College Football Top 25: 10 non-ranked teams who could crack the late-season polls

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Dec 6, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats safety Darren Doston (10) reacts after the game at Paul Brown Stadium. The Cincinnati Bearcats defeated the Houston Cougars 38-31. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

No. 10: Cincinnati Bearcats

2014 Finish: 9-4, 7-1 AAC

When you have an offense led by a quarterback as good as Gunner Kiel, and with a receiver as solid as Shaq Washington, you have a team that needs to be watched closely.

The Bearcats were explosive on offense last season, putting up 34 points per game, and 303 yards per game in the air. Kiel’s arm was the key, and he’s been working on his core strength to help avoid some of the rib and oblique injuries that got him pulled out of a few games last season.

The problem for Cincinnati was, and still is, defense. After a 55–34 beating by the Miami Hurricanes last season, head coach Tommy Tuberville said (via “We can’t tackle anybody on defense. We look like the Bad News Bears.”

That loss to Miami left the Bearcats dead last in the nation in total defense, and by the time the season ended they finished 98th out of 128 FBS teams. That’s the primary reason nobody wants to take a chance on ranking the Bearcats before the season begins.

But Tuberville is still an excellent coach, and coming into his third season he’ll have more players that he recruited for his system joining the fray. Cincy should probably be a pick to win the American this season, and stands a great chance of being ranked by November.

Next: Louisville