- The Cincinnati-Arkansas showdown is one of the most intriguing Week 1 matchup
- Cincinnati vs Arkansas Game Information
- Cincinnati is looking to reload after losing several star players to the NFL
- Jefferson looks to make Arkansas an SEC title contender in 2022
- Cincinnati vs Arkansas Head to Head
- Cincinnati vs Arkansas Injury Update
- Cincinnati vs Arkansas Betting Preview
The Cincinnati vs Arkansas Showdown is One of the Most Intriguing Week 1 matchups
Cincinnati is coming off a spectacular 2021 season when the Bearcats not only won the American Athletic Conference title but also became the first team outside of the Power-5 Conferences not named Notre Dame to earn one of the four spots in the College Football Playoffs. After that season to remember, it is back to reality as the Cincinnati vs Arkansas odds favor the host Razorbacks.
The 2022 team will look much different from 2021 after nine players were selected in April’s NFL Draft. Trying to replace the top passer, rusher, receiver as well as team leader in sacks as well as other key contributors will be no easy task.
Arkansas was one of the better stories to come out of the SEC in 2021. The Razorbacks went from a 3-7 team in 2020 to win nine games last season. The year before that, Arkansas lost its last nine games. The win total could have been even higher if not for a one-point loss to Ole Miss and a 42-35 defeat at Alabama.
Dynamic quarterback KJ Jefferson returns. While he does lose many of the skill players who helped him thrive a season ago, the Razorbacks do return four starting offensive linemen.
Cincinnati (+195) is barely ahead of Houston in the odds to win the American Athletic Conference title. Arkansas (+6600) is tied for eighth in the SEC championship odds.
Cincinnati vs Arkansas Game Information
- Matchup: Cincinnati (13-1, 8-0 in the American Athletic Conference in 2021) Arkansas 9-4 (4-4 in the Southeastern Conference in 2021)
- Location: Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, Arkansas
- TV: ESPN
Cincinnati Looking to Reload After Losing Several Star Players to the NFL
Cincinnati’s offense will look much different with four-year starting quarterback Desmond Ridder (3334 passing yards, 30 TD passes in 2021), leading rusher Jerome Ford (1320 yards, 19 touchdowns), and top receiver Alec Pierce (52 catches, 884 receiving yards) now in the NFL. Those departures have certainly impacted the Cincinnati vs Arkansas odds.
Receivers Tyler Scott and Tre Tucker are back after combining for 64 catches and nearly 1000 yards last season. Tight ends Josh Whyle and Leonard Taylor also return for the Bearcats. Hawaii’s top receiver Nick Gardner joins the Bearcats after averaging 19.9 yards on 46 catches last season.
Ryan Montgomery is back after averaging 6.8 yards on 46 carries a season ago. He figures to be Cincinnati’s top punt return once again. Keep an eye on Cincinnati native Corey Kiner, who returns home after rushing for 323 yards as a freshman at Louisiana State. Things worked out pretty well when Ford transferred to Cincinnati out of the SEC. Will Kiner have a similar impact?
The defense loses leading tackler Joel Dublanko while six defensive starters were selected in the NFL Draft. It will be pretty hard for the Bearcats to finish in the top 10 in total defense as was the case during the 2021 season.
The list of departures begins with fourth overall pick Ahmad Gardner. Fellow cornerback Coby Bryant and safety Bryan Cook were also drafted. Linebacker Darrian Beavers had 100 tackles, Curtis Brooks led the Bearcats with 7½ sacks a season ago while Myjai Sanders (13½ sacks over the last three seasons) will be difficult to replace.
The top returnee on that side of the ball is linebacker Deshawn Pace (95 tackles, four interceptions, 9½ tackles for loss). Ty Van Fossen (70 tackles), Ja’von Hicks (56 tackles, two interceptions), Jowon Briggs (43 tackles, three sacks) and Arquon Bush (3 interceptions) are other top returnees on defense. The defensive line will be aided by the addition of former Ohio State recruit Noah Potter while linebacker Ivan Pace led Miami (Ohio) with 125 tackles in 2021.
Jefferson Looks to Make Arkansas an SEC Title Contender in 2022
KJ Jefferson is one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the SEC. He comes at +10000 in the odds to win the Heisman Trophy.
He will be aided by the return of four starting offensive linemen. Arkansas loses its top two receivers including NFL first-round pick Treylon Burks (66 catches, 1104 yards). Adding former Oklahoma receiver Jadon Haselwood (39 catches, 399 yards, and six touchdowns) as well as former Toledo receiver Matt Landers, who averaged 25.7 yards on his 20 receptions last season will help.
Jefferson led the Razorbacks with 664 rushing yards in 2021. His presence is a major reason why the Razorbacks are favored in the Cincinnati vs Arkansas odds.
Second-leading rusher Trelon Smith transferred to Texas San Antonio. However, Raheim Sanders (114 carries, 578 yards, five touchdowns) had almost identical numbers as Smith. Dominique Johnson led all the Arkansas backs with an average of 5.9 yards per carrying while A.J. Green also returns at running back.
Leading tackler Bumper Pool returns, but the Razorbacks do lose four of the top five tacklers. Myles Slusher, Jalen Catalon, Simeon Blair are other key returnees on defense.
Arkansas hit the transfer portal in an attempt to improve a defense that finished in the middle of the pack in the SEC football team stats a season ago.
Linebacker Drew Sanders comes in from Alabama, cornerback Dwight McGlothern (32 tackles, five pass breakups) and defensive end Landon Jackson transferred in from LSU, safety Latavious Brini had 38 tackles and eight pass breakups for national champion Georgia while defensive end Jordan Domineck had 38 tackles and 3.5 sacks a season ago at Georgia Tech.
Cincinnati vs Arkansas Head to Head
This will be the first meeting between the Bearcats and Razorbacks.
Cincinnati has lost five of its last six games to SEC teams. The Bearcats fell to Georgia 24-21 in the Peach Bowl on Jan. 1, 2021, while Cincinnati lost to Alabama 27-6 in the College Football Playoffs on December 31, 2021.
Cincinnati has covered in two of the last three matchups against SEC foes.
Arkansas hasn’t played a team from the American Athletic Conference since shutting out Tulsa 23-0 as a seven-point favorite at home on Oct. 20, 2018.
Cincinnati vs Arkansas Injury Update
Receiver Jadon Haselwood is probable, quarterback Kade Renfro (knee) is questionable, and running back Dominique Johnson (knee) is out indefinitely for Arkansas.
Cincinnati vs Arkansas Betting Preview
Something will have to give as Cincinnati has won its last 11 season openers while Arkansas is 7-1 in its last eight openers with the only loss coming to nationally ranked Georgia in 2020. When looking at the NCAA college spreads, Arkansas is currently listed as a six-point favorite.
Anybody who tuned when Arkansas played Alabama and Ole Miss saw how close the Razorbacks are to being a contender for the SEC title. That also makes them a factor in the national title race.
This is a rugged opening act for both the Razorbacks and Bearcats. Arkansas checks in at No. 19 in the Associated Press poll with Cincinnati coming in at No. 23. Cincinnati is 22nd and Arkansas 23rd in the American Football Coaches Association poll.
The total has gone under in four of Cincinnati’s last five season openers and in four of the last five games when Arkansas enters the game as a favorite.Follow us on Twitter