Last week the Sporting News released their college football preseason rankings. The major national publication comes out with their top 100 every year around this time. Usually I have no major gripes, but this year something caught my eye.
As I scrolled down the list, I was searching for one team, my beloved Bearcats. When I finally saw them at No. 41, I almost fell out of my seat.
The defending Big East champs and a team that finished No. 3 in the final BCS Poll a season ago returns a large chunk of one of the top offenses in the nation and can't even crack the top 40.
The Sporting News predicts an 8-4 season and a three-way tie for third place in the Big East. Now that hardly seems fair.
They attribute this to a few things. One of which is a stronger Big East. While the Big East may be improved in 2010, the reality is, the league is about the same talent-wise as it was last year.
Both Pittsburgh and West Virginia will be comparable to what they were last season. South Florida, Louisville and Syracuse are clearly not in the mix and may be even worse than they were in 2009. Rutgers and Connecticut will be improved, but not to the point where they can honestly be placed ahead of Cincinnati, like the Huskies are.
After the schedule breakdown, they go on to rate the team by position and what really got me fired up was the B given to the quarterback position.
Zach Collaros was graded a B, which may seem fine to some, but is far lower than I would have ever anticipated, having seen what I saw last season.
Tony Pike would have certainly been a Heisman finalist had he not gotten hurt last year and Collaros has the tools to be better than Pike was last year. I fully expect him to do so.
B- at running back also left a bad taste in my mouth. Isaiah Pead as talented as almost any back in the country.
While some may question the losses of Pike and Mardy Gilyard, the Bearcats are stronger than ever in 2010. A more well-balanced offense with a focus on running the football will lead to a well-rested defense.
If Cincinnati could win the Big East with the conference's worst defense in 2009, that has to be some indication of what they could do with a better unit in 2010.
As always, everything will have to be answered on the field. With a completely new coaching staff, I can see why some people raise a few red flags when deciding on how good the Bearcats will be in 2010.
One thing is certain.
This team is going to put some points on the board and in the process, prove the Sporting News and the eight wins they predicted to be completely wrong.
Myself and Bearcat nation can guarantee that.
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