Should be a busy day with Mick Cronin holding a mid-summer press conference in the afternoon and I will be tracking down some other interviews before that.
All the football coaches officially return to campus today. Mark this off as the latest checkpoint to Sept. 4. Almost there.
In the meantime, I am going to start running a couple of different features as we lead up to camp. The first is a game-by-game rundown of the schedule where we'll talk to the beat writers for the opposing team and get an insider's view of what the Cats have in store in for them. Fresno Bee beat writer Daniel Lyght will kick off the proceedings as we break down the Fresno State Bulldogs.
Also, over the next two weeks I will be sitting down with all the assistant coaches on the team and delivering a complete roster breakdown. Know the strengths, weaknesses and roster battles that will be going on during preseason. I think this should be an enlightening process for all of us that are trying to get a firm grasp on the makeup of this year's Bearcats. Many positions are pretty locked in, like QB, but others, like MLB, will be much more interesting to hear the analysis from the mouths of those making the decisions.
Anyway, you can just call that my movie trailer for the coming weeks (In a world, where a writer previews his material...).
Let's move on to the breakfast..
--- I put together my official preseason rankings and sent them off for the Big East media poll yesterday. Before I show my list to you, I would love to hear how you guys would rank the eight teams.
I imagine most of you would put UC at the top spot, but let's try to be slightly objective.
Send your rankings over to my email with some reasoning behind your primary choices (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will publish and debate some of your thoughts in the breakfast later this week along with what I sent in to the Big East.
--- Scott Springer at GoBearcats headed over to Deveroes (the league, not the store, though I would like to see Scott in a bubble coat) and put together a piece featuring Sean Kilpatrick.
He makes an interesting comparison to last year when the Slats team Kilpatrick helped lead to the championship saw Lance Stephenson come in and wow the crowd in that game. But, they lost. When the show was all about Lance, the team lost some of the effectiveness of the distributing Kilpatrick.
It was the Deveroes league, so we can probably stop reading into it there, but an interesting thought nonetheless.
--- On Friday, UC sent out a release announcing season ticket sales exceeded 20k for this season. That marks the fourth consecutive season of ticket sales growth for the program.
Tickets go on sale for Oklahoma vs. UC at PBS on July 26. At $50 for the lower level, $40 for second and $25 for upper bowl, it's not a bad deal at all for such a huge game. Having sat in the upper level at PBS a few times, I can tell you the bottom rows of the upper deck are some of the best seats in the house. Those would be a steal at $25.
--- Also on Friday, Tommy G caught up with Connor Barwin, who gives another great interview. Barwin gets into why he thinks his second year will be better than his rookie year while also talking a little bit about this year's UC team.
Easy to believe Barwin when he talks about building on last year because he played so much better as the season went along last season. He recorded 3.5 of his 4.5 sacks in the final six games of the year. The final four of which were wins for the Texans.
--- While Sunday was UC Day at the Reds game, Saturday night probably more illustrated the reason people are excited about the direction of the program.
Butch Jones and his family settled into Diamond Club seats right behind home plate when Jeff Brantley and the FSN crew wanted to place Cowboy in those to give observations about the stuff of Edinson Volquez along with almost certain ramblings about ice cream and honey holes.
Well, according to Jones' blog, he gladly gave up the seats of the sold-out game for the FSN crew to do their work.
The Reds found his family some other seats, but obviously not as sweet as those.
Is this the type of guy you want running your program? Yep.
--- Matt Hayes at The Sporting News ranked the Big East non-conference schedules from first to worst. UC lands at No. 3 behind Pitt and USF. You can make an argument for UC being ahead of USF (at Florida, at Miami), but having to go on the road into both hostile enviornments, whereas UC gets Oklahoma in town, probably is the difference-maker.
Elsewhere on the list, UConn needs to be moved down at least two spots. I give them respect for scheduling the Big Ten and SEC, but does it really count if you schedule Michigan during its worst run in decades and Vanderbilt?
--- Notre Dame's top returning scorer was arrested, along with 10 other athletes. I wouldn't expect much to come of it, though. Apparently, kids are drinking underage on college campus'. In related news, people are driving faster than the posted speed limits.
--- Mo Egger is as loyal a UC alum as there is. And damn entertaining. And it's good to have him back from vacation. His first blog back only wished death on two people, hitting the under on my bet of 7. However, it did contemplate the drowning of an entire cruise ship, so I'm not sure if I won or lost. Regardless, good stuff. Here it is.