--- UC 49, Akron 0. Halftime. That's all you really need to know about this one. UC showed no mercy in disposing of the Zips and capitalized on Akron's mistakes.
For the record, no Big East team has had three defensive scores in a game since Miami in 2000.
Also for the record, UC now leads the country in turnover margin at +12. Think about that. The team that finished last season 119th out of 120 and giving up more than a turnover per game is averaging +4 per contest. Remarkable turnaround.
Granted, we'll see how it holds up as the competition level increases, but the offseason of focusing on holding onto the ball appears to have paid off.
UC is one of nine teams nationally with only one turnover.
Protecting the football has been stressed by the coaching staff since their arrival, but nothing quite drills a point home like an offseason of realizing turnovers probably cost you 2-3 wins.
"It's a great sign," Butch Jones said. "It's been a point of emphasis -- even last year it was a point of emphasis. We are just doing a much better job."
--- Here are game highlights with behind-the-scenes footage from Coach Butch Jones site.
--- I wrote a story about the defense and how Saturday was about moving forward, forgetting Tennessee and changing the story a bit. Beating the Zippy out of Akron won't make people believe the 2011 Bearcats are the 85 Bears, but the opportunistic effort goes a long way to restoring some broken confidence.
Also, the return of postgame video. I hope to bring this to you from most every game I cover this year. I talked with Derek Wolfe (posted atop Saturday column) and had a few minutes with Cam Cheatham as well.
--- Thought Wolfe made a good point about one of the problems at Tennessee and what the team needed to correct going forward.
"Tennessee, they came out with a completely
different gameplan than we thought we were going to see. I don't think we did a
very good job of handling that. That's something we worked on this week. You
got to be able to handle it, if they are not running what you think they should
be running, excuse my language but, tough (hooey)."
Wolfe went on to talk about learning from the Vols game in terms of his need to work on his defense of the play-action pass. It worked out with Wolfe's biggest plays coming against play action.
--- Quick turnaround this week. UC jumped straight into game prep on Sunday for the Thursday night game against NC State.
State beat up on South Alabama, who was 2-0 entering the contest, 35-13 on Saturday.
Mike Glennon continues to make Wolfpack fans forget about Russell Wilson as he went 17 of 20 and threw for 274 yards and four touchdowns without an interception.
On the season, Glennon has eight TDs to one interception and 745 yards in three games.
You could just see the excitement in the players I talked to after the game Saturday, this will be a fun experience. Jones put it best on getting up for Thursday:
"If you can't (get up for it), you better check your pulse," he said. "Thursday night, ESPN, primetime, Nippert Stadium. It doesn't get any better than that."
Nope, if you are a UC fan, it really doesn't.
I always love the Thursday night game because you own the stage. Nobody else is playing, nothing else is going on. You are the sole focus. Thursday will be a great public relations evening for UC and the city.
--- More gold nuggets from Wolfe, this time on his excitement about playing NC State:
"It's been in the back of my head since the game ended last year. They talked a lot of trash and said a lot of things. We are just going to come out here and get the job done."
--- Scott Springer calls the NC State game the most pivotal in the Butch Jones era. Discuss.
--- It's a Blackout. So wear black. And be one of the first 10k fans at The Nipp and receive this bad ass poster.
--- Since nobody wants to talk about the Akron game or even Thursday's ESPN3D game against NC State, let's jump headfirst into the big news of the weekend.
Anybody who reads this blog regularly knows I have been talking about this for months. Though, I can't say I specifically saw Pitt and Syracuse being the ones to deliver the death blow (When someone tries to blow you up, not because of who you are but because of different reasons altogether!).
Let's start with what happens next. All you need to know about West Virginia is their president Oliver Luck offered a 62-word response to the conference realignment rumors and didn't mention the Big East once. Not one time. They are gone.
SEC? Probably. But definitely gone.
UConn wants to follow Pitt and Syracuse.
Rutgers is flaunting itself to possible suitors.
We've officially reached every-man-for-himself mode. This is the point where the Titanic starts to flip vertically and the women and children first mantra slides away with the deck chairs.
The moves are rooted in greed and hypocrisy. How you ask? Read Dana O'Neil's latest genius, as she writes the definitive piece on the ugly destruction of the Big East.
--- Dennis Dodd at CBSsports.com had this great piece on the dirty backstabbing of college athletics right now.
--- Gene Wojciechowski calls this Darwinian times: Survival of the Fittest.
--- As for UC, President Greg Williams is pledging the Bearcats commitment to the Big East. Here are his comments to Bill Koch on Saturday.
--- The next big chip to fall will be the decision of Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State. Once they make their move (moving to the Pac-[xx] appears likely) we will see pieces fall around them. Those moves are expected to be set in motion today and be finalized within the next two weeks. Here is the down-low on all you need to know there.
--- The Bearcats are very closely tied in with Louisville. Very similar situations. Thought Rick Pitino's candid blog discussing the urgency of the moment was interesting.
--- Where does all this leave UC? That's a good question. Many schools are asking the same question about themselves. The bottom line is in the 16-team superconference model, few spots exist. And I'm still unconvinced the Big Ten ever buys into that model.
Speculation insists the leftovers of the Big 12 and Big East would form a fifth conference. At that point, they can only hope to stay a part of the national championship AQ football model. Though, nobody seems to be discussing how the postseason will be affected right now.
Yet, if there is one thing we should have learned it's you never know what to expect next and you aren't surprised by anything. Stay tuned.
--- Some randomness....
--- Blog favs Modern Family, Friday Night Lights and The Daily Show all won Emmys last night. FNL should have had more, starting with Connie Britton for best supporting actress, but I am ridiculously biased. Here's the complete list.
--- I have a problem with Francisco Cordero jacking Mo Rivera's Enter Sandman. He probably should read this guide to closer's entrance music.
--- Can we please stop talking about Floyd Mayweather. Everything the guys says or does means nothing until he stops ducking Manny Pacquiao.
--- After the events of this weekend and recently around college sports, only one song seems fitting. Plus, I can mention that blog favorite Phish played a show a few weeks ago where each of the 26 songs started with the letter S. You know how deep your catalog has to go for that?
Anyway, one of them was a cover of the Beastie Boys' Sabotage.