Bearcats Breakfast 10.15.10

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Battle for the Keg of Nails Rivalry Page

Happy Game Day, everyone. This will be my first trip to the Pizza Palace in Louisville and I'm pretty excited to check out the place and take in what I am told should be a pretty raucous enviornment.

Of course, it won't take much to top the other road trip I took to Fresno. That has become the new bottom rung when people tell me about how terrible some stadium press boxes and facilities are.

The unmarked elevator I thought would either take me to press level or 1985 still haunts my dreams.

But, I hopefully will be in a much more cheerful mood than I was that night tonight when I open up the live chat at 7 p.m.

Tha'ts right, the LIVE CHAT will open at 7 p.m. tonight and run throughout the duration of the game. So, feel free to show up early with any questions, comments, suggestions, favorite Kragethorpe memories you would like to share. I will be there to give you live updates and any insight you are seeking.

And of course, you are more than welcome to come mix it up with me and other commenters as the game goes on.

Hope to see you there, just pop over to this blog and join in as you watch on ESPN2. Your announcers are Joe Tessitore (unfortunately without Teddy Atlas) and Rod Gilmore.

Let's eat....

--- For those interested in national perception and NOT FOR GAMBLING PURPOSES, the Bearcats are three-point favorites tonight at Louisville.

Both opened the season with new coaching staffs and both teams find themselves in similar spots tonight, but with different feelings about their path to get there. The Cards overachieved in non-conference by competing against Kentucky and Oregon State, but running up some sluggish wins against Arkansas State and Eastern Kentucky before really putting it together last week against Memphis.

UC turned it on with the well-played loss to Oklahoma and dominance of MIami (Ohio). However, with so much higher expectations here, the road to the Big East was viewed differently among the base.

But, playing at top level, UC owns a talent advantage right now over U of L.   

When asked if it was easier to take over a program coming off down years where everybody hated the coach, opposed to great years where everybody loved the coach (on the field, anyway), Jones wouldn't concede either way, but admitted there are advantages and disadvantages to each.

"It's a balancing act," he said. "The advantage of coming into a program that's won is players expect to win. They have that experience. But a lot of times when you look at a program that's's what have the younger players done in your program? Sometimes it's they landed on third base without every getting up to bat and hitting a triple. They just think all this is easy, we just win and forget the hard work and all the effort that goes into it in practice.

"When sometimes you maybe go into a program that doesn't have a lot of expectations, you have a lot of players that are driven because they are hungry because they have never experienced it. They are going to maybe drink the Kool-Aid a little bit faster. Tell me what we need to do to win. I think you see that in Louisville. I think they're hungry."

If Louisville were to find a way to win, there will be a whole lot of Kool-Aid drunk on 6th St.

--- We haven't heard much from Ben Guidugli this season -- partially due to injury and partially due to the lacking offensive line early on -- but this would be a fantastic game to see him break out.

As Bill Koch pointed out in his blog, U of L is a special game for the Highlands product who wasn't offered by the Cards.

--- UC owns a 12-game conference winning streak, and Koch talks about what that means to the team, but they haven't been easy and the last time UC went to Louisville toward the beginning of the streak, it wasn't either.

The Bearcats won 28-20, but trailed in the second half, 20-14, in a heavy downpour before coming back to win. John Goebel scored a TD late to build the lead to eight and a stand on fourth-and-1 ended it. (That said, I would like to request Goebel for tonight's postgame) 

Here's the highlights:


--- Brian Bennett did a Q and A with D.J. Woods, who enjoyed a nice bounce-back game after the two-fumble game against Oklahoma.

He scored his first rushing TD to add to his team-high total of 5 touchdowns on the year.

He leads the Big East with 5.8 catches and 97.8 yards a game.

--- BearcatLair says Armon Binns' practice habits helped turn his season around.

--- West Virginia asserted itself as the conference favorite last night. The convincing 20-6 win proved the Mountaineers are the most well-rounded team in the BE right now and USF has maybe the most disappointing offense in college football. They look lost.

--- Rivals hands out midseason awards and Louisville took the honor of biggest surprise and coach of the year. I am sure Bearcats fans, players, coaches and staff are devastated they went unrecognized. The Rivals Midseason Awards are the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards of college football. But not even the good BEAs, the one given away before the ceremony on the "Red Carpet" the features Fran Drescher, Mark Ruffalo and the cast of According to Jim.  

--- The Voice of the Bearcats put together some notes on UC, including some deserved offensive line praise. Dan Hoard also pointed out Mick Cronin stating his belief Yancy Gates will be All-Big East this season. Very well could happen.   

--- Paul Daugherty weighs in on UC and its decision to stick with Mick Cronin. I've talked about this a number of times tbrough different outlets so I won't do it again here, but they have made the right call. The numbers across the Big East insist they have made the right call.

And this year, for progress to continue, the NCAA tournament needs to happen.

As they would say in A Few Good Men, "These are the facts of the case, and they are undisputed." 

--- One sentence I loved in Bill Koch's Q and A with Mick Cronin in today's Enquirer was this, when asked if this year is make-or-break, Cronin responded: "Every year is make-or-break year in coaching. In my third year, what would have happened if we'd won eight games?"

The stakes are higher and the expectation level raised, but the pressure to meet said expectations sits only shades stronger for Cronin this year compared to last year.

--- Dickie V (who I love, feel free to tell me what an idiot I am) put out his top 40 for the preseason. Seven Big East teams made the cut. UC did not. Surprisingly, Louisville did. Of course, Rick Pitino has always been a Dickie V favorite.

--- UC photog Brett Hansbauer posted some of the goofy outtakes from his session taking individual player photos this week. It includes an appearance from photogenic SID Mike Harris showing off the enthusiastic postgame handshake.  

--- Oh, by the way, season tickets are on sale now.  

--- Remember to check back here before and during the game tonight for the Live Chat and the best Kragthorpe joke will win an underwhelming prize from me.

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