Offense: Brian Kelly will bring back his “Coast to Coast” offense in 2008. QB Dustin Grutza will lead this with a strong receiving core of Marcus Barnett, Dominic Goodman, and Marshwan Gilyard. The running game will be led by RB Jacob Ramsey, who rushed for 362 yards last season.
Defense: The Bearcats led the nation in interceptions last year and have one of the best defenses in the country. All American CB Mike Mickens, CB DeAngelo Smith, and DE Terrill Byrd look to lead Cincinnati to another fantastic year defensively.
Special Teams: All American punter Kevin Huber returns and looks to help out the defense by pinning the opposing team back in their own territory.
8/28 EKU: Cincinnati starts out with EKU and the Cats are heavily favored to beat the D-1 AA school from across the river. Dustin Grutza has been announced as the starter, but this game should give Tony Pike and Demetrius Jones a chance to state their case. The only player not eligible to play Thursday will be DE Terrill Byrd after being suspended for this game after an incident in the off-season.
9/6 at OKLAHOMA: The Bearcats always have tough games inside the Big East, but their non-conference match-up with Oklahoma on September 6th will be one of the toughest games in school history. That game is in Norman, Oklahoma, which will give the #4 ranked Sooners a slight edge. The Bearcats defense will have to stop one of the best offenses in the country, which includes QB Sam Bradford.
9/20 MIAMI (OH): After Cincy’s first bye-week, they will compete in the 113th Battle for the Victory Bell. The Cats have won this historic rivalry the last two seasons. In 2007, the Bearcats beat the Redhawks 47-10 in Oxford, to stay undefeated at 3-0.
9/27 at AKRON: The Cats will play their fourth game of the season at the “Rubber Bowl”, in Akron, Ohio. The last time these schools met was at Nippert Stadium in 2006, when Cincinnati beat the Zips 20-14.
10/3 at MARSHALL: After thumping the Thundering Herd in 2007 by the score of 40-14 in Cincinnati, the Bearcats travel to Huntington, West Virginia for a Friday night match-up on ESPN. Marshall’s faithful fans make it hard for any team to win at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, but Cincinnati should be able to walk off the field with a win.
10/11 RUTGERS: This year’s homecoming game should be a good one with the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers coming to Nippert Stadium. The Bearcats have beat Rutgers the last two years which included the stunning upset in 2006, to end the undefeated #7 Scarlet Knights their BCS National Championship dream. Brian Kelly and the Cats hope to continue their recent winning streak over Rutgers.
10/25 at UCONN: After Cincy’s second bye week, they go right back on the road to Hartford, Connecticut. Last season at Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati absolutely demolished the #13 UConn Huskies by the score of 27-3. Connecticut went on to be co-champions of the Big East.
10/30 USF: ESPN’s Thursday Night Football will roll into the queen city to show the nation a Big East battle between South Florida and Cincinnati. The Bearcats put on an offense show with five touchdowns in the first quarter. Cincy ended up holding on at the end for a 38-33 victory.
11/8 at WEST VIRGINIA: Cincinnati will travel to Morgantown for a big match-up with the preseason favorite in the Big East. The Mountaineers escaped Nippert Stadium last year with a 28-23 win. Even though Steve Slaton moved on to the NFL, Pat White looks to lead his team to another BCS Bowl in 2008. The Bearcats will be the underdog, but with a great defensive show they could pull off the upset.
11/14 at LOUISVILLE: Cincinnati is leading the rivalry overall but the Cardinals have won the Keg of Nails the last six years. Going into this game last season, Cincinnati was undefeated at 6-0 and Louisville was struggling, but the Cards ending up pulling off the upset at Nippert Stadium.
11/21 PITTSBURGH: The River City Rivalry will be entering its fourth year as Pitt leads the series 3-0. The Bearcats rush defense will have to stop the Panthers RB LeSean McCoy to come out on top in this game.
11/29 SYRACUSE: Senior Day looks to be a victory as the struggling Orange visit Cincinnati at the end of November. The Bearcats look to finish their season at Nippert Stadium and send off their senior class with a win over Syracuse. UC has beat Syracuse every game since joining the Big East in 2005.
12/6 at HAWAII: The Cats will take a long flight to beautiful Honolulu in the first week of December for a match-up with the Warriors. The last time these two teams met was in 2002, when Aloha Stadium turned into fight night as the two teams had a five minute brawl after the close game which Hawaii won.
Prediction: The Bearcats will finish near the top of the Big East standings with a 10-3 or 11-2 record.
Bearcat Insider Note: This is the first article for Brandon Saho on Bearcat Insider. After meeting Brandon and talking with him you could feel the passion he has for Bearcats football and basketball.
With a dream of working for Fox Sports or ESPN, Brandon is working hard covering La Salle High School and just looking for his big break.
A high school student, Brandon said he's always dreamed of covering the Bearcats and after getting to know him I felt it only right to give him his chance to share his thoughts about his favorite team.
At 15 years of age, Brandon is sure to bring much talk from his upcoming articles on Bearcat Insider. All of Brandon's articles will be free as I want this to be a learning experience for him and a chance to work towards his two big dreams.
Covering the Bearcats and someday taking his place at the sports desk of Fox Sports or ESPN.