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Bearcats Breakfast 10.24.11

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Welcome to the blog home of the Top 25-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats.

Soak that one in for a second UC fans.

Following 4-8 last year, not too many believed this program would see that sentence this soon. Many jumped off the bandwagon. Following the most exciting, dramatic win in the Butch Jones era, there are plenty of arms reaching for the wagon as it blows by on the highway to the top of the Big East.

It's early, but in a weekend that couldn't have gone any better as far as results are concerned, they now sit in the drivers seat as the only undefeated team in the conference with their biggest challenger coming to their own backyard.

Cincinnati Bearcats: 6-1, 2-0, ranked No. 23 in the Coaches Poll and No. 24 in the AP poll.

In the immortal words of Kramer: Giddyup.

Let's eat...

--- A quiet clamoring emerged the last few weeks to see the Zach Collaros of old show up. You know, the guy posting gaudy passing numbers in a quick-strike offense.

Sure, Collaros owned a completion percentage of 62 percent or better in every game but one this year and, sure, he'd accounted for 15 touchdowns in six games. But this fan base is spoiled in the area of passing offense.

Following a first half that featured two of most head-scratching throws in his two years at quarterback, Collaros didn't only deliver a return to numbers of old -- he surpassed them with his defining drive as a Bearcat.

Collaros threw for 389 yards for his first 300-yard passing game this season and accounted for five touchdowns.

More than that, he did something he's never done in his career as a Bearcat: He engineered a game-winning drive in the final minute. He did so nearly flawlessly.

Of Collaros' 13 wins in games he started, only three of them were decided by one possession or less. And in none of those were the Bearcats the last team to score. He's seen big moments before, but never 1:27 left down four and 45k ripping their vocal chords to shreds around him.

"I've never really had an opportunity to go down and win a game like that," said Collaros to Dan Hoard in DH's postgame blog. "It's what you always dream of, you know?  There was no panic at all on the sideline and I really didn't have to say anything. Everybody was locked in and we knew what we had to do."

This is why senior quarterbacks are so valuable in college football. This is why only experienced QBs win Big East championships. This is why the Bearcats always feel like the game is theirs to win.

He goes 4 of 6 for 69 yards then runs in the game-winning TD with 12 seconds to spare.

ZC represented a microcosm of his team. He was far from perfect, in fact in some moments Saturday he was downright ugly. But when greatness was needed, he provided it, and found a way to win.

In case you forgot how it ended.



--- As Butch Jones told Bill Koch, Collaros has the "it" factor. He's just a winner.

--- Jones talked to Andrea Adelson of ESPN after the game and she had this video interview talking primarily about ZC.

--- Zach Collaros may be taking yearly vacations to Raymond James Stadium the rest of his life just to bring back all the fond memories.

--- He was named Big East Offensive Player of the Week. That's the second week in a row a UC player took the honor. Isaiah Pead won it last week.

--- I took a Twitter straw poll after the game of everyone's favorite play in a game full of exciting ones (game-winning TD not included). This was the runaway winner.



OC Mike Bajakian told me last week, which I posted here, that Chisum was playing so well in practice it was impossible to keep him off the field. He caught four passes for 40 yards against Louisville then three for 73 and a touchdown Saturday.

Chisum went to Sandy Creek (Ga.) HS, the same as Calvin Johnson. Chisum broke nearly all his records. And the freshman looked a heck of a lot like Megatron there.

For the record, in second place was Anthony McClung's decleating block on Kenbrell Thompkins 33-yard catch-and-run on the final drive. Nasty.

I'd toss in Collaros to McClung to get UC down to the 6 on second-and-15 following the false start penalty. Just when you thought that could be the penalty to derail the drive, ZC zipped his most powerful strike of the day right on the money.

--- The Bearcats are bowl-eligible. After enduring last season watching from home, that means more than it normally would to these guys.

But I love Isaiah Pead's quote in Koch's notebook.

"We're looking for the big boy," he said. "We want the BCS."

I'm glad he added the second part, he would have been searching for Frisch's a long time in Tampa.

--- The Bearcats are now one of only four schools ranked in the Top 25 in both football and basketball. The others are Texas A&M, Michigan and Wisconsin. The last time both were ranked was December of 2009.

Chip Patterson at CBSsports.com on the Bearcats inclusion in the polls.

--- Adelson posted her Big East power rankings with UC at the top. Her bowl projections also reflected the move and she has UC headed to Miami for the Orange Bowl.

Anybody complaining about that? I didn't think so.

--- For those of you seeking the Pitt game time, we are still awaiting word. It could come today, or there could be a six-day rule extension and make the announcement come next Monday. Keep your eyes fixed on GoBearcats.com.

--- Oh yeah, in case
you forgot amid the madness, UC hired a new AD Saturday morning. His name is Whit Babcock, he's from Missouri and I spoke with him and posted this Q&A.

--- Some randomness...

--- Jonathan Lipnicki of Jerry Maguire fame just turned 21. Damn, I'm old. I imagine the human head weighed about 15 pounds the next morning. Actually stumbled across the movie this weekend, it involves a now comical number of primary scenes with payphones.

--- A list of the world's creepiest
places includes the Chernobyl Amusement Park. I wouldn't bother buying the gold pass for free parking, probably not worth the value.

--- Brian Robinson was probably just trying to win the grand prize on America's Funniest Home Videos.

--- This guy doing an odd robot dance is pretty smooth. I only wonder what the people walking to their car in the parking lot are thinking. That is, outside of, "Step on it, Harry, that man is Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs."

--- Lastly, in case you missed
it from our man Tommy G on the inside, here are the Bearcats singing "Got to get the dub," written by Walter Stewart in the locker room after the big win at USF. And yes, that's Butch Jones and Kerry Coombs in the middle of the action.

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