The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Cincinnati Bearcats.
No. 85: Cincinnati Bearcats
Spring Practice Starts: March 6
Spring Game: April 14
Cincinnati Bearcats Spring Status
It’s hard to call the first season under Luke Fickell a disappointment, but it was second straight 4-8 season for the program. It’s going to be a building job, but the Bearcats need to make at least a two-win step forward and go bowling.
The recruiting classes have been strong, and Fickell is a talent, but it’s still going to take at least another year to make UC a major player.
The O line needs an overhaul, a top back Mike Boone is done, and the secondary has to find two new starters, but for the most part, there’s enough talent returning to expect a stronger run.
Cincinnati Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Offensive tackle. The Bearcats were great in pass protection, but they struggled to get the running game rolling. And now they have to replace four starters including tackles Korey Cunningham and Kendall Calhoun. The JUCO route should address the position a little bit, but this offseason, the front five has to turn into a strength.
Cincinnati Biggest Issue
The passing game has to start working. One of the nation’s least efficient passing games has to be better. There wasn’t enough of a downfield passing game, with Hayden Moore and Ross Trail combining to average just six yards per attempt. Moore threw 20 touchdown passes with just nine picks, but the explosive plays have to come.
Cincinnati Biggest Positive
The tacklers are there. Fickell is a defensive coach by nature, and he’s assembled a solid staff to turn this into one of the American Athletic’s best defenses. Top tackler Jaylyin Minor is done, and safety Carter Jacobs will be missed, but nine of the top 12 tacklers are back.
The line should be the strength of the defense, with outside linebackers Jarell White and Perry Young a major plus.
Really, Why Are The Cincinnati Bearcats Ranked Here?
The offense still has too many concerns. The line is a problem, and the passing game has to be far, far better. The D will do its part, but the only hope to be a factor in the AAC is if the O starts to be more consistently productive.