The Cincinnati Bearcats have been picked as the favorites to win the American Athletic Conference in the inaugural season of the AAC championship game for football. The AAC posted the prediction on its own website.
The post went on to cover every team in the conference from Cincinnati to Tulsa, and it waxed poetic about why the Bearcats were the favorites.
The article read:
Cincinnati has won at least nine games seven times in the last eight years and has reached double digits in wins five times in that stretch. The Bearcats have finished 9-4 in each of Tommy Tuberville’s first two seasons on the Cincinnati sideline and won a share of the American Athletic Conference title last year with a 7-1 league mark. Cincinnati returns 15 starters from last year, including quarterback Gunner Kiel, who threw a league-leading 31 touchdown passes in 2014. Kiel has his top seven receivers back from last season and will be protected by an offensive line that has 76 career starts to its credit. The Bearcats also expect a boost from their return to Nippert Stadium, which underwent an $86 million renovation last season.
Hard to argue with that logic, as Cincinnati has indeed gone 18-8 (12-3 AAC) in two years under former Auburn and Ole Miss coach Tuberville, who took over after Butch Jones left to take the head coaching job at Tennessee. Under Tuberville, Cincinnati finished 28th in the nation in total offense last year and 14th in passing offense. The defense left a little to be desired, ranking 101st in the nation after finishing 11th the year before.
But Tuberville is a defense-oriented coach and if there is any man who can right that ship, it’s him. That being said, the AAC could potentially be Cincinnati’s to lose this year, with teams like UCF, Memphis and East Carolina sure to be in the hunt as well.
Cincinnati opens the season against the SWAC’s Alabama A&M Bulldogs on September 5, in a game set to be played at Paul Brown Stadium, home of the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports