It's odd not planning for a basketball game right now. After the last stretch of six games in 17 days, the week off serves as a much-needed breather for the team. Although, they would probably say this week will be harder than any of the previous game weeks. On his radio show last night, Mick Cronin talked about getting his team back into the mindset of playing hard. He felt like they lost that and regressed in that department.
We'll see what a week of getting after it and running sprints does for the effort at Pitt on Saturday. But we have plenty of time to talk about that.
The good news about this week off is we can flip our attention to football for a few days. National Signing Day is tomorrow.
While I can't talk much about any of it in this space today because of school regulations, there will be plenty here Wednesday as the letters start flowing in. Coach Jones will speak to the media at 2 p.m. Follow me on Twitter (also, if you aren't following Tommy G on Twitter, tomorrow would be the perfect day to start) and check back here throughout the day for breakdown, analysis and plenty of quotes from the coach.
--- All of you will be obsessing over stars and recruit rankings this week, it's time to point out how inexact that science really is. I understand the excitement of seeing how many three and four-star recruits chose Cincinnati, but history shows -- particularly around here -- the best, most productive players came without much billing.
Brian Bennett took a look at some of the Big East production. First, his list of all the ESPN150 players currently in the conference. It's almost as hit and miss as throwing darts at a roster.
Ten of the 22 players were unranked by ESPN as a recruit -- including Zach Collaros and Armon Binns. Think about that. Almost half of the best players in the Big East weren't even on the radar on NSD. None were five stars, two were four stars (both from Pitt) and four earned three stars.
So, with a total of six of the 22 earning three or more stars, you have a better chance of landing an unranked player on the All Big East team than one with three or more stars.
If you look at numbers like those, then consider how poor UC's recruiting classes ranked the years leading up to Brian Kelly's incredible run, understand development means much more than recruitment when it comes to winning in the Big East.
--- Let's turn the spotlight inward even more. Recruiting classes are judged four years down the road. Let's take a look at UC's 2007 recruiting class and see how the rankings stack up to production.
ESPN judged 11 of the 22 members of that class worth ranking. The positions are as they were listed coming out of high school. As you'll notice many have since moved.
Here's the list
Pos Player ESPN rank Rivals stars Scout stars
TE Adrien Robinson 77 3 3 (No. 25 TE)
LB Ricardo Thompson 74 2 3 (No. 44 OLB)
DT Frank Becker 73 2 2
TE John Hughes 73 2 2
OT Craig Parmenter 69 2 2
QB Chazz Anderson 69 3 2
QB Bryant Thomas 69 2 2
DE Randy Martinez 67 2 3 (No. 48 OLB)
WR Orion Woodard 67 3 2
DT Rob Trigg 66 2 2
OT Sam Griffin 62 2 2
WR Armon Binns 40 2 2
QB Zach Collaros 40 3 2
LB Alex Delisi 40 2 2
DT TJ Franklin 40 2 2
WR Drew Frey 40 2 2
WR Tomaz Hilton 40 3 2
OT Alex Hoffman 40 2 2
RB Scott Johnson 40 2 2
OT Blake McCroskey 40 2 2
ATH Tahree McQueen 40 2 2
RB Montez Patterson 40 2 2
QB Deon Reed 40 2 2
Taking a look at who at least two of these "experts" thought would be head of this class, the top producers were supposed to be Adrien Robinson, Ricardo Thompson, Randy Martinez, OJ Woodard.
As far as the players who have developed into the head of the 2007 class, you had to start with Collaros. He was unranked as a QB, but Rivals saw at least as small spark in him, giving him a third star.
Binns was universally dismissed by all three. Nobody needs a reminder of his career.
OT Sam Griffin developed into the premier offensive lineman of the class and one of the keys for the Bearcats offense.
Drew Frey came to UC as an under-the-radar. He's since moved to safety and become the centerpiece of the defensive secondary.
Adrien Robinson entered as the highlighted prospect and hasn't necessarily disappointed, but stuck behind Ben Guidugli his entire career.
A number of other players who came with little to no hype have contributed for the Bearcats.
The point of this is not to spotlight successes and failures. Nobody on that list should really be viewed as one or the other. The point of this is prove how subjective and unscientific these rating systems are. They shouldn't have been judged by the numbers next to their names in the first place. Tomorrow, the players that have you jumping for joy and telling everyone about their multi-star rating may become half the player some of the lesser known, unranked recruits do.
Enjoy NSD for the celebration of college football and the hard work of the coaching staff. Learn about all the new players on the team. But don't begin to judge any of them because they are ranked at the top of the class with x-number of stars or the unranked and unnoticed at the bottom. It rarely predicates success. The numbers don't lie.
--- Back to basketball, despite the loss to WVU, the Bearcats are still an NCAA tournament team. The basketball matrix with all the bracketology predictions you can imagine have only one analyst keeping UC out. Their average seed is an 8. As for Joey Brackets at ESPN, he has UC as a 9 seed right now.
--- Gary Parrish: "The Big East conference -- where everybody loses."
--- Interesting thoughts (as always) from Ken Pomeroy on the process the selection committee uses.
--- The Big East is 6-1 in non-conference games against Top 10 teams. Just thought you should know.
--- On to some randomness...
--- I don't want advertising on my jerseys, though I understand how some people might think NFL soccer jerseys are cool.
--- Blake Griffin averaged 26 and 13 in January. There's no way he should have to campaign anybody for All-Star Game inclusion.
--- Media Day is such a joke. Ines Sainz will probably field more questions today than Antonio Brown.
--- Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric want to know what the Internet is in 1994. I'm sure plenty of people had conversations like this that year, but it really cracks me up coming from these two.