Projected 2017 record and S&P+ ranking: 7-5 (75th)
Biggest strength: Cincinnati was pretty good at defending the run last year, and almost all of last year’s defensive line returns.
Biggest question mark: The Bearcats’ run game was horrendous; can Mike Boone rediscover the explosive potential he showed in 2014-15?
Biggest 2017 game: The Week 3 trip to Miami (Ohio) is a relative tossup and comes a week after a likely physical loss at Michigan. Can the Bearcats begin establishing their identity and avoid falling to 1-2 in advance of conference play?
Summary: Cincinnati hired Mr. Ohio to reestablish momentum after a couple of shaky seasons. He’s going to recruit like crazy; we’ll see if his coordinators can fulfill the identity he wants.