There likely will be a lot of talking about how tasty the lobster was while people poke and prod the Big East coaches and players today in Newport. I will hold in my jealousy. I ate some Cheez-Its last night. They were delicious. I will not apologize for that.
I really do wish I was in Newport, not necessarily to hear what the commissioner or coaches have to say, but talking one-on-one with the stars of each team provides great insight into the leadership and that can go a long way to deciding how far each team will go.
My favorite media days story came from the SEC Media Days two years ago when Florida was fresh off a title and brought Urban Meyer, the hottest coach in the country, Tim Tebow, fresh off a Heisman and circumcision tour, and....OT Phil Trautwein. My immediate thought was, poor Phil Trautwein. So, with over 750 media members there prepared to ask Tebow how hard it is to be sooo great, I aimed to write a column on Mr. Trautwein, the other guy. The standard for every team at the event is for the coach to walk up to a podium, speak and then the two or three players would come in and sit at auxilary tables and field questions.
Well, since Tebow aura would snap a table without certain sturdiness standards, he was the only player ushered up onto the coaches podium for the player session.
I immediately headed for the back corners to find Phil. He was nowhere to be found. So, I went out into the halls and nobody was there. I began to ask around, but everyone had already been sucked into the Tebow healing force and were powerless in responding to mortals. After five more minutes of searching the halls, I concluded Phil must not have made the trip as scheduled.
Later on, a Florida student newspaper writer hears me talking about Phil and says, he actually found him. They placed him in a room on the other side of the hotel lobby where they stored the media guides. Seriously. He said he was the only person who found him there. Just sitting on a stool, reading a media guide, wondering where the reporters were. Just another vicitim caught up in the Tebow undertoe.
I would link to the column, but my old newspaper in Georgia is still figuring out how this "Internet thing" works and has no archiving system.
Side story: At the same media days, a fellow writer and myself were exiting an elevator in a hurry to grab some food and Tommy Tuberville was walking in, he says, 'hey guys,' and in our haste we walked right past him. Snubbed him. It prompted a term I still use to this day. Snubberville.
OK, I'm done...and you probably skimmed to this part of the post anyway, so let's move on....
--- The media poll was released this morning and UC and WVU came in a tie for second behind Pitt. UC didn't garner a first-place vote. Nothing new there, though, the past two seasons the Bearcats started further down than this and came away the champs.
Rank Team Pts.
1. Pittsburgh (22) 190
2. Cincinnati 142
West Virginia (1) 142
4. Connecticut (1) 131
5. Rutgers 99
6. USF 79
7. Syracuse 41
8. Louisville 40
I showed my ballot a few weeks back and am proud to say I nearly nailed it. The only difference was I flopped Rutgers and USF and of course didn't have UC and WVU as a tie.
All of this, of course, means absolutely nothing.
--- While I am not in Newport, Brian Bennett is, so we are covered. He has a video interview with Zach Collaros. Hard to imagine a much better representative of UC. You can almost see the joy coming out of his face when Brian mentions the critics picking UC in the 40s nationally. This may be the best thing to come out of the offseason. You can't beat a team with a chip on its shoulder -- as we learned the last two years.
--- Bennett also talks with Armon Binns. More good stuff.
--- A rumor was floated that Memphis is going to join the Big East. Worse things could happen -- especially for UC fans. The Memphis-UC rivalry from the Great Midwest days was one of the more enjoyable around. The Tigers have a dominant fan base in West Tennessee. And, it would mean a trip to Beale St. every other year. Sign me up.
--- From the "Things You Should Already Know If You Were Reading This Blog Every Day LIke I Told You To" department. The Bearcats WRs are good. National Football Post ranks them at the top of the Big East.
--- A scary team in the Big East this year for basketball will be St. John's. And Steve Lavin is a big reason why as Brett McMurphy points out in this good read at AOL Fanhouse.
--- I linked yesterday to a UC video where the team talks about being in great shape. In related news, Albert Haynesworth isn't. However, Sports Pickle found a test that Haynesworth did pass.
--- My alma mater at Ohio U. was ranked the No. 2 party school in the country. Just thinking about roll I played in building that reputation back in the day makes me wipe my tears with a now slightly less valuable diploma.
--- If you are like me, your farmer's tan colors to a distinct line as we reach the back end of the summer. Granted, it looks a little ridiculous, but it keeps my shirt on, and that makes everybody better.
But it definitely doesn't look as ridiculous as these sunburns. .