Cincinnati Bearcats 2023 College Football Preview
July 16, 2023
Record – 9-4
ATS – 3-10
The Bearcats left the AAC on a sour note as they failed to make the conference title game in what seemed like decades **. Let’s be real tho, it wasn’t a bad season as they still found a way to win nine games, and their only two conference losses were by a combined seven points (UCF, Tulane). The season ended on a downer as they lost to LUA-VUH in something called the Fenway Bowl (L 24-7).
** fact check: 2018
Cincinnati Bearcats 2023 Outlook
The Bearcats were a disappointment on offense LY (#10 AAC rushing offense, #7 passing offense) and there are plenty of changes to report as they head into the Big 12. It appears that former Arizona St QB (and Florida Gator) Emory Jones will be the starter and he’s got excellent mobility but average passing acumen (33-18 career TD to INT). The bad news for Jones is that the entire WR corps was wiped out due to transfer and graduation and they didn’t exactly “kill it” in the transfer portal. Cincinnati also loses leading rusher Chuck McClelland (849, 7 TD LY) but they’ve got decent depth heading into the season. It’ll probably be a committee approach this year unless a legit #1 option emerges from the depth chart. Only two starters return on the offensive line and the unit boasts a mere 20 career FBS starts. Yup, this looks like one of the weaker offenses in the Big 12.
Cincinnati hasn’t yielded 21 PPG since the 2017 (!) season so it’ll be interesting to see how they fare in the Big 12 where the offense comes at you HOT and HEAVY. Six starters are back for battle but the bad news is that they’ll be without their top-four tacklers including All-Universe LB Ivan Pace who filled up the stat sheet in 2022 (137 tackles, 10 sacks, 21.5 TFL). The strength of the stop unit is the defensive line (which is a good thing). Three starters return to the unit including a pair (!) of All-AAC specimens in DE Jowon Briggs and NT Dontay Corleone. And don’t sleep on DE Daniel Grzesiak who put the heat on QBs during his time with Utah St and Nevada (16 career sacks). The LB unit and secondary are a bit more sketchy as they don’t have much starting experience and that could mean trouble in the potent Big 12.
The kicking game is in great shape with the return of AA (!) punter Mason Fletcher and note that the Bearcats bagged PK Carter Brown from Arizona St (11-14 FG, 33-33 XP LY).
Overall – Yes, guy. The Bearcats have only one challenging game in non-conference play (at Pitt) and they miss Texas, TCU, and Kansas St in Big 12 action.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – Miami Ohio (Sept 16)
The Bearcats have a yuuuge Big 12 opener with Oklahoma on deck and be aware that this is a very underrated rivalry game.
Season Win Total
Market consensus July 16
Over 5.5 +125
Under 5.5 -150
As noted above, the schedule-maker was merciful ** but it’s not gonna be easy to get to bowl eligibility in year one of Power 5 action.
** Almost like there was a bribe involved. Weird.
The Bearcats are a rock solid 51-12 at home over the L10Y. It’ll be interesting to see how that translates as they move into BIG BOY football.
Former Cincinnati CB SAUCE Gardner, now with the New York Jets, ranks #78 on the Time Magazine ALL-TIME NAMES LIST behind GREEDY GRETCHEN from the hit TV series Three’s Company **.
** Needs fact check ^^.
^^ Please tell me you didn’t actually fact check.
New HC Scott Satterfield has an impressive 72-40 record as an FBS head coach but this adjustment is gonna take some time. Cincinnati makes a yuuuge jump in class to the Big 12 and we think they’re in for a long season given all the changes on both sides of the football. We think they’ll fall short of bowl eligibility but the schedule couldn’t be any more favorable for a transition season.