OSU Quarterback Justin Fields

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields (1) readies a touchdown pass in the second half of the Buckeyes' game against the Cincinnati Bearcats on Sept. 7. 

COLUMBUS -- That hand-wringing over facing an in-state foe with a pulse built to a crescendo Saturday morning in Columbus when Paul Sabin at ESPN analytics fired a warning shot on the worldwide network's website.

"Ohio State is on upset watch today," Sabin posted just before kickoff. "Cincinnati has a 24% chance to win per FPI. That's the highest of any team outside the AP top (10) that is playing a(n) AP top (10) team today."