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Cincinnati Bearcats Football Preview Predictions and Schedule
4-8 was a tough pill to swallow for Cincinnati Bearcat fans last season after having won two straight Big East Titles and winning 10, 11 and 12 games under former coach Brian Kelly. In that time they also played in the Orange and Sugar Bowls. But last year wasn't a shock. Everyone knew going in that it wasn't going to be easy. A new coach plus the loss of several key starters at skill positions on both sides of the ball, including QB Tony Pike and WR Marty Gilyard should have prepared Bearcat supporters for what was to come.
That new coach, now in his 2nd year is Butch Jones. Jones came from Central Michigan with a record of 22-3 and 2 MAC Titles. Jones is a proven winner and has some nice tools to work with going forward at Cincinnati.
The offense is going to score some points. They scored 29 on Oklahoma in a near upset last season. They blew MAC Champ Miami Ohio off the field 45-3 and piled up 69 points on Rutgers in a 69-38 whooping. They return QB Zach Collaros as well as Senior Tailback Isaiah Pead but must fill some holes at WR as well as the line. We would expect this offense to once again be formidable.
The problem may be defensively. The good news is that the defense returns 10 starters. The bad news is that the defense wasn't very good last season. Last in the Big East actually. They also had to deal with their 3rd defensive coordinator in 3 years which meant learning new schemes each year. With all of their starters back and now having the luxury of actually having the same defensive coach, one would think this unit has the potential to be markedly better in 2011.
Of the Bearcats first 5 games this season, 3 are against Austin Peay, Akron and Miami Ohio. The other two are against Tennessee and NC State. They should get 3 of those games, 4 with an upset. If they do that, they have a very good shot at grabbing at least 2 or 3 more wins the rest of the way and becoming bowl eligible once again. If the defense does in fact show vast improvement, this team could win 7 games, maybe even 8.
Look for Cincinnati to be right in the thick of things this year. They should be a very live underdog this year, especially with that offense able to score on anyone. Take a close look at Cinci on September 10th when they play at Tennessee. All of their off season practices will likely have been geared towards that game, being their first real test of the season. Tennessee opens up against Montana. If they beat Montana by a wide margin, as expected, that may set up a prime spot to back Cincinnati as an underdog.
2011 Cincinnati Bearcats Football Schedule
9-1-11 AUSTIN PEAY (Thur.)
9-10-11 at Tennessee
9-22-11 NORTH CAROLINA STATE (Thur.)
10-1-11 at Miami OH
10-22-11 at South Florida
11-5-11 at Pittsburg
11-12-11 WEST VIRGINIA
11-19-11 at Rutgers
11-26-11 at Syracuse
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