A lot to get to today, so we'll get right to Breakfast....
--- Plenty of expansion talk still circulating. And I don't expect the rumors to stop until the teams are officially announced. Brian Bennett is all over it with coverage on his blog. He links to College Football Live discussing the issue here and answers five burning questions here and Andrea Adelson talks about the benefits of joining the Big East for UCF and TCU here and he links to a poll a SportsNation poll on Big East expansion here.
--- Andy Staples is still pounding the pavement on Notre Dame to the Big East. I just don't see it happening. Notre Dame either stays independent or joins the Big Ten.
--- The UC volleyball team has won 39 consecutive matches at Fifth Third Arena. The senior class of Annie Fesl, Julier Guenther, Stephanie Niemer and Lindsay Upton haven't lost there since Oct. 2007.
--- I am not normally a ticket saleman on here, that's not my role. But I can't help but comment on the great deal right now on season ticket packages. For $166 you can be at every game. It breaks down to less than $9 a game to see UC and Big East basketball.
I know not everybody is a hoops junkie like I am, but you won't find many deals better bang for your buck across college hoops.
--- Tommy G and the folks at Bearcats Sports Weekly put together this behind the scenes gameday package following Butch Jones against USF. Good stuff.
--- Mayor Mark Mallory showed up at football practice yesterday and awarded the team with the City of Cincinnati flag -- I still can't believe I didn't know we had one of those.
--- South Florida and Rutgers put on a show last night. Sort of in the same way the Deer Park Community Acting Troupe puts on a show when it performs Rent, but a show nonetheless.
Oh yeah, the Bulls won 28-27.
--- Brian Grummell offers his weekly Big East Report at AOL Fanhouse. It continues the national Orange lovefest. The national media sure appears happy to see Syracuse back as a contender for a group that loved using them as a punchline the last 10 years.
--- Are you a nerd? Do you love basketball? Have you ever calculated the tip for a server using the Sine button on a caluclator? Then you will love Ken Pomeroy's latest blog on how the preseason poll is actually the most accurate poll of the season. And many other concerningly in-depth statistical analysis.
--- Gary Parrish at CBS offered up his predictions of the Big East. He has the Bearcats at No. 11 and on the outside looking in at the NCAA tournament. He also has Yancy Gates on the second team and Mick Cronin on the hot seat.
As I've been saying all year, though, this conference is as wide open among the 5-14 as it has ever been since expansion. Almost all of the middle of the road teams are interchangeable.
He's also a lot higher on Marquette than I would be. The ruthless nature of Lazar Hayward in the final minutes of games last year can't be overlooked. Then add in a freshman taking on a huge offensive role (sound familiar) and growing pains are almost certainly in their future.
--- It was good to see Mike DeCourcey at the Bearcats exhibition game on Monday, but I imagine his reception wouldn't be as friendly at DePaul and Marquette where he wrote about their inclusion in the Big East expansion being a serious conference regret right now.
They might not like what they hear, but Mike is right on.
--- Interesting read on the Wild Wild West of preseason hoops scrimmages from the San Diego Union-Tribune. Trying to find a serious barometer of where their teams are are, major programs are playing these super-secret, super-scrimmages to prepare for the season.
It's a great idea for a team if you are willing to lose an exhibition game gate.
--- Some randomness...
-- When you are in a Bear suit, the sky is the limit.
-- Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer is one of the greatest rock anthems of all time. Every time it comes on in a public setting, people love to sing it.
Not as much as this guy. Epic.