We are officially under a month until Fresno State and mere days away from the first practice. We are almost there.
And if the timetable doesn't have you ready to go, this sneak preview of the Bearcats videoboard open will, via Tommy G. Note: Pat Summerall in the house.
--- The Big East is "as strong as ever," as Bill Koch relays through commissioner John Marinatto in the Cincinnati Enquirer.
USA Today also takes a look at Big East stability.
The conference's 16-6 record in bowl games over the past four years certainly is a statistic to stand behind, but considering the unknowns still lingering over future expansion and the struggle the conference endured competing at the BCS Bowl level, I wouldn't say its stronger than in the days of Miami, VT and BC when the Big East was winning championships.
And to say it is as strong top to bottom as any in the country would be an unnecessary compliment to Syracuse and Louisville. Those two programs are a combined 24-48 overall -- good for 33 percent win percentage -- the past three years.
And they are 25 percent of your league right now.
Let's not even leave this region and compare the bottom 25 percent of the Big Ten over the past three years. That would be Indiana, Illinois and Minnesota. They were a combined 45-66 over that time for a 45 percent win percentage. Keep in mind, in that time span, Illinois had a second place finish and Minnesota played in two bowl games.
I'm not saying the Big East doesn't deserve respect or recognition, but let's be real.
--- Dave Hickman of the West Virginia Gazette points out that, even if the Big East is as strong as it has ever been, it's all relative. The Titanic plays a significant role in his analogy. Thankfully, Celine Dion does not.
--- AOL Fanhouse's Brian Grummell takes a look at Butch Jones and compares him to the early years of Pete Carroll. Not sure how fair it is to compare the two considering the difference in recruits the two could pull in, but Jones certainly has made a focus to create a family atmosphere as Carroll did.
--- Dr. Saturday takes a harsh look at the Bearcats this season. He's relatively uninformed, but this is likely a good view of what the national perception of the Bearcats is right now. For whatever that's worth.
--- The USA Today Top 25 poll will be released on Friday. I hate that this actually matters, but as any team that finished behind another at the end of the season because they were ranked lower preseason can tell you, it means something.
--- American Eagle is the new sponsor of the Big East basketball tournament. Mo Egger predicts all the teams will be forced to play with popped collars. My guess would be cargo basketball shorts.
--- The UC track and field team is smart. They were both named to the national academic teams yesterday. Here's the nuts and bolts from UC athletics:
On Monday, Aug. 2, the University of Cincinnati men's track & field team was one of 73 teams to earn All-Academic Team distinction from the United States Track & Field/Cross Country Coaches Association and the Bearcats made a clean sweep of the award when the women's team was one of 151 teams selected to the same honor from the USTFCCCA on Wednesday.
The men's team was one of four BIG EAST Conference schools to earn the honor, joining DePaul, Rutgers, and Louisville. The Big East led all conferences on the women's side as 12 members notched All-Academic status, including DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Rutgers, St. John's, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, USF, Villanova, and West Virginia.
The Bearcats were also one of 68 institutions to have both their men's and women's squads named to the All-Academic Team. UC's men's and women's programs also earned the honor in 2009.
--- UC Volleyball's Reed Sunahara is coaching with the US National Team in Poland and they will be opening play against the Dominican Republic tomorrow. Reed has been kind enough to blog it up during the trip. Here is entry No. 2.
--- Steve Toyloy got picked up to play basketball in Turkey. I know very little about Turkey except Hedo Turkoglu is from there and they have some pretty nasty prisons.
It's a nice move for Toyloy though, who will undoubtedly continue to push people around in the paint over there.
--- That's all for today and if you didn't check it out already, I posted up the latest position analysis yesterday, this time breaking down the offensive line with O-Line coach Don Mahoney.