We have UC media luncheon and practice in-between avoiding possible tornadoes toady, so we'll just get right to it.
--- Scott Springer takes a closer look at Syracuse and then delves into the mystery that is the Big East.
At this point, as poorly as we have seen every team play in this conference at one point or another, I am pretty sure everyone is going to finish 4-3 or 3-4 with infinite tiebreakers making the decision and it eventually coming down to a beauty pageant between cheerleading squads.
Pittsburgh, now 2-0 in Big East play, seems to have asserted itself early on. They host Louisville. Knowing this league and what we've seen so far from both teams, that really feels like an upset win for the Cards.
--- Syracuse was supposed to be the perfect Homecoming opponent. Now, not so much.
--- Brian Bennett takes a national perspective look on how life has changed at UC and Syracuse from one year to the next.
He uses a good amount of stuff from Butch Jones' Monday teleconference and Brian's piece certainly rings true, the mood and expectations have most definitely changed around both UC and Syracuse.
--- The knee-jerk reaction surrounding football programs from week to week drives me crazy. Cincinnati is nowhere near the level of fan bases at some SEC schools like Florida, who experience a down year and rumors start floating about firing Urban Meyer and his two national titles. But this game and in particular the reactionary nature of fans and media becomes a bit much.
Let's look at UC.
Granted, you can look back at the non-conference slate and see a team that didn't fulfill expecations. You also saw a team that once it found some footiing nearly knocked off Oklahoma, who spent a week as No. 1 in the country. You saw a team then roll off two impressive wins which turned around the mood and expectations. This season was all about Big East play, UC was putting it together, the birds were chirping and the sun was shining.
But now, one game later, the gargoyles returned. The ship is sinking again.
UC didn't play well. Certainly not well enough to win. The youngest defense in college football suffered a growing pain.
But this season will be judged by the overall performance during conference play. If one poor game last week overflows into another loss against Syracuse, it may be time to GPS the location of the panic button.
Should West Virginia suddenly start tearing down its program to shreds because Syracuse went into Morgantown and won? Should a giant statue of a mustache be built in front of Heinz Field to honor Dave Wannstedt for his 2-0 BE start? (Actually, yes, snapping a photo in front of a mustache photo would become a sole reason to visit Pittsburgh -- but not the point)
The conference season, particularly this year in the Big East will be a battle of attrition. Teams who keep loses from becoming losing streaks will end up on top. That's the way it will work this season. (An embarrassment as big as being the first Big six conference in the BCS era not to have anyone in any of the three major polls, but a reality)
There are problems that need to be fixed with UC, however, some of those regarding discipline, blown coverages and dropped passes -- which were the biggest reason for the loss -- were not recently an issue to the extent they were Friday night. Maybe call me a homer, but I view the season through a broader lens then one disappointing game and try to see the big picture. It's one of a Big East schedule still wide open where the Bearcats actually control their own destiny.
I'm sure if the Bearcats win big against Syracuse, the knee-jerk will snap the other way and heap too much praise onto the progress of the program. Such is the state of fanhood and perception in college football these days.
--- Uh, sorry about that diatribe, these things just happen. It's like a Facebook Flash Mob, you never know where, you never know when, but when it does, it's impossible to control.
--- Gary Parrish talks about the possible elimination of the summer recruiting season for college basketball. The move could be a major problem for a school like UC which can't right now live of its name and resume, but rather needs to be in the face, selling the product to the players they desire.
--- David Steele at AOL Fanhouse wondered if the Big East is too big for basketball success. He points out that since expansion, no BE team has won the national title. That came in 2004 with UConn -- though four teams have made the Final Four.
Pitt's Jamie Dixon, when he's not busy saving lives, believes the depth and rigorous conference slate of the regular season does wear teams down. It could have been a reason for some of the BE struggles in the NCAAs last year.
Regardless, interesting read from Steele.
--- How about some randomness....
--- Paul was a sports legend. He was revolutionary. He was perfect. He had eight limbs. He will be missed.
--- Back to the Future reunited recently. Michael J. Fox is still looking for a real hoverboard. I am still looking for a better line to break the tension during a possible fight than, "Get your damn hands off of her."
--- Lots of talk of Halloween costumes, I love Baby Birdman.
Of course, I look back lovingly on the days of Baby Mangino.
Those will all pale in quantity to my folks at the Jersey Shore. Who, even as a fan, I can admit their 15 minutes are up.
--- Nike marketing is the best there is in sports...