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Bearcats Breakfast 8.18.11

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You know, I like to think about this blog as being more than just a blog, rather a lifestyle. You check it everyday, you become concerningly interested in male facial hair, quoting obscure statistical analysis and reeling off Pearl Jam trivia.

And, in honor of power ballads week, I thought this would be the most appropriate representative of the blog.

Yep, More than Words by Extreme. Enjoy.



Let's eat....

--- With an off day for the Bearcats on Wednesday and not a ton of new fodder, I made a concerning move. I got to thinking.

This offensive line and its general lack of experience seem to be the only aspect holding people back from believing UC can develop into one of the top attacks in the country. Who knows? Sean Hooey, Austen Bujnoch/Andre Cureton and Evan Davis may turn into three of the best linemen to come out of UC. They could fall on their face. We have few real snaps to push us in either direction.

Productive offensive lines can be pinned to some of the most dominant teams in college football. But how have some of the offensive lines with the most returning starters done in predicting actual success in the Big East?

Any Bearcats fan can look back at the 2009 team and realize how talented they were and now, in retrospect, that fans may have underrated their ability. Think about it, LT Jeff Linkenbach has become a starter in Indianapolis almost instantly, then LG Jason Kelce is pushing to start as a rookie at center. Chris Jurek was a returning, experienced center and Alex Hoffman was young, but one of the most intelligent, focused leaders of the this year's unit.

Of course, UC went on to an undefeated regular season and the Sugar Bowl.

But lets take a look around the conference the last few years and see how the teams finished offensively compared to their offensive line projections. I'll use the subjective list of Brian Bennett's O-line predictions from each year and sprinkle in the number of returning starters.

2009
OL Projections               Total Offense Finish

1. Rutgers (5/5)                1. UC
2. Pitt (4/5)                      2. Pitt
3. UC (3/5)                       3. UConn
4. UConn (3/5)                 4. WVU
5. WVU (1/5)                   5. USF
6. USF (1/5)                    6. Louisville
7. Louisville (1/5)              7. Syracuse
8. Syracuse (3/5)             8. Rutgers

--- In this case, the offensive line made the offense almost exactly. With one striking, remarkable exception. Rutgers, which Bennett referred to as a no-brainer No. 1 in his preseason unit rankings, finished dead last in total offense in the conference that season.

You can trace it back to starting freshman QB Tom Savage as a big reason for the struggles, but the dramatic drop to the cellar of the offensive rankings with the top o-line in the conference is rather mind-boggling.

Outside of Rutgers, though, Pitt, UC and UConn all had talented groups with more than half returning and ended up in the top three offensively. USF, Louisville and Syracuse were all ranked in the bottom three and finished in the bottom half offensively.

2010 Project            2010 Total Offense Finish

1. UConn (3/5)          1. UC
2. UC (3/5)               2. WVU
3. WVU (4/5)            3. Louisville
4. Pitt (2/5)               4. Pitt
5. USF (4/5)             5. UConn
6. Louisville (4/5)       6. Syracuse
7. Syracuse (1/5)      7. USF
8. Rutgers (1/5)         8. Rutgers

--- UConn finished No. 5 in the league in total offense, however, did ride their O-line and RB Jordan Todman to a conference championship. Outside of that, UC and WVU were also in the top three and finished one and two in total offense, respectively.

Again, there were some exceptions to the rule, with USF and its four returning starters falling to No. 7, much due to the inconsistencies of B.J. Daniels.

For the most part, the projections and returning starters of the offensive line have proven to be a strong predictor of how a team will perform offensively. Anomalies like Rutgers in 2009 keep you guessing, but for the most part winning in the trenches still determines winning on the scoreboard even in the pass-happy, skill-player bonanza of the new college football landscape.

--- For the record, Andrea Adelson posted her O-line rankings for this year, with UC coming in at No. 6. Depth was the obvious concern.

--- Moving on, Bill Koch was able to catch up with Jason Maxiell after the announcement of his induction into the UC HOF.

--- I'm definitely behind on this from Monday, but Jon Rothstein put out his preseason predictions for the Big East basketball season. He placed UC No. 6 and Sean Kilpatrick as the top breakout player.

I would agree with Rothstein that SK will be a breakout player, but argue with his definition of breakout. Wouldn't you say SK broke out last year? The guy finished tops on UC for points/40min and was 10th in the Big East in the category.

His limited minutes would maybe cast him into the breakout category nationally, so I give the always solid Rothstein the benefit of the doubt, but most UC fans would probably already see SK as broken out.

--- It should also be noted Rothstein posted this tweet two days ago:

"Several BE assistants told me in the last week the team that could jump into the top quarter of the league is Cincinnati."

--- Apparently an anti-American sentiment was directed at the Georgetown Hoyas basketball team in China. JTIII had to pull his team off the court as bedlam erupted in the gym.

I blame Joe Biden.

--- Some randomness...

--- You would have thought
TJ Maxx would have given this deal to Louie Anderson decades ago.

--- Here's the Top 25 unscripted moments in movie history. Pretty cool. I had no idea "Are you talkin' to me" was off the top of DeNiro's head.

--- Marty McFly and Doc Brown
did not meet through inappropriate circumstances and I'm appalled that you sick people would think so. 

--- UC back to
practice today and I'll be heading out there Friday, so look for plenty more on the blog and, of course, all over GoBearcats.com.

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