Bearcats Breakfast 10.31.11

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Happy Halloween. The one day a year it is perfectly OK, in fact encouraged, to scare the cute out of little kids. Make sure you take advantage.

When you trekked through the neighborhood as a kid, did you avoid the houses set up to scare? Of did you go right for them? You know the house...the lights flashing on the outside, screams heard from two blocks away, rumors circling among every group you pass on the street.

I often wondered about the redeeming qualities of the lives of those who took the time to turn their garage into a real life morgue maze, but they were fun that night.

Hopefully all of you with kids find those houses tonight. And hopefully the kids don't return in tears.

Quick Halloween no-no: Don't put the bucket out front and leave it. Writing the sign that says "Just Take One" is even worse. Kids won't just take one. The one rebel will take everything. It's more inevitable than the fact he'll probably egg your house in two years.

Let's eat...

--- UC received the bye week
bump in the polls. They moved up one spot to 22 in the coaches poll and No. 23 in the AP poll.

--- Reminder: Bearcats @ Pittsburgh,
7 p.m., Saturday, ESPNU.

--- With the results
of the weekend, the Bearcats have in front of them the next two weeks an opportunity to not only ride in the driver's seat but toss two primary competitors out the passenger-side door.

Consider now three teams are a game behind UC in the loss column, that's Louisville (who UC already beat), Pittsburgh and West Virginia. Should UC find a way to win the next two weeks, they would not only be 4-0 in the Big East, but own what amounts to a 3-game lead with three to play considering head-to-head tiebreakers. (This if Louisville loses at WVU Saturday).

Point being, if there were two weeks for this team to be playing its best football, these are it.

--- Stat that makes Derek Wolfe drool: Pittsburgh is the worst team in the FBS in sacks allowed. They have given up 36 -- that includes 12 in three conference games. UC has given up 10 sacks all season.

Even further, you can take this to the bank -- if you can't protect the quarterback, this defense will make it a long day. If you can, the Bearcats can be made to look like the 2010 unit.

Here are the breakdowns of most points scored against UC by FBS opponents this year. With that is the national ranking in sacks allowed by the opponent, sacks by UC and passing yards racked up against that day.
Opp       Pts   Rank Sacks Pass Yds 
Tenn.       45     37      0       405
USF         34    18      2       409
Louisville  16    109     4       201
Akron       14    113    3       220
NC State  14     91     6       348
Miami        0     113    5       267

--- The trend is pretty clear. As we've said all year, pressuring the quarterback masks the youth in the secondary and allows them to be the opportunistic, turnover-driven unit they have been much of the year. But, when the QB has time to throw, the coverage has trouble holding.

--- Only five touchdowns were scored on them in four games against teams that don't protect the passer well. One of those was a defensive TD by the Cardinals, two came in garbage time by the Zips. That makes for two legit touchdowns against this defense by teams that can't protect the quarterback.

This defensive line will punish the weak.

--- Again, I repeat,
Pittsburgh ranks dead last in the FBS in sacks allowed this season.

--- The Bearcats head to Pittsburgh to face the most battered team in the conference. At least, after losing three offensive starters for the season in the UConn game, they are.

Pitt Blather talks about the ugly injury situation which includes an offensive line which appears to be tied together with string, matchsticks and a coconut MacGyver-style right now.

Obviously, the loss of Ray Graham leaves the Panthers reeling. Consider the stats of backup Zach Brown in comparison.

In the three games Brown received any substantial workload (more than eight carries), he rushed 36 times for 107 yards. That's 3.0 yards per carry.

And, oh yeah, Graham averaged 5.8 yards per rush.

If you've been paying attention, you don't need myself or number-crunching to know Pitt will  be hindered without their star back.

--- The Panthers say
they have not forgotten the last time these two teams met at Heinz Field. Bearcats fans will never, ever, ever forget the last time these two teams met at Heinz Field.

--- Andrea Adelson talks about what we learned in the Big East this weekend with talk about the formation of the championship picture and Pittsburgh surviving without Graham.

--- Turnover margin update
: At plus-1.86 per game, UC ranks third nationally behind LSU and Oklahoma State. In case you forgot, they ranked 119th last season.

Pittsburgh ranks 110th in the category at minus-0.88 per game. They only have seven takeaways this season. UC has 23.

--- I didn't get a chance to mention this Friday, but UC football landed in the Top 10 in graduation rate among BCS schools at 79 percent. You have to love the well-rounded nature of the program at this point. On and off the field, the change and accomplishments are becoming difficult to ignore.

--- The AP ran this story on the full circle rebuild of the basketball program. Not breaking news to anybody who reads this blog, but a nice read.

--- The Bearcats open
the exhibition season at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Fifth Third against McGill University out of Canada.

--- Shout out to Eric Finan who won the Big East title in cross country. Here is an interview with him.

Some randomness...

--- They are bringing back a fresh version of In Living Color this spring. New cast, but if they can produce anything close the product of the original we'll all be winners. Remember, that show launched Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans, Tommy Davidson and David Allen Grier.

Unfortunately, it also launched Shawn and Marlon Wayans and, consequently, all those Scary Movie bombs that ruined evenings and stole money from customers for years. So, there are pros and cons.

--- This next link is
sponsored by A 16-foot python was caught after consuming a 76-pound deer.

--- This is how I like to imagine everyday activities go for Ray Lewis.

--- Jeff Neumann asks if 2011
was baseball's greatest season. In a historical contest it will be quickly forgotten because there were no dramatic record chases or monumental moments. But I might put it in the running for greatest postseason, counting the final day of the regular season.

--- Because I am contractually obligated to post this video whenever relevant -- this will be UC's first trip back to Heinz Field since Armon Binns made the most memorable catch in UC history.

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