2022 Record – 9-4; 6-2 American
Bowl: VS. Louisville in Fenway Bowl (L 24-7)
- 9/2 – VS Eastern Kentucky
- 9/9 – at Pittsburgh
- 9/16 – VS Miami (OH)
- 9/23 – VS Oklahoma
- 9/29 – at BYU
- 10/14 – VS Iowa State
- 10/21 – VS Baylor
- 10/28 – at Oklahoma State
- 11/4 – VS UCF
- 11/11 – at Houston
- 11/18 – at West Virginia
- 11/25 – VS Kansas
After an undefeated 2021 regular season and the first non-Power Five school to make the College Football Playoffs, there was bound to be a small downturn in Cincinnati in 2022. Although they did not make it through another regular season undefeated, the Bearcats still had a strong season in their final year of the American conference.
The season started off with a big matchup against Arkansas on the road. After trailing 14-0 at the half, the Bearcats tried to make it competitive but ultimately fell 31-24.
After the loss in the first game of the season, Cincinnati went on a run and winning their next six games until suffering their first conference loss at Central Florida. They would also lose their final regular season game against Tulane. These two losses would keep the Bearcats out of the conference championship game. The three regular season losses were all by seven points or less.
Another strong regular season earned the Bearcats a spot at the Fenway Bowl in Boston against Louisville. The bowl game was the only major letdown of the season with the Cardinals pulling away with the game 24-7. Cincinnati finished the season 9-4; 6-2 in the American conference.
College realignment is hitting hard this year and it starts with Cincinnati’s move from the American to the Big 12. After making it to the college football playoff in 2021 and having another strong season in 2022 now we get to see if Cincinnati can handle playing a full Power Five schedule.
It all starts with a new head coach in Scott Satterfield, who comes over from Louisville. There will also be a new starter at quarterback with the departure of Ben Bryant. The position is still up for grabs between last year’s backup Evan Prater and Arizona State transfer Emory Jones.
Whichever quarterback takes the starting position will have basically a brand-new receiving core around him. There will be five new transfers coming in that will look to share playing time in the new season. Corey Kiner and Myles Montgomery both return in the backfield, but only had a combined 482 yards in 2022.
On defense, the Bearcats have a chance to make an impact. They led the American conference in both scoring and total defense in 2022. There was a strong influx of talent on the defensive line through the transfer portal as well with Daniel Grzesiak coming from Utah State. The linebacker position will be strong with veteran Deshawn Pace coming back for another season.
The key to the season will be if all of the new offensive players can click and make a difference. If they can, the Bearcats have a chance for a fairly successful season. But, if they don’t, the new move to the Big 12 might look like a long road to relevancy.
Moving from the American conference to the Big 12 will be an interesting experiment for Cincinnati. It starts off with a decent non-conference schedule, including easy wins over Eastern Kentucky and Miami (OH). The middle game at Pittsburgh should be a competitive game though Pitt has been stronger over the past couple of years.
The Big 12 did the Bearcats no favors by having their conference opener against Oklahoma though, in general, their conference schedule is not that intimidating. There is no Texas, no Kansas State, and no TCU to be found. What is on the schedule is all three other new Big 12 team, the only one of the new schools to have that luxury.
Because of the ease of the conference schedule, I think Cincinnati does have a chance to make a bowl game in its inaugural Big 12 season. I would consider that a big win for the 2023 season.
Prediction – 7-5