Game-By-Game Predictions for Cincinnati's 2014 Season
With a quarterback that is gaining more and more hype by the day without a snap of college football experience and a top-to-bottom roster with a ton of talent on paper but has yet to put it together, Tuberville could coast to an American Athletic Conference championship and big-time bowl run – or miss out on the postseason entirely.
Judging by his track record, we won’t know what we’ve got here until Cincinnati takes on Ohio State in the Horseshoe in Week 4; after winning nine games in years past, Tuberville’s teams have followed it up by going 7-5 (2001), 8-5 (2003), 11-2 (2006), and 5-7 (2008).
Here’s a game-by-game prediction for the Bearcats’ upcoming season – do NOT take these to heart:
9/12 – vs. Toledo (WIN)
Toledo was spurned for a bowl bid after winning seven games in 2013, and will undoubtedly be hungry for wins this fall. Matt Campbell’s proud program has strong depth, but Cincinnati will be ready for action in its season opener and should overpower its opponent by the second half.
9/20 – vs. Miami-of-Ohio (WIN)
After being dubbed the worst football team in the FBS by season’s end, Miami went out and hired the right guy to turn things around by grabbing Chuck Martin from Notre Dame. “Turn things around” might mean different things to certain people, but in this case, it means to have a fighting chance in MAC contests, not for the Victory Bell – at least not this year. Cincinnati wins big.
9/27 – at Ohio State (LOSS)
Sorry Bearcat fans, Ohio isn’t a bUCkeye state; it’s the Buckeye state. But this doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with staying competitive against one of the fastest teams in college football – as I expect the Bearcats to do for the first quarter or two – and then using the fact that it wasn’t at Nippert Stadium as your defensive weapon of choice.
10/4 – vs. Memphis (WIN)
Memphis is a growing talent and should be better (which might not bode well for Cincinnati, which struggled to pull away in last year’s matchup), but this is in the Queen City, not in the city of soul music on a musty Wednesday night.
10/11 – at Miami-Fla. (WIN)
BOOM. Tuberville’d. Tommy Tuberville teams have a tendency to shock the nation by beating a team they’re not supposed to beat, and well, here we go. Cincinnati definitely has the weapons to pull this off; if Gunner Kiel lives up to his five-star expectations, he should be in full stride by this point in the season and has a plethora of deep-threat options at skill positions. Miami’s secondary had a difficult time against “pro-style” offenses last season (hello, Teddy Bridgewater) and although it should be improved, it doesn’t match up well against the Bearcats. The Hurricanes will still be without their expected starter in Ryan Williams and will likely start a talented, yet inexperienced true freshman (Brad Kaaya) under center. Also: can you imagine how excited Cincinnati will be to play a premier program in Florida, not to mention Tuberville’s stomping grounds?
10/18 – at SMU (LOSS)
BOOM. Tuberville’d again. Traveling from Cincinnati to Miami to Cincinnati to Dallas all within a seven-day time period doesn’t sound favorable, and the Bearcats could be set up for a major letdown following a win at the Orange Bowl. Besides, it would only make sense. This would be a Tuberville-ish thing to do, as he’s good for at least one flabbergasting loss per season (e.g. South Florida).
10/24 – vs. South Florida (WIN)
Speak of the devil. Heading back home from Texas to play USF that Friday (dear God, who did the scheduling here?), the Bulls could benefit from more Cincinnati jet lag. But I don’t think that’s the case here (please for the sake of all that is good in the world, don’t let that be the case here) as the Cats are just far more talented than a South Florida team that scored 13.8 points per game (!!!) last season, and should be ready to do anything it takes to not let what happened in 2013 to happen again.
10/31 – at Tulane (WIN)
Things can get pretty weird in New Orleans on Halloween. Luckily for Cincinnati, it won’t be affected by any spells, zombies, black cats, or dudes in ... whatever this is. Tulane should again have a stiff defense, but the inability to score will keep it from sending the Bearcats home with a loss.
11/13 – vs. East Carolina (LOSS)
This could decide the American Athletic Conference. Cincinnati is 2-2 in Thursday night regular season games since 2010, and Tuberville teams are 2-5 in games following a bye week over the last five seasons. The Bearcats will have seen some major offensive firepower already in Ohio State and Miami, but that doesn’t mean they can adjust accordingly – Shane Carden and company should have no problems shredding UC’s secondary and putting points on the board in bundles, just as they will do to much of everyone else on their schedule. I expect a high-scoring affair from both teams, but the Pirates to come out on top and ultimately win the AAC.
11/22 – at Connecticut (WIN)
While I’m sure there will be no repeat of the 2013 matchup due to a renewed sense of physicality brought by new coach Bob Diaco, UConn doesn’t have the weapons on offense to keep up with the multitude of scoring options Cincinnati has to offer.
11/29 – at Temple (WIN)
Trap game? Maybe. If the AAC title is still on the line, Cincinnati could be looking ahead to a Houston team that should be right in the thick of things in terms of competing for the conference. Led by dual-threat quarterback P.J. Walker, Temple is a deceptive talent that will surprise some people this season.
12/6 – vs. Houston (WIN)
Houston was successful in 2013 for its ability to force turnovers, leading the nation with 43 total turnovers gained (25 interceptions, 18 fumbles). Some of those forced turnovers were the difference in tight contests, as the Cougars played seven games in which the outcome was by 10 points or less. They were also remarkably lucky with how many times the cards fell in their favor. It’s going to be extremely difficult to replicate that kind of production this season, especially with the same attacking philosophy. Cincinnati should be able to watch the film and know how to prepare for this one, winning its season finale and heading into the postseason on a three-game winning streak.
2014 Cincinnati Projected Record: 9-3 (6-2)
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