Well, it's Friday and a pretty fun weekend around Cincinnati, particularly with a big Reds-Braves weekend showdown between first-place teams. There is a Homer Bailey bobblehead giveaway on Saturday. You think they changed his uniform to the Louisville Bats?
Anyway, hope everyone enjoys their days off. Here are some links to get you going in the right direction.
--- Tony Pike opens camp as the fourth-string quarterback in Carolina. The Charlotte Observer has this story about his first days. It's a little fluffy, but a look into what's going on with him, nonetheless.
The best part is the writer asks him if he has ever been fourth-string quarterback obviously expecting a crazy reaction of no or some early age and Pike responds with, "Yeah, before my junior year."
Still hard to believe only three years ago, Pike was mired in complete obscurity on the Bearcats roster.
--- Mardy Gilyard is his normal outgoing self in St. Louis. At least one writer is already learning what a gem he can be in an interview. The part about Gilyard is at the bottom of this story.
I will be keeping an eye on St. Louis preseason games on NFL Network to keep an eye on Gilyard, particulary as a returner. At the very least, playing for St. Louis, he should get plenty of touches there.
--- A reader sent in a question regarding Big East expansion -- the topic that won't die -- and I can tell you that we will hear plenty about the BE brass' plans for dealing with future expansion at the media days early next week.
Commissioner John Marinatto will speak and if 35 percent of what he says isn't about expansion-related issues, I would be pretty shocked.
I will not be at the clambake, but of course you can follow all the action through Brian Bennett's Big East blog. BB has a look at some of the other storylines to follow over the two days.
--- At the paper I last worked at, I became pretty close to Dontonio Wingfield, who was from the city and one of the most galvanizing sports figures in its history. Wingfield has really turned his life around after some bad decisions and bad breaks curtailed his basketball career. He was running a youth basketball program and spent nearly every hour of his day trying to help kids not make the same mistakes he did.
Anyway, apparently he was arrested earlier this month, but claims he had nothing to do with drug charges filed against him. I would find it hard to believe Wingfield is lying. I certainly hope I'm correct.
--- Syracuse's biggest threat may be returning to the team soon after being suspended. Somehow, I don't see the rest of the Big East petitioning to switch the Orange off of the homecoming game just yet.
--- For UC to beat Oklahoma they will have to find a way to slow DeMarco Murray. I'm still not sure how that is going to happen, particularly when his head coach is putting him in the same breath with Adrian Peterson.
--- The embarrassing details playing out around Rick Pitino's trial are beginning to mount and always off-base Jay Marriotti thinks Pitino should resign. Not saying anything he did was moral or should even be condoned, but he is still a victim here and if the school stood by him in the beginning that stance shouldn't change now.
--- Villanova may be losing Scottie Reynolds and Reggie Redding, but they are plenty upbeat about their potential to win the Big East.