How CBS Sports, ESPN, USA TODAY project the UC Bearcats to fare next season

·1 min read

The Cincinnati Bearcats successfully climbed a big hill this season to become the first Group of 5 conference team to qualify for the College Football Playoffs.

Several national publications are saying that the Bearcats will have to repeat the same undefeated regular season to duplicate their appearance next season.

The Bearcats completed their 2021 season (13-1, 8-0 in the American Athletic Conference), with a 27-6 loss to Alabama in the Cotton Bowl.

Cincinnati has 11 expected starters to return; seven on offense, two on defense and two on special teams. The Bearcats will look to replace several key starters, including quarterback Desmond Ridder, running back Jerome Ford and cornerbacks Ahmad Gardner and Coby Bryant.

Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder makes a throw during the 2nd half of the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the 86th  Cotton Bowl Classic Friday December 31, 2021 at AT & T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. UC lost to Alabama 27-6.
Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder makes a throw during the 2nd half of the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the 86th Cotton Bowl Classic Friday December 31, 2021 at AT & T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. UC lost to Alabama 27-6.

ESPN has University of Cincinnati ranked No. 19

Here are USA Today's top five teams:

1. Alabama

2. Ohio State

3. Georgia

4. Clemson

5. Texas A&M

Here's what ESPN has to say about the Bearcats' chances next season.

Cincinnati might take a step back next season, but it'll still be a contender for an AAC title. The Bearcats play at Arkansas and host Indiana next season.

Cincinnati Bearcats defensive lineman Myjai Sanders (21) and Cincinnati Bearcats defensive lineman Curtis Brooks (92) take down Alabama Crimson Tide running back Trey Sanders (6) during the 2nd half of the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the 86th  Cotton Bowl Classic Friday December 31, 2021 at AT & T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Cincinnati Bearcats defensive lineman Myjai Sanders (21) and Cincinnati Bearcats defensive lineman Curtis Brooks (92) take down Alabama Crimson Tide running back Trey Sanders (6) during the 2nd half of the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the 86th Cotton Bowl Classic Friday December 31, 2021 at AT & T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

CBS has the University of Cincinnati Bearcats ranked No. 23

Here are CBS Sports' top 5 teams

1. Alabama

2. Ohio State

3. Georgia

4. Oklahoma

5. Texas A&M

Here's what CBS had to say about the Bearcats.

The losses are massive (Desmond Ridder, Jerome Ford, Ahmad Gardner, Coby Bryant for starters) but the Bearcats won't go from 13-1 to irrelevant. Luke Fickell is building the dominant program in, perhaps, two conferences.

Cincinnati Bearcats linebacker Deshawn Pace (20) left, and  safety Bryan Cook (6), right, take down Alabama Crimson Tide running back Brian Robinson Jr. (4) during the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the 86th  Cotton Bowl Classic Friday December 31, 2021 at AT & T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Cincinnati Bearcats linebacker Deshawn Pace (20) left, and safety Bryan Cook (6), right, take down Alabama Crimson Tide running back Brian Robinson Jr. (4) during the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the 86th Cotton Bowl Classic Friday December 31, 2021 at AT & T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

USA TODAY has the University of Cincinnati Bearcats unranked

Here are USA TODAY's top 5 teams:

1. Alabama

2. Ohio State

3. Georgia

4. Clemson

5. Texas A&M

USA TODAY not only has the University of Cincinnati unranked but also said the University of Houston will take over the top spot in the American Athletic Conference.

Here's what USA TODAY had to say about Houston and the Bearcats

The torch in the American Athletic, at least temporarily, will be passed to the Cougars this season after Cincinnati takes a step back in 2022.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Where is UC Bearcats football ranked in 2022 polls?

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting