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Bearcats Breakfast 11.15.11

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This Saturday beings a second season. A three-game season with a new leader and new objective.

With Munchie Legaux at the helm, find a way to win three games.

None will be bigger than Saturday at noon against Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights have found success, especially at home, where they are 6-1. The lone loss came against West Virginia, 41-31.

They haven't all been pretty. In fact, very few have. Outside of the 34-10 trouncing of Pittsburgh on Oct. 8, Rutgers has needed overtime twice, lost twice, beat Navy by one and required a fourth-quarter surge to hold off lowly Army last week.

They've shuffled quarterbacks with sophomore Chas Dodd back after being benched for four games in favor of freshman Gary Nova.

Yet, through all that ugly, they find themselves in a position to still capture a Big East title. The only way to do so will be by beating UC on Saturday. They win they're in the hunt. They lose and they are eliminated.

Without doubt, Rutgers will be ready. They know what is at stake.

Legaux and the Bearcats better be.

Let's eat...

--- Let's take a look at some BE title scenarios.

1) UC wins their final three games @Rutgers, @Syracuse and home finale vs. UConn and they punch their ticket to a BCS bowl game, more than likely the Orange Bowl.

2) UC loses to Rutgers. They would then need to win the final two games and have both West Virginia lose one of their final two games (Pitt, @USF) and Rutgers lose @UConn in the final game of their season.

Never bet against chaos in the Big East, but a Rutgers loss against struggling UConn with a Big East title shot on the line would seem highly unlikely.

3) UC beats Rutgers, loses to either Syracuse or UConn. The Cats would then need WVU to lose one of their final two games, though an outside chance exists if there were a tie with multiple teams at 5-2, the Cats could win in a three- or four-way tiebreaker scenario, much like the one that sent UConn to the Fiesta Bowl last season.

4) Dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria. Rick Bozich explains.

--- Point being, a win
against Rutgers and the path to the Miami clears dramatically. Plus, the first game with the new quarterback will be the most difficult.

--- As for the new era under Munchie Legaux, I still remember National Signing Day two years ago when he jumped from Colorado to UC. I wrote this story about the UC boon for CNati.com.

Little did we know then just how valuable that signing day swing would be.

With a week to cater the offense to Legaux's strengths, UC will enter the Rutgers game much more prepared for his style than against WVU. In fact, Butch Jones said something interesting on yesterday's conference call.

"We will open it up," he said. "That may seem hard to imagine. We may open it up because he can throw the football, but also he can run the football."

--- For the record because
I have seen this discussed on multiple message boards, his name is pronounced LAY-go.

And because I haven't seen this discussed on multiple message boards, but you probably mess it up anyway, my last name is pronounced DAY-ner. I feel your pain, Munchie.

--- The good news: Running the football will be the name of the game against Rutgers. Granted, they have the top overall defense because they are so tough against the pass, as Bill Koch points out today, but if they have a weakness it's against the run.

In conference play, Rutgers ranks dead last against the run. And it's not close.

They are giving up an average of 176 yards per game on the ground. The next closest is West Virginia at 144.

Try these numbers on for size:

Game         Att   Yds  Y/R

@Syracuse   32  126   3.9
Pittsburgh     35  140   4.0
@Louisville   34  187   5.5
WVU            37  210   5.7

USF             52   221  4.3
TOTAL        190  884  4.7

Check out their two losses to West Virginia and Louisville. Those both came in games where Rutgers couldn't stop the bleeding in the running game and allowed the average yards against to creep over 5 per.

Consider this: Rutgers has allowed a 100-yard rusher in EVERY SINGLE CONFERENCE GAME.

Bailey, Syracuse  24-124
Graham, Pitt 24-159
Wright, Louisville 11-108
Alston, WVU 14-110
Scott, USF 19-100

You reading this Isaiah Pead?

With Legaux's breakaway ability in the run game as well, it could be a record-setting day for the UC running game. Or at least they hope.

Rutgers is well aware of what UC could do in the run game, according to Dave Hutchinson of the Star-Ledger.

--- While we are on running the football. Saturday will be the biggest mismatch in the running game in college football this season.

UC enters ranked No. 2 in the country against the run (Alabama is first) overall and No. 3 in yards/carry (Alabama, FSU) at 2.4 per.

Rutgers enters the game 119th out of 120 in yards per carry on offense at 2.4 per.

--- Zach Collaros' surgery went well, according to Butch Jones.

"They were very encouraged with what they saw," Jones said.

Collaros' story is one of the saddest I've witnessed in my time covering sports. You root for a guy like Zach, who overcame so many odds to reach the position he was in and was about accomplish what he hoped to be his shining moment.

Yet, he won't be going anywhere. He'll be starting his coaching career a little earlier than anticipated with Munchie. Just wish the best for him and really hope he can find his way back for a potential bowl game.

Hopefully, ZC will be around at the media luncheon this afternoon and I'll have more from him later today.

---  All you need to know
about tonight's game against Jacksonville State.

The game is at 7 p.m. on FSO. Tommy G and Terry Nelson presiding.

Jacksonville went 5-25 last year and finished 279th in country by KenPom.

They only return four of the 13 players from that team...not sure if that's good or bad. Probably good for them.

They lost 58-44 to Marshall in their last game.

They are the Gamecocks.

They were picked to finish 10th in the 11-team Ohio Valley Conference. Yikes.

So, should be a real nail-biter.

--- Some randomness...

--- I'm starting a new movement: #DeOccupyNBC. Time to vacate the network for...ever. They decided to cut Community midseason. This not only is the funniest show on their network, but probably the best on TV right now and NBC -- who still shoves Whitney down your throat on Thursday nights -- is killing it.

Rumors are the show could still return at a later date, but this is still a travesty.

Yes, the station that features such gems as The Sing off, The Voice, The Biggest Loser 12 (seriously, 12? Aren't we running out of well-spoken fat people? Plus Anna K. is leaving?). This is why NBC is dead last in everything.

Sorry. I'm just not handling this news very well.

I urge all of you to boycott all NBC shows, which shouldn't be difficult. Change starts now.

--- Being from Germany saved this man $2.61 million. Still not worth being surrounded by Hasselhoff worship.

--- Can we please stop fake killing people on the Internet.

--- You see Marshawn Lynch embarrass Ray Lewis this weekend? Wow.

--- Just a bit outside.

--- Gabby Giffords is an inspiration to everyone.

--- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 played a role in the Big East title race. It's true.

--- You mean Bad Girls Club had an adverse effect on the development of children? I refuse to believe this.

--- There are some things in life that can only be helped by the Notorious BIG. Mo Binkies, Mo Problems.



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