In 2016, the Bearcats were led by fourth-year head coach Tommy Tuberville, After being predicted to finish second in the AAC East, The Bearcats finished 2016 season with a 4-8 (1-7 AAC) record with a five-game losing streak to end the year, missing a bowl game for the first time since 2010. UC suffered a number of season-ending injuries and never found any consistency offensively, dropping from the Top-5 in the NCAA FBS a year ago to No. 101 in total offense. The defense showed significant improvements during the campaign, including being among the national leaders in forced turnovers. After the season Tuberville announced he was stepping down as head coach on December 4, 2016. Tuberville was 29-22 with the Bearcats, notching three bowl appearances and a share of the 2014 American Athletic Conference Championship
The Bearcats' 2017 schedule will consist of six home games and six away games. Cincinnati will host two of its four non-conference games; against Austin Peay from the Ohio Valley Conference, and Marshall from Conference USA. They will travel to Michigan for the first ever meeting between the Bearcats and Wolverines and long time rival Miami (OH) for their annual Victory Bell game.
The Bearcats will play eight conference games; hosting UCF, UConn, Temple and SMU. They will travel to East Carolina, Navy, South Florida and Tulane. On September 14, 2017, the American Athletic Conference announced that Cincinnati will play at USF on Saturday, October 14 and will have its bye week on October 28 due to the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.