Big 12 Previews

Top Three Questions for Cincinnati Heading into Big 12 Media Days

Big 12 Media Days are right around the corner, which means the 2023 college football season is less than two months away.

The burning questions for every team are starting to build some momentum and at media days we will finally get the answers to some of those questions.

As each fanbase prepares itself for another season of Big 12 football, we’re here to help with the three biggest questions that each team is facing before heading to Arlington for Media Days on July 12-13.

With that being said, here are the three biggest questions that the Cincinnati Bearcats are facing heading into 2023 Big 12 Football Media Days.

 

Are the Bearcats Ready to Make the Jump?

This is a question that all four newcomers will have to face ahead of Big 12 Media Days this week, and it’s a fair question for each of them. Cincinnati enters the Big 12 as one of the biggest question marks in 2023. They are the only team in the conference that will be breaking in a new head coach in 2023, and not only that, but that head coach is charged with transitioning the Bearcats into the Power Five. Cincinnati has brought in a Top 50 recruiting class in three of the last five seasons but has a roster that will likely need a couple of years to break into the upper echelon of the Big 12 after losing several key pieces with Luke Fickell’s departure. The makeup is there for Cincinnati to establish some success in Year 1, but they definitely have some adversity to overcome with a new coach, a new conference, and a rebuilt roster with 23 players gone via the transfer portal and 17 new additions.

Who Will Be the Difference-Maker on Offense?

Let’s start with the bad news. Cincinnati lost its top eight pass catchers from a season ago, with the leading pass catcher, RB Ryan Montgomery, having four receptions for 65 yards last season. The Bearcats’ leading rusher, Charles McClelland is gone as well but returns each of its next five leading rushers. QB Ben Bryant is gone too, after going 8-2 as a starter last season. Now for the good news. The Bearcats brought in several former four-star recruits to supplement the offensive depth chart, including QB Emory Jones (Arizona State), WR Xzavier Henderson (Florida), and OT Deondre Buford (Kentucky). With so much offensive production gone, can the new faces on offense become immediate difference-makers? That will be the biggest question for Cincy’s offense in Year 1.

 

Can Scott Satterfield Successfully Replace Luke Fickell?

There were eyebrows raised immediately when Cincinnati chose Scott Satterfield from Louisville as Luke Fickell’s replacement. Satterfield, whose only tie to Ohio was spending the 2009 season as the passing game coordinator at Toledo, seemed like an odd choice after just a 25-24 record with the Cardinals over the last four seasons in the ACC. Meanwhile, under Fickell, Cincinnati has gone 53-11 over the last five seasons and has been one of the nation’s most consistent winners in that stretch, including a 13-1 season and College Football Playoff appearance in 2021. Fickell’s ties to the state of Ohio made him the perfect fit for Cincinnati, and now they’ll place their hopes in a coach that has spent little to no time in the Midwest recruiting or coaching. To be honest, this feels like a situation that could be doomed from the start given the circumstances of his first season, but I’d gladly be wrong. Replacing the winningest coach in school history is a tall task, but doing it while simultaneously making the jump to the Power Five feels almost inconceivable.

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