Cincinnati Bearcats Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Cincinnati season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
Cincinnati Bearcats Preview
Head Coach: Luke Fickell, 6th year at Cincinnati, 48-15
7th overall: 54-22, 2021 Cincinnati Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 13-1, Conference: 8-0
Keys To The Season | Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Cincinnati Top 10 Players | Cincinnati Schedule
Cincinnati Bearcats Preview 2022
Well that went just fine.
Completely and totally memory dump what happened – or didn’t happen – in the College Football Playoff loss to Alabama. That doesn’t really matter, because …
Cincinnati was in the freaking College Football Playoff.
Cincinnati got the benefit of the doubt from the panel of CFP judges over the Big 12 Champion, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. It was among the four best teams in the country at the end of the season – Wisconsin, Texas A&M, USC, Florida, Texas, Auburn, Penn State are all big programs that have yet to get into the CFP – and it managed to get through the scrutiny, the doubters, and the college football infrastructure to get a shot.
And now Cincinnati has to prove it can keep it all going as it prepares for life in the Big 12 next year.
Of course there will be a wee bit of a step back, and of course it’s asking for way too much to get the same breaks and the same big performances in key moments, but head coach Luke Fickell has created a powerhouse with staying power.
There’s still a ton of talent, the schedule isn’t that bad, and even if this isn’t another College Football Playoff run, it should still be another big year.
Cincinnati Bearcats Preview 2022: Offense
The 2021 Cincinnati offense wasn’t quite as dominant as you might think. It averaged over 36 points per game, but it only finished 58th in the nation in total offense, the running game wasn’t totally dominant, and the passing game wasn’t always explosive.
However, the Bearcats were wildly efficient, they came through time and again when they had to, and they often found a gear to turn games from close battles to routes in a hiccup. Now they have to find the skill guys.
Start with the big positive – the line will be a rock. The skill parts will need a little bit, but the front five should get everyone back including three All-AAC stars. The Bearcats were among the best in the nation in tackles for loss allowed and were fine in pass protection, and that’s not changing. This group will give everyone time to work.
Desmond Ridder, Jerome Ford, Alec Pierce. The main men for the attack last year are now off to the NFL, but the receiving corps should be fine with most of the other pass catchers back along with TE Josh Whyle. The veteran line will make the ground attack work with LSU transfer Corey Kiner a good back to rotate with Ryan Montgomery. That will all be fine, but …
Is Evan Prater ready to replace Ridder? Cincinnati-turned-Eastern-Michigan-turned-Cincinnati veteran Ben Bryant is in the mix, too, but this should be Prater’s gig to lose.
Cincinnati Bearcats Preview 2022: Defense
The offense might have lost a ton of star power, but most of the starters are back. The defense loses both the top guys and the bulk talent.
There are still plenty of great players back from the nation’s 10th-best defense that forced takeaways in bunches, but Cincinnati isn’t Alabama or Ohio State. You don’t just replace the NFL talent last year’s defense had without blinking. However …
This was a relatively deep team that got plenty of parts in the mix last year. The linebacking corps loses the team’s top two tacklers, but Deshawn Pace is back after earning all-star honors – this group isn’t starting from scratch.
The line also has decent parts back. Malik Vann has to be a bigger factor on one end, and 315-pound former Virginia transfer Jowon Briggs has to become an anchor in the interior.
But the line will be fine, the linebackers will be fine, and …
The secondary is a problem. This is where it’s asking for the world to come up with NFL-level corners like Sauce Gardner and Coby Bryant. Even tougher to replace might be new Kansas City Chief Bryan Cook – second round draft pick safeties are premium players.
All is not lost, though, with Ja’von Hicks a good hold over at safety and three-interception corner Arquon Bush ready to do more.