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Big 12 Newcomer Preview: Cincinnati

We are just under a month till the Big 12 Conference has their annual “Big 12 Media Days” which will feel a little different this year. 

The difference from this year compared to any other is simple: Oklahoma and Texas are on their way out as Cincinnati, UCF, BYU and Houston are all making their first appearance as Big 12 schools. Many people are asking the basic questions about the new team’s history, recent success and simply if they can beat OU. 

Leading up to Big 12 Media Days, I will be doing a short preview on each opponent. Let’s start with the one that has had the most success in the College Football Playoff era, the Cincinnati Bearcats. 

Cincinnati:

Hometown:

Cincinnati, OH

Stadium: 

Nippert Stadium, capacity: 38,088

Head Coach:

In December of 2022, the Bearcats hired Scott Satterfield to replace Luke Fickell. During Satterfield’s tenure at Louisville and Appalachian State, he had a record of 76-48.

Overall Record:

394-373-12

Record vs OU (Football): 

Oklahoma leads the all-time series at 2-0, with the only meetings coming in 2008 and 2010. 

Playoff Appearances: 

1x, 2021. (L. vs Alabama, 6-27)

Conference Championships: 

15

2022 Record:

9-4

Last 5 Years:

53-11

2023 Key Players:

Offense: Emory Jones (QB), Corey Kiner (RB), Donovan Ollie (WR), Gavin Gerhardy (OL). 

Defense: Dontay Corleone (DL), Jowon Briggs (DL), Malik Vann (DL), Bryon Threats (DB). 

Last 3 Recruiting Classes:

2023: 74th  2022: 42nd 2021:45th 

Final Thoughts:

Despite the Bearcats joining the Big 12 as one of the more successful teams in recent years and the only team with a playoff berth, a lot has changed since their remarkable 2021 season. Cinci has sent many players to the next level (Desmond Ridder and Sauce Gardner as two great examples) as well as lost their coach, Luke Fickell, who left for Wisconsin in November of 2022. Many (myself included) view Fickell as an elite, top-10 coach. It will be very interesting to see what the Bearcats do in their first season without Fickell, but despite Nippert Stadium being a very hostile environment for opposing teams, I am forecasting a few years of struggle coming their way. 

Caleb’s Thoughts

Just for a few more looks at CIncy from a few different angles.

Post Spring SP+ Ranking – 46th (9th in Big 12)
2023 Preseason KFord Rating – 44th (8th in Big 12)

2022 Offense:
81st in yards per game (372)
81st in yards per play (5.76)
T-24th in turnover margin (+6)

2022 Defense:
29th ranked Defense in yards per game allowed (335)
6th ranked Defense in yards per play (4.62)
27th ranked Defense in offensive TD’s allowed (33)

Scott Satterfield made his way over from Louisville & brought with him his DC. The OC he hired (Brad Glenn) was hired away from Virginia Tech, where he was their Passing Game Coordinator in 2022. Prior to that he was the OC at Georgia State from 2019-2021.

Virginia Tech was 103rd in the country in 2022 in terms of passing offense (203 yards per game/6.46 yards per attempt). During Glenn’s time at Georgia State they were a Spread Run attack. Over his 3 years there they ran the ball 62% of the time, with plenty of that being quick perimeter “passing” game & QB run.

I think Emory Jones will fit in decently well with that style attack, but looking at him thus far in college he has not been overly dynamic. Though his best season was easily 2021 at Florida.

Offensively the Bearcats went portal heavy this offseason.

Defensively they are lead by Dontay Corleone, who at 6’1″ 320 lbs will likely be one of the better DL in the Big 12 in 2023 (93.8 PFF grade in 2023). Their 2nd highest graded returning defender is another interior DL, Jowon Briggs. Briggs is another short but stout run defender at 6’1″ 313 lbs (77.4 PFF grade in 2023).

I think Cincinnati will be competitive, but the analytics say they are really lumped there in the middle with a number of other Big 12 programs in terms of talent. Which will be interesting to watch given they have enjoyed such a talent advantage week-over-week the in the past while facing off vs AAC competition.

I will take the under on the 7.5 wins.

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