Starting in the 2023 season, the Cincinnati Bearcats will be jumping ship and heading to the Big 12 Conference. Moving to a Power 5 conference is perhaps one of the reasons why head coach Luke Fickell decided to return to Cincinnati when he could have easily jumped ship to a more illustrious program. That said, he may also feel as though he has some unfinished business after leading his team to a perfect regular season and a spot in the College Football Playoffs, where the Bearcats eventually lost to the Alabama Crimson Tide. That is going to be tough to repeat, especially when you consider that it is much more difficult to make the playoffs when residing outside the Power 5. Let’s get the crystal ball out and see if the Cincinnati Bearcats can be considered a contender in the 2022 season so you can plan your bets against their College Football Odds.
Are the Cincinnati Bearcats a Good Betting Pick and a True Contender this Season?
2022 Regular Season
We need to start this conversation by discussing the holes that opened up in the Bearcats squad at the end of last season. Success is great, but when you reach the heights that Cincinnati did last season, it is inevitable that some players are going to leave and head to the NFL Draft. That said, Luke Fickell has proven to be very adept at recruiting and picking up some solid players out of the transfer portal. It’s actually going to be an easier sell now that his team has made it to the postseason.
While the Bearcats made it through the regular season last year unscathed, this season looks to be a little more on the difficult side of things. There are, as we mentioned, players that are going to need to fill holes and step up right away, but there are also a couple of tricky looking games on the schedule, most notably against Arkansas in Week 1 and Indiana just a couple of weeks later.
Those are tough games, but when it comes to the AAC, you still like this team to be the class of the conference. Getting through the season unbeaten once again seems like a tall order, but I would not bet against the Bearcats once again being in the AAC Conference Championship Game.
Conference and Playoffs
At odds of +167, the Cincinnati Bearcats are the favorite to win the AAC, which I believe is the best bet available for this team at the moment. They will be pushed hard by the Houston Cougars and the UCF Knights, but barring some major injuries, I think taking the Bearcats to win the AAC is a solid pick. They have won it in consecutive seasons and look primed to make it a threepeat.
In terms of the playoffs, I think it is asking a little too much of a non-Power 5 team to get there in back-to-back seasons. The harsh reality is that they cannot afford to take any type of loss, as that would likely be enough for the Playoff Committee to toss them out of the running. The fact that the Bearcats are currently +12000 to win the National Championship pretty much tells you all you need to know.