3. Cincinnati Bearcats
This is going to be one of the nation’s hottest teams throughout the offseason preview world.
Six starters are expected back on offense, with QBs Desmond Ridder and Ben Bryant leading the way, and with Alabama RB Jerome Ford transferring in, but it’s the defensive side that has the most pop with just about everyone back.
Best of all, head coach Luke Fickell is still around and not up in East Lansing getting ready for Michigan State’s season.
There shouldn’t be too many problems early on, but the Bearcats have to make a statement at Nebraska in late September.
That’s the game. Win that, and UC has the inside track for the New Year’s Six spot.
The issue is the second half of the schedule with four road games in the final seven, including trips to SMU, UCF and Temple, to go along with home dates against Memphis and Houston.
But if it’s not the Bearcats …