Steelpoycolypse Now

I picked up a copy of Phil Steele's annual ode to the sport we all love today and there were some interesting conclusions drawn by Senor Steele about this teeam. For a start he thinks that the Bearcats are going to rebound in a very big way. I will go ahead and quote him here.

For a good portion of April I thought I was going to pick the Bearcats at number 1 in the Big East. They have a lot of factors pointing to their improvement...

The factors that weigh in the Bearcats favor are relatively numerous. For a start it is the 2nd year of the Butch Jones era, and that almost always means a measured improvement. Even in the transition from year 1 to year 2 of Brian Kelly there was a big jump. There was only 1 more win, 11 compared with 10, but the team performed at a much higher level in 2008. This kind of ties in with that but the coaching continuity is also. After three years of three defensive coordinators and three different systems UC is returning it's DC(s) for the first time since 2008. But the biggest thing in favor of UC is actually the turnover margin.

It is counter intuitive to think that a team that was -15 in turnover margin, which was 119th out of 120 teams, a season ago can view that as a positive thing. But it's true. Statistically speaking there is almost no correlation at all between turnover margin from one year to the next. In fact more often than not the teams at the bottom of that chart see big turnarounds for the team one season later. Look at Miami (OH). In 2009 they were -24 in turnover margin, dead last nationally and went 1-11 as a result. Last year the Redhawks were +11, which was among the elite in the country.

On top of those UC has a ton of experience returning this year, particularly on defense. I have been hammering this point home to anyone that I talk to about Football. College Football isn't like Basketball where you can plug in a highly regarded group of players and keep rolling. Experience matters and UC has a ton of it this year. That is not to say that I am anti Freshman. In fact I am very pro Freshman playing, because in the long run it helps, in the short term it's a mixed bag. This is a point that all UC fans should know by now. Think back to 2005 when UC played it's first season in the Big East fielding the youngest team among the BCS conferences, 7 Freshman started on defense alone that year. Those guys struggled that first year, but they became the backbone of the team and as they got older the wins started to pile up; 7 in 2006, 10 in 2007 and 11 and a conference championship in 2008.

What does this all mean? Hard to tell, while Steele is without a doubt the smartest guy doing this stuff he has been wrong about teams before. You have to take it was a grain of salt. While Steele views UC as a legit challenger for a third Big East championship, I still have my reservations about, but I think, and have thought for a while that the possibility of a big rebound is there. Personally I expect this team to win 7 or 8 games with an outside chance for 9.

Notes

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Down The Drive

You must be a member of Down The Drive to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Down The Drive. You should read them.

Join Down The Drive

You must be a member of Down The Drive to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Down The Drive. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker