Much of the talk in college football this offseason has been about expanding the playoffs from its current format to one that would have 12 teams competing for the National Championship. It is a move that fans are very much on board with, but it will take some time to ratify any type of deal, so for now, we will stay with the current system. What that means is that teams outside of the Power 5 conferences are once again probably not going to get anywhere near the playoffs. That includes the Cincinnati Bearcats, who had themselves an unbeaten regular season last year. They will come back in 2021 and try to repeat that, although they will have a much tougher schedule this time around. With all that mind, it’s time to take a look at what lies ahead for Cincinnati so you can plan your bets against their NCAAF odds.
College Football Betting | 2021 Cincinnati Bearcats Preview for the Upcoming Season
The Bearcats in 2020
Like just about every other team in college football in 2020, the Cincinnati Bearcats had a disrupted season. They were able to play an 8-game schedule, winning all 8 of those games without really breaking much of a sweat, save for the final game of the regular season, a 36-33 win over UCF. That put them on top in the AAC, which they eventually won outright by beating Tulsa in the Conference Championship Game.
While their perfect record was not enough to get them into the playoffs, it did earn them the right to play in one of the big bowl games. Cincinnati went against the Georgia Bulldogs in one of the New Year’s 6 Bowl Games and put in a great effort, losing 24-21 to one of the elite teams in the college game. The question now is what they will do for an encore in 2021.
The Bearcats Odds and Outlook for 2021
The Bearcats got some great news in the offseason, which was that QB Desmond Ridder decided to return to the fold. Ridder won AAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2021 and took his personal stats to new levels. We can probably expect him to take another step forward this season. He will have a pair of senior WR targets to throw to and will have the benefit of having Jerome Ford taking off some of the pressure with a great run game. Cincinnati will need to replace a couple of standouts on the O-Line, but this offense should still be humming. This is why they are huge favorites to repeat in the AAC. They are currently -230 to repeat as champions.
While the offense got a lot of press last season, the Bearcats D was also absolutely outstanding. Given that most of their key players returned for another year, there is the possibility that this group might be even better in 2021. If that does indeed prove to be the case, then you have to say that the Bearcats look like a sure bet to win the AAC.
Until the NCAA changes the playoff format, it would probably be foolish to talk about Cincinnati as a playoff contender. That said, this is a team that is good enough to finished ranked in the top 10, which would mean another big bowl game.
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