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Bearcats Look Poised To Challenge For AAC Title In Tuberville’s First Year

Posted by Blake Frazier on 6/24/2013 7:26:42 PM

It’s Tuberville Time in Ohio this season, as new head coach Tommy Tuberville looks to make a statement in his first year on the sidelines of the Cincinnati Bearcats. Tuberville went just 20-17 at Texas Tech, but will be looking to remind the Cincinnati boosters of his glory days with Auburn as he takes over a team that went 10-3 last season, yet still seemed to underachieve according to the sports betting numbers. Posting a double-digit wins total is a must, and Tuberville certainly has the weapons to do it.

OFFENSE

Munchie Legaux was 6-2 as a starter last online sports betting season but his 52.2-percent completion percentage was enough for the Bearcats to make the move to Brendon Kay, who posted a 63-percent completion rate and went 4-1 as the starter. Both quarterbacks return for their final season so there is some depth there, with Kay the starter heading in to camp. Losing running back George Winn will not be easy after he rushed for close to 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns in his senior year, but returnees Ralph David Abernathy IV and Tion Green showed promise along with junior college transfer Rodriguez Moore. All five offensive line starters return including first-team All-Big East selections Eric Lefeld and Austen Bujnoch on the left side, and that will be key as Tuberville looks to expand his offense. Wide receiver Anthony McClung is the top returnee at the position but had just 539 receiving yards and two touchdowns, a sign that the passing game will be a work in progress.

DEFENSE

The Cincinnati defense will be the team’s strength again in 2013, as the program is coming off a year in which it posted its best defensive scoring average since 1995 by allowing just 18.5 points per game. That mark ranked 14th nationally, and with six defensive starters returning to the fold there is potential for this group to be even better. First-team All-Big East middle linebacker Greg Blair averaged 10.6 tackles per game, and he will have returnee Nick Blair on one side, and Florida State transfer Jeff Luc on the other. Luc was the nation’s top-ranked inside linebacker coming out of high school, and he could take this defense to the next level. The Bearcats will use a 4-3 front, with senior defensive backs Deven Drane and Arryn Chenault anchoring the secondary.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Punter Pat O’Donnell transferred to Miami for his final season, but Tony Miliano is back for his third year kicking fild goals and Abernthy was an excellent return man. Losing O’Donnell hurts, but Cincinnati should have a worthy replacement in junior John Lloyd.

2013 OUTLOOK

The online betting numbers that Cincinnati put up a year ago still weren’t good enough, and it will be on Tuberville to get this team over the hump and challenge for a conference title. The Bearcats have Louisville at home in their season finale the first week of December, and Cincinnati football fans are hoping that game will have major implications on the conference outlook. This team is certainly talented enough to challenge the Cardinals for top spot, but it will be about consistency the whole way through.

2013 PREDICTED FINISH: 10-2: 2nd in AAC

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