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I guess they don't like the trophy--take it back!

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When all this Big East stuff started for UC a few years back, they decided to make it another one of those "trophy games".

Along with the "Victory Bell" and the "Keg of Nails", we were blessed with "The River City Rivalry" courtesy of Trophy Awards who concocted  something that looked like a riverboat steering apparatus (that's the extent of my nautical knowledge).

Most of these trophies rested inside the Lindner Center, but Pitt last year was able to grab the "wheel" back with a 28-10 win at Nippert.

Given the current conference carousel, it's best for the Bearcats to retrieve said trophy and place it back in the case on the fourth floor.I don't suppose Pitt will have much use for it in their television-dictated move to the ACC.

That's just one of the reasons UC should have for beating the Panthers.

The most obvious one is that they're 6-1 and ranked and Pitt is 4-4. A Bearcat win at Heinz Field is a serious blow to the ribs for the Pittsburghers in their first season under their new head coach.

Show of hands...who is the Pitt head coach?

I bet a lot of fans still think it's Dave "Wannstache" Wannstedt.

Part of the joy of beating Pitt used to be watching "the 'Stache" nervously run his hands through his 1970s disco hair.  Somewhere, I can imagine a white John Travolta suit in the Wannstache closet that plays "Burn Baby Burn (Disco Inferno)" by the Trammps as the door opens.

Todd Graham did an excellent job at Tulsa, but there's no reason (yet) to have a burning desire to pummel his teams.  It simply was a lot of fun to watch an agitated Wannstedt on the sidelines getting outcoached time and time again.

One other word of warning Bearcat fans: you may not to know it, but the Pittsburgh folks are trying to infiltrate and sway your thinking. Why else would there be a virtual dumping of Yuengling Beer on the Tri-State during the last week?
Coincidence or not?

(Either way, I'm still in a Halloween mood stirring the pot.)

The bottom line is the Bearcats should take care of business and win. It might not be as crazy as the Dec. 5, 2009 classic, but I'm guessing the days after it will be more pleasant than they were nearly two years ago.

Lest you forget, here was the timeline:
  • 12/5/09 Bearcats pull out instant classic win as Tony Pike hits Armon Binns in the endzone (nothing fancy--Binns beats his man and Pike hits the target).
  • 12/6/09 Bearcats host a selection show at Fifth Third Arena where everyone nervously approaches Brian Kelly with kid gloves. It's announced that UC's going to the Sugar Bowl.
  • 12/10/09 Brian Kelly is announced as the Home Depot Coach of the Year while at UC's football banquet. Word is already out that he's going to Notre Dame, he officially tells us team after the banquet, then marches across the hall to play political word games with Chris Fowler on ESPN.
  • 12/11/09 Brian Kelly resigns and is announced new head coach at Notre Dame.
  • 12/11/09 Kelly assistant Jeff Quinn named interim head coach and will coach Sugar Bowl.
  • 12/16/09 Butch Jones named new head coach, but Quinn still coaches Sugar Bowl.
  • 1/2/10 Bearcats get Tebow'd at Sugar Bowl by Florida.
All things considered it was from joy to madness as a Bearcat fan, a scenario many hope never plays out again (in terms of coaching musical chairs).

Also of note from that game in 2009, of the key players you may remember in that game offensively, only Pitt's Dion Lewis (47 carries 194 yards and three scores) is on an NFL active roster (he's an Eagle where Jason Kelce, Trent Cole and Brent Celek can agitate him).
Tony Pike received an injury settlement from Carolina in late August and Mardy Gilyard was released by the Rams and then the Jets in early September.
Armon Binns is wearing No. 85 for the Cincinnati Bengals, but is on the practice squad.

Since the hustling Paul Dehner Jr. has already provided you with the Pike to Binns highlight, I'll leave you with this one.
This, in my opinion, changed the momentum of the game. UC was down 31-10 late in the first half, when Mardy Gilyard took the football 99 yards to cut it to a two touchdown game at halftime. Later, in the third quarter he had a 68-yard touchdown catch to make it 31-24. Pitt then had leads of 38-24 and 44-38 before Tony Pike hit Binns on the memorable pass and Jake Rogers made the extra point for the 45-44 win.


>Also, for those thinking Tony Pike had the game of his life, you might not remember that he threw three picks that game and was only 22-42 passing.

However, as the saying goes, it only takes one.

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Dion Lewis the only player from that game on active NFL roster? What about Ricardo Matthews (Colts), Jason Kelce (Eagles), Jeff Linkenbach (Colts), Jonathan Baldwin (Chiefs), Jabal Sheard (Browns), and Jason Pinkston (Browns). There are probably others too.