In a strange twist of the college coaching carousel on Saturday, news came from Yahoo! Sports that Tommy Tuberville was leaving Texas Tech to take over at Cincinnati. Tuberville will step into a proven program in the Big East, leading to bold expectations for his first season.
The questions are already mounting as to why he would leave a Big 12 school for Cincinnati, but let’s take a look at this from the Bearcats' point of view.
The Cincinnati administration just pulled a major name in coaching circles. Usually, coaches become big after leaving the Bearcats, not vice versa.
The Bearcats are 9-3 and heading to the Belk Bowl after finishing just a win away from the BCS. Cincinnati is returning a proven roster with playmakers talented enough to win the Big East in Tuberville’s first season.
Here are five bold predictions for his first season in Cincinnati.
The Cincinnati defense has never been a very good group.
The best defense this team has had in recent memory was in 2008. That team finished No. 31 in the nation in total defense and No. 26 in scoring defense.
Since then the Bearcats have consistently been in the top-60 range, never making it past No. 40. This team has been great offensively, but defense has lacked growth over the past decade.
Tuberville was able to walk into Lubbock and turn around a Texas Tech defense in just three seasons. The Red Raiders were No. 114 in total defense in 2011, improving this season to the No. 39 total defense in the country.
The Bearcats are in a much easier conference and could muster a top-20 defense in just one season once Tuberville arrives. This season the Bearcats were No. 41 in total defense and No. 17 in scoring defense.
A few tweaks, and this defense is among the best in the country.
The Bearcats know offense.
In 2009, the Bearcats went undefeated with the No. 8 passing and No. 11 total offense in the country. Cincinnati can easily return to those heights with a no-huddle style system.
Tuberville should bring his staff from Texas Tech with him and continue the high-flying offense that saw Seth Doege pass for 38 touchdowns and 3,934 yards this year.
This same high-efficiency style would bring Cincinnati back to the top of the Big East.
The Bearcats finished this season just one win away from securing the conference title and a BCS bowl berth.
Next year the Big East title will be theirs to take home. This team will have rising senior quarterback Munchie Legaux and a number of skill players back to help challenge for the title.
With the defensive rise that is expected to come with the Tuberville era, this team will be able to secure the tight wins that slipped past them in 2012. In fact, every game that Cincinnati lost this season was a winnable one: losses to Rutgers and Louisville kept this team from winning a stand-alone Big East tile and finishing the year in the BCS.
Tuberville wins the big games—he always has. With him on the sideline, the Bearcats will be able to walk the way of champions in 2013.
The BCS will be in its final season next year with the playoffs taking over the game in 2014. The Bearcats will be returning a large amount of starters and top playmakers for the 2013 season.
They were only one win from the BCS this season—next year they could get there.
Tommy Tuberville will bring new blood and perspective to the field for the Bearcats. He will combine a fast-attacking offense with an opportunistic and faster playing defense, creating one tough matchup for any Big East competition.
This team is an established winner in the conference already. Add to that Tuberville's experience in coaching elite teams in big games and tough situations, and this team will be pushing for a BCS win in 2013.
The Bearcats have danced with the top 50 in recruiting for a number of years, but they have been unable to cross into the upper echelon of recruiting. The team still finds ways to win big in the Big East, but with Tuberville, player star power should increase.
Tuberville has not been known as a master recruiter by any means, but in each of his previous stops—Texas Tech, Auburn, Ole Miss—he was able to consistently put together top-30 classes and develop that talent into big-game winners.
Expect much of the same when he arrives at Cincinnati. Tuberville will have the Bearcats recruiting more successfully and filling holes with a better overall haul of talent.
Questions may be surrounding the move for Tuberville, but there isn’t a doubt that he will bring wins to the Bearcats program in his first year.