With the season already 25 percent of the way over, the Cincinnati Bearcats have a ton of work to do if they plan on repeating as Big East champs.
A 1-2 start to the season has put Cincinnati in quite a hole, particularly with the No. 8 Oklahoma Sooners coming to town Saturday.
While they may be 1-2, the Bearcats are still 0-0 in Big East play and if they can sure up a few problems, there is no telling whether they can win a third consecutive Big East Championship.
There are many weaknesses to point out on a team struggling in nearly every facet of the game.
Here are five things Cincinnati needs to work on in the next three weeks before the real season begins.
Entering this season, Cincinnati and new head coach Butch Jones promised to put an emphasis on the ground game.
So far that has not happened.
Some of the low numbers can be blamed on the injury to starter Isaiah Pead.
The Bearcats are only averaging 117 rushing yards a game, including 15 in the season opener at Fresno St. and only 75 last week at NC State.
Pead should be ready to go Saturday and Oklahoma did give up a big rushing day to Air Force last weekend.
Maybe the Bearcats can begin the turnaround against the Sooners.
The Bearcats have struggled all season, not only on defense, but particularly on getting to the quarterback.
Not being able to get consistent pressure on the quarterback has left the Bearcats secondary on an island and these corners are not good enough to cover for an extended period of time.
The key to a good defense starts up front and Cincinnati has not produced in that area.
This has led to the defense staying on the field while the opposition converts third down after third down.
Cincinnati will need some new blitz packages if they plan on getting anywhere near the Oklahoma backfield.
Through three games the injury bug has already bit Cincinnati as hard as any team in college football and particularly on defense, there is not much depth after the starting unit.
Senior receiver Vidal Hazelton is already out for the year and tight end Ben Guidugli has an injured ankle that could sideline him for Saturday's game against the Sooners.
Sophomore safety Drew Frey also left Thursday's game early with an injury and his status for Saturday's game is up in the air.
Couple that with backup defensive end Rob Trigg who is already ruled out for Saturday's game and Cincinnati is scrambling to field a team that is capable of competing with Oklahoma.
Senior leadership is a key ingredient to any successful college football team. Last season Cincinnati had that on both sides of the ball. This year the same can not be said.
With no seniors starting on defense and very few on offense, the Bearcats are looking for someone to step up and take control.
Senior receiver Armon Binns seems like a likely candidate, but his quiet and subdued personality leaves something to be desired.
Perhaps the man to step up is senior center Jason Kelce. Kelce has been a staple on the offensive line throughout his tenure at Cincinnati and is the anchor on a group struggling so far this season.
Either way, the Bearcats need leadership from somebody and they need it quick.
Far and away the group struggling more than any so far this season is the offensive line.
Quarterback Zach Collaros was sacked eight times in the season opener and the results have not been much better since.
The move of Jason Kelce from guard to center and the insertion of two new starters has left this group looking for answers.
The run blocking has been average and will also need to improve. Junior guard Alex Hoffman is one of the best linemen in the Big East, but has been banged up in the early going.
His health will need to improve if Cincinnati plans on protecting Collaros for the rest of the season.