For the Cincinnati Bearcats, it might be a step down this season. Okay it probably most likely will be. Especially since they have to replace playmakers in QB Zach Collaros and RB Isaiah Pead. This won’t be a Big East title type of team, and given where the program has been recently, 2012 could be a bit of a disappointment.
They’ll probably still make a bowl though.
2011 was: rather exciting. The 10-3 campaign was highlighted by a bowl win over Vandy, and a 7-1 start. They finished 99th in passing defense, which was atrocious, but also happened to be a very distinctive 6th in rushing defense. But that’s misleading. Because a lot of those pass yards came in garbage time after they’ve already shut down opponents’ running attacks, and had a big lead on the opposition.
2012 will go smoothly if: they get off to a fast start again, and they should. The schedule is favorable early on, and they have a potential playmaker on offense in QB Munchie Legaux. He’s a first year starter, with some experience so he’ll need help from the experience in the receiving game. He still has a tendency to sail his passes high and needs to improve his footwork. Punter Patrick O’Donnell led the Big East in punting last year. The defense is set at the end positions and up the middle in the back seven. The return game could be electric.
2012 will be rough if: Defensive coordinator Tim Banks has left for the Illini meaning his co-coordinator John Jancek now has the gig all to himself. the defense figures to lean on the secondary, and they’ll carry the load for an offense which lacks certainty at QB and RB. The running game could seriously be an issue.
BMOC: QB Munchie Legaux, RB Jameel Poteat (both make the list below as well) WR Anthony McClung, SS Drew Frey, LB Maalik Bomar
All-name team: KR Ralph D. Abernathy IV, Parker Ehinger
Bottom Line: They should be above okay. Maybe 7-8 wins certainly looks likely, and the schedule does them some favors. They could be a much worse team than their record indicates though.
Rankings Athlon- 56 Lindy’s- 47 Phil Steele- 70
All the 77s
#67 Southern Miss
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Chicago Tribune.com, Fox Sports, MSN, Walter Football and Yardbarker
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too