Cincinnati Bearcats 2022 College Football Preview
July 5, 2022
Record – 13-1
ATS – 8-6
The Bearcats rolled through the regular season at 12-0, took down Houston in the AAC Championship Game, and became the first Group of Five team to make the College Football Playoff. They didn’t embarrass themselves vs ROLL TIDE but we’re never really a threat to win that semifinal match-up (L 27-6).
The roster will have a lot of new faces this year. Do they have what it takes to win a THIRD AAC title in a row?
Cincinnati Bearcats 2022 Outlook
The Bearcats didn’t steamroll people on offense LY (#56 rushing offense, #58 passing) but they were VERY efficient (#14 passing efficiency, #13 scoring offense). It’s a KICK IN THE JACOBS to lose the great Desmond Ridder at QB and they hope that the return of Ben Bryant from EXILE at Eastern Michigan (3,121, 68%, 14-7 TD to INT LY) will do the trick. He’s a more polished passer than Ridder but has the mobility of a BATTLESHIP ANCHOR. They’re also gonna miss their 1,300-yard RB Jerome Ford (19 TD, 6.1) and #1 WR Alec Pierce (52, 884, 8 TD) who are both off to the NFL. The RB room has a bunch of capable guys but it’s unclear if there is a true #1 workhorse. The WR/TE corps is still solid with the return of #2 WR Tyler Scott (520, 17.3 5 TD), #3 WR Tre Tucker, and their fine pass-catching TE Josh Whyle. Bryant will be happy to know that they added former Hawaii WR Nick Mardner who did some serious damage LY (46-913, 19.8, 5 TD). The OL looks fantastic as they return five talented starters.
Cincinnati has been known in recent times for their suffocating defense and LY was no exception. They allowed a mere 16.9 PPG (#5 FBS) (!) and were the #1 team in the country in terms of pass efficiency defense (54%, 13-19 TD to INT). They lost a lot of talent from that great defense including the top-three tacklers and top-three in terms of sack production. DE Malik Vann will be relied upon to take his game to another level and the DL definitely looks like it’s taking a step backwards. Tackling machine Ivan Pace should fit in nicely at LB after coming over from Miami Ohio and he joins his brother Deshawn who was a 2nd Team AAC honoree in 2021. The secondary is one of the most decimated units in college football given the loss of THREE stars to the NFL including a devastating CB combo. HC Luke Fickell and DC Mike Tressel will COACH EM UP but it looks as tho the better offenses on their schedule won’t have too much trouble putting up points.
Job #1 is to solve the mess at PK after they hit just 9/19 (!) FG attempts in 2021. Punter Mason Fletcher did a good job LY (42.9, 41.7 net) and they have a solid duo at PR and KR.
Overall – Things get HOT AND HEAVY right off the bat as they travel to face Arkansas in their season opener. They miss Houston in conference play but have to face SMU and UCF ON THE HIGHWAY in back-to-back weeks.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – October 29 – at UCF
This will be their 3rd road game of the month and the Knights will be out to avenge last year’s SPANKING at the hands of Cincinnati (L 56-21).
Season Win Total
per BetOnline July 5
Over 9 -140
Under 9 +110
That looks about right. The only suggestion we have might be to shop around for a 9.5 and go ‘under’ that number for small taters. We’ll almost certainly pass on this market.
Per the INTREPID Phil Steele, former Bearcats QB Desmond Ridder booked an incredible 44-6 WL record as a starter including an impossible 26-0 (!) at home.
Whether or not it’s justified, we suspect that a small handful of teams in the AAC believe that THIS is the year to take down Cincinnati. We feel really good about the Bearcats’ ability to SCORE the FOOTBALL but they won’t be able to rely on their defense or a crafty veteran QB to bail them out of tough spots. They’ve got a great shot to get back to the conference title game but it ain’t no LOCK, yo.
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