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Summer Schedule Preview: The Cowboys Host Big 12 Addition Cincinnati for Homecoming

The Bearcats are project to have one the easier schedules heading into their inaugural Big 12 slate.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

The Cowboys will welcome a new team to the Big 12 in style. This fall, Oklahoma State hosts Cincinnati on the weekend of America’s Greatest Homecoming.

Week 9: Cincinnati (Homecoming)

The Bearcats are in a state of transition. Not only are they stepping up in terms of conference competition level, they’re doing so with a new head coach. And they’re also — like many schools — dealing with some significant roster turnover from last fall.

But Cincinnati will get a gentler intro to the league, as the Bearcats own the No. 14 (out of 14) strength of schedule this fall, according to some interesting math done by College Football News. The Bearcats have just four conference road games but this is one of them.

When: Oct. 28
Where: Stillwater

Series history: 2-1

Last meeting: The last time the Cowboys and Bearcats squared off, not a single writer for this website was on planet Earth. I can state this with confidence as the resident old guy. The Cowboys defeated the Bearcats 27-17 in Cincinnati back in 1983.

The two teams split their only other two meetings, back in 1958 and 1959. The home team has never won in the series for what it’s worth. Now onto some information from this century.

Cincinnati in 2022: A year after their CFP Playoff berth in 2021, the Bearcats responded with a 9-3 record before Luke Fickell was hired away to Wisconsin. Cincinnati then fell to Louisville in the Fenway Bowl under interim head coach Kerry Coombs. The Bearcats finished tied for second in the American with fellow Big 12 addition UCF.

Cincinnati in 2023: Scott Satterfield took over at Cincinnati after going 25-24 in four years at Louisville (he did not coach in the two teams’ bowl matchup). The Bearcats also welcome a new quarterback with Arizona State transfer Emory Jones, a dual-threat passer that spent four years at Florida. He’s rushed for over 1,300 yards in his career. Cincy also added three Power Five transfers to its depleted receiving corps.

The Bearcats return a defense that led the AAC in scoring allowed and passing defense, but it lost several key players like cornerbacks Arguon Bush (All-ACC first team) and Ja’Quan Sheppard, linebackers Ivan Pace and Ty Van Fossen, and edge rusher Jabari Taylor.

Key Matchup: Front vs. Front

If there was a glaring weakness for the Bearcats’ 2022 offense, it’ was upfront. Cincy had to rebuild an offensive line that mustered just 131 rushing yards per game and gave up 38 sacks last year (both 10th in the AAC), but has brought in four potential starters through the portal.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, will be in Year 1 of the Bryan Nardo Era on defense. The Pokes return some talent up front with the likes of Collin Oliver (now playing on his heels), Collin Clay and the like, and have brought in some experienced talent like former Tulsa defensive end Anthony Goodlow and Utah Tech transfer Justin Kirkland. For what it’s worth, Goodlow — not a huge sack guy who totaled just two last year — has recorded a sack each of the last two times he’s faced Cincinnati. Maybe he can share some intel.

We’ve got a ways to go before Halloween weekend, but in my way-too-early analysis, whichever of these two above units does a better job of turning a question mark into a strength will have the edge in this one.

Be sure to check out our previous schedule previews: NonCon | Iowa State | Kansas State | Kansas | West Virginia

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