, typically Ryan or Spencer would do the five factor-type previews of a Thursday night clash, but today I've asked to step in, being a paragon of fairness, unbiasedness, and actual football knowledge pertinent to these schools.

I. FIRST THINGS FIRST: Where are they? What's a Houston? I've never heard of them.

Me either. But hey, a lot of people think the best way to get to know a city is through its food. So let's do some googling.

Huh. Okay. Not really known for anything. Cincinnati's known for chili and ribs. You heard it here first: Texas-area recruits and athletic conferences: if you want chili or ribs, make your way to Southwest Ohio (through the airport which is in another state).

ADVANTAGE: CINCINNATI, WHICH ALSO HAS AN ARCHITECTURALLY RENOWNED CAMPUS

II. LET'S TALK MASCOTS

Cincinnati, as you surely know, is the Bearcats, a mythical animal that they've post-rationalized to represent the binturong, a viverrid exclusive to Southeast Asia that smells like popcorn when it's horny. Delicious! It's like we're at the movies, seeing the 1993 rollerblading classic Airborne, which was filmed in Cincinnati and was one of the earliest film roles for beloved American actor Jack Black. Remember when they nuked Houston in Independence Day? Didn't even stop the aliens.

Anyways, Houston's the Cougars, a nickname they share with BYU and Washington State, who both utilized the nickname earlier, but whatever, I'm sure the Big 12 doesn't grade on originality, or on the likelihood that innocent people are killed when your mascot gets loose at a game, I mean

Yikes. I guess it could happen with any animal, right?

Shh, Lucy, it's okay. The cougar only attacks if there's ribs or chili around, which we've previously established there are not in Texas.

ADVANTAGE: CINCINNATI, HOME TO FORTUNE 500 EMPLOYERS SUCH AS KROGER

III. QUARTERBACK PLAY

It's time we took this analysis to on-field matters, right? Let's look at Cincinnati's quarterback situation. First, there's Gunner Kiel. Let's see what info we can find on this guy.

Holy crap, this guy's got like 15 stars. He's the greatest football player of all time. No one could possibly be better than him, right?

Well, math certainly doesn't lie. Cincinnati is helmed by 17-star quarterback Hayden Moore, who shares a given name with one of the greatest college football coaches of all time.

Gonna be tough to beat that, Houston. Who's your QB, anyways? I've heard absolutely nothing about him.

Gregward? As in, "toward Greg"? Buddy, this program's trying to move forward, and that me-first attitude isn't helping anyone. Also, Junior. There's that originality thing again, Cougars. Might as well call the school Washington State, Jr.

ADVANTAGE: CINCINNATI, HOME TO THE LARGEST OKTOBERFEST IN NORTH AMERICA, HAPPENING THIS WEEKEND

IV: HEAD COACHING

Houston head coach and former top Urban Meyer protégé Tom Herman is known for his hip, young attitude - including such player-friendly moves as demonstrating his wide knowledge of hip-hop and accepting a grill from Houston-based rapper Paul Wall.

I dunno. Seems like he's trying to distract from the constant rumors linking him to high-profile coaching jobs at other programs. I wouldn't want a coach who could just up and abandon your program when a better gig comes along.

That's why I favor Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville, because facts are facts: if he had a better offer he'd already have left.

ADVANTAGE: CINCINNATI, WHICH IS ALSO A SHORT DRIVE FROM TWO OF AMERICA'S TOP 45 STATES AND RARELY HAS HURRICANES

V. THE X-FACTOR, THE INTANGIBLES, THE THINGS YOU STAT-HEADS CAN'T UNDERSTAND UNLESS YOU PLAYED

Well then.

ADVANTAGE: CINCINNATI, WHICH ISN'T GOING TO JUDGE A FORMER PRESIDENT AND SUPREME COURT JUSTICE FOR PUTTING ON A FEW POUNDS, WE THINK HE CARRIES IT WELL AND KEEPS THE BED WARM

FINAL SCORE: CINCINNATI 5, HOUSTON 0

I think we can all agree my methodology is fair, reasoned, logical, and we don't even need to play this game tonight.