As the 2019 college football season concluded on Monday night, the final top 25 poll of the season was revealed and included Cincinnati at #21. As it should have. Bearcats completed a season in which they went 11-3, played in the conference championship game, and won their bowl game. It was an extremely successful season for Cincinnati.
And now the page turns to 2020. The national media are hit publish on their way-too-early top 25 polls for next season. Bearcats have a lot to look forward to next season. And they absolutely deserve to be ranked.
So where does everyone rank them after Monday night? The consensus seems to be in the high teens range and some believe Cincinnati will be the best group of five school.
CBS Sports - 18
CBS included 3 AAC teams (Cincy, Memphis, UCF) with the Bearcats being the highest ranked among them and all other group of five schools. Dennis Dodd cites the return of the QB and top two runners (which is actually wrong) and points out most of the defense returns.
Sports Illustrated - 12
Pat Forde, for the win! SI putting UC at 12 is by far, the highest of any media outlet. The most interesting note, is his acknowledgement that Michael Warren is departing but that his “production should be replaceable”. That remains to be seen, but it’s encouraging to see national writers have such confidence and respect for the Bearcats.
ESPN - 17
Mark Schlabach ranks Cincinnati as the highest ranked G5, right above Boise State, who comes in at 18. He calls out OL James Hudson and S James Wiggins as a reason for excitement but does not the one glaring issue that the Bearcats face - replacing LBs Bryan Wright and Perry Young.
247Sports - 17
Not much commentary added, but once again Cincy is highest ranked G5, in a poll that also includes Boise State and Memphis.
USA Today - 16
USA Today offers a ton of respect to Cincinnati. Memphis, at 15, is actually the top G5 team, which is totally fair. Memphis did beat Cincinnati twice and returns star RB Kenneth Gainwell. They state the obvious, the Cincinnati has a chance at a big statement game against Nebraska. Despite the recent struggles for the Huskers, they still are a large brand and garner respect on a national level.
Sporting News - 20
Nothing crazy mentioned, only that Cincinnati is recruiting at a high level, they have a chance to beat Nebraska, and Luke Fickell’s presence is a big win.
Athlon Sports - 17
They mentioned the struggles on the offensive line and how the arrival of James Hudson will help solve some of those problems. We already started to see that executed in the Birmingham Bowl. Cincinnati needs to replace production from Josiah Deguara and Rashad Medaris as well as the linebackers. They do point out the returns of Elijah Ponder and Michael Pitts along the defensive line and Ahmad Gardner, Darrick Forrest, and Ja’Von Hicks in the secondary.
Stadium - NR
NR stands for not ranked. Which means Brett McMurphy does not have Cincinnati ranked. Which means Brett McMurphy, quite frankly, is a fool. Brett even included a “next five”, which means Cincinnati isn’t even in his top 30. He has just one G5 team, UCF at 19. Certainly, there is no issue with UCF being ranked, but omitting Cincinnati and even Memphis and Boise State is wrong.
It’s especially wrong when you consider the ridiculousness of this poll - Texas A&M at 6, Iowa State at 10, a TCU team that went 5-7 is 17, Virginia Tech 23, Ole Miss 25. Too many flaws to identify. You can see for yourself - or don’t it’s simply a waste of team.
Just like it’s a waste of time to complain. These polls mean nothing, but simple conversation fodder. But the fact that every other major media publication has Cincinnati in it’s top 20, and McMurphy does not have them in his top 30, shows a major hole in his knowledge.
Yahoo Sports - NR
Yahoo includes Memphis and Boise State, but no Cincinnati. I get it, any time you can include 5-loss powerhouses like Texas A&M, USC, Texas, and Tennessee over an 11-win G5 team, you have to do it. Yahoo hasn’t been reverent since dial up tones were a thing, so it’s not worth harping on this one too much.