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Bearcats Breakfast 11.7.11

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I kept using this phrase last week when doing interviews or talking about UC football. If they could find a way to win their next two games, they wouldn't just be in the driver's seat, nobody else would be in the car.

Well, UC sits 60 minutes from emptying the ride on the Big East championship highway.

Although, as with every weekend in the Big East this year, the two constants played out again. The Bearcats found a way to win and another favorite didn't.

West Virginia was shocked by Louisville next to the Morgantown trailer park and all of a sudden, the Cardinals (3-1) are the lone competitor within shouting distance and they're essentially two games back with UC owning the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Everyone else in the conference, outside of Syracuse and USF, are two games back in the loss column.

A loss to WVU would open the conference back up for grabs. Rutgers hosts UC and would control their own destiny at that point. Remarkably, the same could be said for UConn, as well. 

The Big East doesn't own a championship game. But the All But Over Game will be played at noon Saturday at Paul Brown Stadium.

Let's eat...

--- That's right, noon kickoff, ABC. The last time UC kicked off at noon on ABC was the last time they won a Big East championship two years ago against Pitt. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

Talk about a showcase game. National TV, main network, PBS, big crowd, undefeated in conference. With the NC State game a close second, I will call this the biggest stage of Butch Jones' tenure at UC.

Recruiting is all about image and relationships. You place another giant building block on both if the win streak balloons to seven Saturday.

--- Tickets still available, folks. Ring of Red. Should be electric. 1-877-CATS-TIX.

--- Kicker Tony Miliano named Placekicker of the Week by College Performance Awards. He tied a UC single-game record and set a career best with four field goals. Jake Rogers booted four field goals against UConn in 2009.

Love Miliano's story. Local kid, fighting for the job, doubters everywhere and proving everybody wrong. Sort of embodies the spirit of this team. Something in my gut tells me you'll be reading much more about him on this blog later in the week.

--- Miliano's opportunity comes with an assist from Zach Collaros. ZC wasn't perfect Saturday. Far from it, even admitting after the game he needs to stop "making stupid mistakes" regarding his two interceptions.

However, Collaros didn't force any passes in the red zone -- or at least none were intercepted. It had been a problem all season and on multiple occasions Saturday he threw the ball away where he had been taking shots into the end zone irresponsibly in previous games. He saves three points with those conservative decisions, UC wins by three.

Smart football equals victory.

--- Defensive adjustments anyone? Conditioning?

Take this into consideration.

Pittsburgh first six drives: 3 FGs, 2 TDs, 1 Punt, 269 yards
Pittsburgh next seven drives: 3 punts, two fumbles, 1 interception; 1 turnover on downs, 1 first down, 51 yards.

Cincinnati has now outscored opponents 34-7 in the fourth quarter of conference games. All come-from-behind victories, all decided by single digits.

There's your difference.

I said earlier in the season, UC can't keep falling behind and expect to win every one. Well, maybe they can. This appears to be a pretty successful formula.

--- Every game in the Big East this weekend decided by one possession. Average margin of victory: Four points.

--- The new rankings came out with UC making its first appearance in the BCS Top 25 at No. 23. They are No. 18 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 23 in the AP Poll.

If you are extrapolating out the possibilities if UC were to run the table from this point forward, they could legitimately finish in the top 10, top 15 prior to the bowl game with a perfect conference season.

A win Saturday would create the biggest bump in the human polls, because the lazy voters still hold this belief that West Virginia is far superior to everyone else in the conference, even though they haven't played a lick of defense since early October.

--- West Virginia points allowed last three games: 118. That's 39.3 points a game. As Outkast would say, go head and marinate on that for a minute.

--- Bill Koch points out nobody is laughing at UC anymore as the flip from 4-8 to Big East title hunt takes shape.

Many in the Twitterverse scoffed at me this offseason when I pointed out the outrageous success of coaches in their second seasons. Chip Kelly at Oregon and Gene Chizik at Auburn were the flag bearers for the argument, but the numbers don't lie that across all conferences, teams took major steps forward.

Now look at the top of the Big East, two second-year coaches sit there in Butch Jones and Charlie Strong. Go ahead and toss in Mike London at Virginia and Lane Kiffin (I don't like writing it anymore than you like reading it) at USC amid probation.

It happens every season.

--- Current prediction from CollegeFootballNews.com, UC vs. Clemson in the Orange Bowl, Jan. 4. Hit the tanning beds, people.

Andrea Adelson breaks down the BE title scenarios

--- Big East winners and losers from CBSsports.com.

--- Real quick, flipping to basketball. Exhibition game against NKU on Tuesday at Fifth Third. Apparently, the Norse won't be a pushover after they beat WVU and Bob Huggins on Friday.

--- Here's an interview from Big East media day from Adam Zagoria with Yancy Gates.

Randomness...

--- If the playoffs started today, the Bengals would be the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Once again, go head and marinate on that for a minute.

This will be the biggest weekend in the history of Paul Brown Stadium. And it's not even close. They might as well move St. X-Colerain down there Friday.

--- All these natural disasters are starting to make me think somebody somewhere isn't very happy with our direction as a species.

--- Remember to put your
car in park when you go shopping. Or it might roll off an overpass.

--- Louis C.K. will be
doing a comedy show that is only broadcast online. I'm sure that will be clean.

--- Hey look, it's highlights of UC beating WVU on the way to a Big East title in 2008. Enjoy.




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1 Comment

i believe the biggest event at brown was billy graham -- 200.000 over several days -- big weekend - not the biggest .. thank you
that is what they said on radio this am