Cincinnati Bearcats College Football Preview 2021: What Will Happen, Season Prediction
Let’s slow the roll a wee bit here.
2015 was the last time Cincinnati beat a Power Five program – Miami 34-23 – that finished with a winning record. Before that you have to go back the 2012 season when the Bearcats won ten games and took down Syracuse and Virginia Tech early in the season
For all of the amazing things Luke Fickell has accomplished to get the program into the discussion of the elite, the four wins over Power Five teams were against two bad UCLA squads and in two bowls over mediocre 6-6 ACC teams.
Cincinnati played well in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl against Georgia … and lost. It got shutout at Ohio State in 2019 and was blown out at Michigan in 2017. And now with the national spotlight on, Cincinnati has the unfair standard of having to be perfect and dominant, and even that might not be enough.
It’ll get the preseason love in all the rankings, but can this really be the Group of Five team to break though the barrier and be the first to get into the College Football Playoff?
It needs a whole lot of breaks – there can’t be four viable Power Five champions – it has to beat Notre Dame and Indiana on the road, and it has to rip through the American Athletic Conference.
It basically has to do 2020 all over agin, but with a better schedule – and that’s a positive. Cincinnati didn’t have a realistic shot of getting in because it didn’t play any Group of Five programs before the bowl game, and now it does.
Set The Cincinnati Bearcats Regular Season Win Total At … 10
But let’s not set this up as a CFP-or-bust thing with this fantastic team – that’s no fun.
All Cincinnati – or any Group of Five program – can do is win the next game and see what happens from there. This year’s team has the talent and the experience to do just that, and if it gets to 13-0 with a second straight American Athletic Conference title, then let’s go. Let’s do this. Let’s have the fight, and then demand CFP expansion so it isn’t a question anymore – but that’s for another day.
If it goes 12-1 and wins another AAC title and goes to a big bowl, then let’s celebrate that, too.
However, UCF is a whole lot nastier this year. Navy is always quirky-tough, and that’s on the road. Tulane is just dangerous enough to pull off a shocker, and don’t scoff at the offenses of SMU and East Carolina to finish things up, not to mention a tough American Athletic Conference championship if everything works out.
There’s no Memphis on the slate and missing Houston might be a really, really nice break. However, it’s asking a bit much to win both the dates in Indiana – it’ll probably win one, though – and expect there to be one wrong-day-right-opponent-performance against someone in the AAC.
No matter what, Cincinnati football is going to be a blast again. Now let’s see if it can crash the party.