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Bearcats Breakfast 9.2.11

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One day. Just one more day. (Few things are as fun as watching Isaiah Pead highlights)

Watching college football last night sure won't help the next day and a half go by any faster. Winning in the non-conference will be imperative for the Big East to recapture credibility lost during last year's disappointing national slate.

So far, so good. Sort of. Yes, the Big East did go 3-0. However, upon closer look it wasn't exactly the confidence-inducing openers either Louisville or Syracuse hoped for. Andrea Adelson looked at the pro/con dichotomy of all three games.

The Cards beat Murray State, 21-9, but floundered after a quick 21-0 start. Syracuse, likely due to the inherent pressure in knowing Tom Gelehrter and Dan Hoard were locked in on their 15-point, second-half deficit, turned on a remarkable comeback and OT touchdown to sneak past Wake Forest.

For now, a win is a win for the Big East, especially when the truly important games will come in the next few weeks: UC@Tennessee, ND@Pittsburgh, Rutgers@UNC, Cuse@USC, USF@ND and LSU@WVU.

Splitting those six would go a long way to reminding everyone the Big East owns the second-best non-con record since 2006.

Still, for now, hard to argue with 3-0. However, none of you care about those teams right now. You care about Saturday, 7 p.m. at The Nipp and, more precisely, 2 p.m. at The Grid.

So, let's eat...

--- Austin Peay went
2-9 last season and made a trip to Wisconsin where the No. 11 Badgers toasted the Governors, 70-3. They looked like a team that had never played in a hostile BCS environment before. That's because they were.

In fact, coupled with a game two weeks prior against Middle Tennessee State, it was their first games against ANY FBS school since 2002 against Troy.

Of course, you can find out all this information at LetsGoPeay.com, the school's official athletics web site. You have to love the way they embrace the juvenile nature of the school name. You don't often see a self-deprecating marketing campaign. Well played, Govs.

Peay will show up with two tight ends, two backs and try to shove senior RB Ryan White down UC's throat. White is fifth in AP history in rushing yards (2,450). It will be a nice test for UC defensive line which is supposed to be the anchor of the unit.

--- Since (as UC faithful hope) the score shouldn't be much in doubt, barometers of success will come from other statistics. This is one of those games where just winning won't please the fan base. Here's a look at four goals fans should hope to see UC accomplish Saturday.

1. No touchdowns allowed.
JK Schaffer added he'd like to see a shutout and less than 50 rushing yards for the Govs and that's a nice goal, but even the most impressive blowouts allow field goals. If this young defense (particularly the starting unit) can keep Peay out of the end zone, it will show a step forward Butch Jones hoped to see from the group returning all 11 starters.

They did so last year against Miami (45-3) and in 2009 against SE Missouri (70-3).

2. Five first-half scores. Sure, UC beat Indiana State last year 40-7 and had little problem with the inferior foe, but people remembered the 12-7 halftime score. Giving a smaller program a reason to believe can be the ultimate demise of a game like this. UC needs to jump out early and often and show precision offensively from the opening kickoff. Five first-half scores would show a group finding itself and prepared to head to Knoxville.

3. Plus-3 turnover margin.
The mantra all offseason has been on protecting the football and creating turnovers. UC didn't do anywhere near enough last season, finishing 119th in the country. Creating three turnovers and not giving Austin Peay any would suggest the preaching paid off.

4. No sacks. How will this revamped offensive line look? Last year's opener exposed offensive line concerns when Fresno State tossed down Zach Collaros eight times in the 28-14 defeat. Peay won't exactly bring SEC speed off the edge, but shutting down the Govs pass rush will be a starting point.

If UC checks off all four of these statistical measures, Saturday's game will be a clear success. Heck, if they check out three of four it will be a success. From my angle, though, these are the four areas to search for the most telling statistical victories.

--- Athlon Sports went
with the anonymous source route to get coaches' opinions of Big East competitors. It includes plenty of bulletin board material for the Cats. One coach pointed out the knack of Brian Kelly wasn't the offense he ran, but picking the perfect time to run certain plays. Another cited the team lost its swagger.

It's nice to see coaches speak honestly, but it's remarkable how little some of these coaches actually know about their conference competitors. They are so focused on their own programs, they rarely understand the situations elsewhere. Not to mention, almost half the league's coaches are in their first season.

--- Bill Koch on Walter Stewart and his permanent residence at defensive end.

--- Friend of the blog and Twitter maven Scott from BearcatsBlog (@BearcatsBlog) gives his look inside the 2011 Bearcats, including award-winning photography from what appears to be a 1994 Polaroid Instant JoyCam.

--- More coming later today with a feature on sophomore CB Deven Drane.

--- Some randomness...

--- I used to decide whether or not I wanted to live somewhere based on proximity to Waffle House. Little did I know the Waffle House scale was so popular even the folks at FEMA make use of its consistency and credibility to judge the damage of hurricanes. No word from FEMA administrator Craig Fugate as to if he would dare order a T-bone along the way.

--- Uh, yep, that's
a shark in the water. I think I'm going to go ahead and eat fish tacos instead of going to the beach next time I'm in San Diego.

--- Parks and Recreation season premiere trailer now posted.

--- 25 college football reporters to follow on Twitter.

--- Pump-up song week concludes with the ultimate song in the category. As far as I am concerned, the undeniable, undisputed champion.

Take it away, Mr. Collins.



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