Cincinnati is a great team. They finished 9-4 a year ago, despite a litany of injuries at key positions, and now not only return healthy, but with even more experience offensively. The defense remains a question that won't be answered until they take the field, but the point remains... the Bearcats are certainly formidable.
The Bearcats already entered the month of August as the likely favorites in the competitive AAC. Well, now the Preseason Media Poll released at the AAC Media Days confirms it.
Yes, you read that correctly. Cincinnati is an overwhelming favorite in this preseason poll, earning 22 of the 30 possible votes in the AAC overall. Just within the East Division, the Bearcats earned 29 of 30 with only UCF snaking a vote. On the other side of the conference, Memphis and Houston are more of a toss-up in this poll with 13 and 10 votes, respectively.
Considering the returning starters and the fact that the Bearcats enter this season healthy, it is no wonder than they command so much respect in the preseason poll.
That said, I do find it somewhat interesting how the poll shakes out in the West Division. Memphis deserves some credit, having won the conference last season, and fielding talented quarterback Paxton Lynch. Houston, on the other hand, is generating a lot of buzz with the addition of first-year head coach Tom Herman and a young, talented roster.
Cincinnati (22) deserves to be the favorites, but I'm somewhat amazed that the Bearcats received so many votes, considering the hoopla Memphis (5) and Houston (2) have been generating this offseason. I think it's less a slight on the other teams and a fascination of what Cincinnati could be, which is exciting as a fan of the team.
Nonetheless, Cincinnati remains the favorites in what is no more than a mere talking point in the preseason.
Now, let's see them bring it home.