For one of the first times in a long time, I didn't really know what to say after UC's loss to West Virginia on Saturday.
After weekend of traveling to Morgantown and feeling a bit of the anticipation of the team, arriving at the stadium and suffering through the 37-10 loss, there weren't really words to describe what happened and how far from expected reality the game played out.
As Ben Guidugli told Bill Koch, "I don't really have words." Nobody did. Nor were they necessary. The game spoke for itself.
In what seems to be the phrase of the season in major Cincinnati area football this season, all you can do is go back to work. The Bearcats have a major project on their hands right now. They can still win three games in a row to become bowl eligibile and that's the new focus. Nobody's happy about it, but that's the new rally cry.
--- Jim Elliot in WV talks about Butch Jones sounding similar to Bill Stewart, as both have been under fire lately. It makes sense, they both are close and come from the the same train of thought when it comes to coaching football.
--- The bad news started early this weekend as the soccer team lost to Providence in their first ever Big East tournament semifinal game, 2-1. After falling behind early, they scored a goal to pull within one then saw another prime opportunity inside the box sail high in the final minute.
UC is on the bubble to get into the NCAA tournament and will find out their fate today at 4:30 p.m.
--- In case you didn't get a chance to Friday, I recommend you give a read to the story I was given the honor to write about goalkeeper Matt Williams. Great guy whose been through a lot.
--- Reading most of this stuff would be more likely to leave you looking for a McRib Sandwich to sink your sorrows into, and despite Mo Egger's rekindled love for the delicacy, I don't want to be an accessory to large intestine murder.
Plus, there is plenty of reason for optimism as the basketball team opens the season tonight against Mount St. Mary's.
--- In a game of interest to UC from both sides, Dayton beat MSM 67-52 on Friday. The Mount had some trouble hitting shots, knocking down just 30 percent and 3 of 19 from 3-point range.
MSM starts two freshman, including their leading scorer from the Dayton game, Marcus Norfleet.
--- UC will be heavily favored in each of the next four games before hosting Dayton at US Bank on Nov. 27. That game is shaping up to be a large contest in the frame of the non-conference picture.
Xavier is always tough, but injuries have taken some scare off their team. Oklahoma is a major opponent but they are in a rebuilding year.
Dayton won the NIT and beat UC handily to end last season. It will be the one chance for a win that will make the national landscape turn its head a little bit. Winning the rest of the games won't all be easy, particularly a trip into two MAC gyms (Millett Hall being one of the toughest Mid-Major homes in the country).
But, a win at Miami doesn't grab headlines. Honestly, Dayton doesn't either, but at least grabs a subhead.
This team will make its hay in the Big East conference schedule, but beating a team like Dayton could be a very helpful piece come March.
But enough about Dayton, tonight's about MSM.
--- The Mount finished last year 16-15 and lost to Robert Morris in the Northeast conference championship game just a week after beating them 63-61 to close the season.
--- The Voice Dan Hoard posted a blog on Yancy Gates. We've heard Mick Cronin talk about the progress he's been able to make with Gates this year because he doesn't have to coach effort.
Hoard witnessed it firsthand when attending some practices. Only time will tell if the work ethic of Gates will turn him into the player everyone inside the building believes he can be.
But, as Dan points out, all signs point to significant improvement. Now doing it consistently through every game will show he's turned the corner.
Dan also points out freshman Kelvin Gaines won't play and Cronin said there's a chance he may redshirt. That seems like a strong plan on a team that will already be running at least 10-deep.
--- A few Big East games of note this past weekend: Georgetown was down eight with 10 minutes to go against Old Dominion before coming back to win 62-59.
Plenty of adjustments being made after losing Greg Monroe. His passing and scoring ability defined their offense last season. Finding a new identity will take time.
Also, Seton Hall, who many like as a darkhorse to make a run into the upper echelon (many being this guy), lost to Temple 62-56. The Owls are a quality team, currently ranked 24th, but I'm still surprised the Hall didn't pull this one out.
--- Mick Cronin should be happy he didn't schedule Bucknell as a tune up. Because they already pushed Marquette and Villanova to the brink.
--- Congrats to the UC volleyball team for winning the outright Big East conference title. Stephanie Niemer deserves to be an All American and now this team has the No. 1 seed in the tournament.
--- How about some randomness....
As has been said in this space before, Kentucky is Ohio's Mexico. Only, I don't recall any Mexicans being forced to eat their own beards. What is wrong with people? I'm officially never leaving my car in Kentucky again.
--- SNL is awful and lazy. Arcade Fire is not. Since I assume you didn't watch SNL this weekend, here's the only five minutes that were tolerable.
-- As I saw good buddy C. Trent Rosecrans RT this weekend: Auburn football: Cheap on the field, expensive off it.
--- A perfume company is making a scent that smells like Lady Gaga. Does the smell mirror the affect of her music elicit an animal instinct to snap into the fetal position?
--- Duece Bello is headed to Baylor next season. If you rewind back eight years, his name would have been James White. Holy hops. How about through the legs, from two feet, in a game.
See everybody tonight at UC-MSM.