Bearcats Breakfast 12.27.11

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Hope everybody enjoyed a Merry Christmas with friends and family and is now ready to get back to the business of procrastinating at work while reading this blog.

The first day back to work after Christmas is one of the toughest to get going. Likely because of the four pounds of Christmas cookies lodged in the colon. But, I hope this blog can serve as a nice buffer for the transition.

Big week here with the game against Oklahoma from US Bank on Thursday and the Liberty Bowl on Saturday. There will be a basketball player media availability this afternoon I'll be at, so if any news comes from there, well, I hope by now you know where to find out immediately ( Also, feel free to send any questions you would like answered to me (

Let's eat...

--- The football team took off for Memphis yesterday and upon arrival our guy Tommy G will be delivering all the on-site goods. He already has the insight to the gift room the team had access to. That included these Jordan backpacks with personalized labels. And don't forget the Nike shoes. And the watch.

In case you didn't know, head over to Bowl Central and GoBearcats for all your information from TG and the crew all week.

Plus, he's breaking out Randeazy Cam. The man of many nicknames, Randy Martinez, aka Mr. McSaucy, aka Ragu, aka Mayor McSaucy, aka Randeazy. Dude brings the funny, should be a great feature all week.

--- Also, if you are going to Memphis and want to be a part of history, on Thursday at 8 p.m. CDT there will be the first Liberty Bowl Tweetup. Tommy and some UC folks will be there and gathering to watch the UC-OU hoops game while also filling the Twitters with Bearcats conjecture. (That's right conjecture, and lots of it)

Keep checking in here and with TG for the location which is currently TBD.

--- In a compilation by Forbes, UC rated the second-best value team in the country this season. The concept is cost spent on the program/win. To give you an idea to how much money goes into making football programs relevant, the Cats were the second-best value and still paid $1.24 million per victory.

Kansas State was tops, they spent the same $11 million total figure, but ended up 10-2 on the year.

--- If you are looking for all the Liberty Bowl polls, deals and info you can find when you are down in Memphis, be sure to follow them on Facebook. The latest is a poll for who will win. The Bearcats currently hold the lead, which really takes all the drama out of the game. I can't imagine a poll of random Internet users being incorrect.

--- If you aren't able to head to Memphis, don't forget the school's One Team, One Ticket deal to help send some others. That includes the specific One Team, One Blogger deal I completely made up to send myself to the Liberty Bowl. Feel free to flood the department with specific requests for my presence. And hurry up, I need to get the go-ahead before the team heads to Rendezvous for the ribs-bonanza.

--- Some of the information and stories on the actual game against Vandy are starting to trickle out, most notably, their starting quarterback is the younger brother of Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers. Now, he doesn't have the Madden-esque 45 touchdowns to 6 interceptions, like his older bro, but he still put together a nice season for the Commies.

Coach James Franklin switched to Rodgers midseason and he delivered in six starts averaging 258 total yards per game. Tom Groeshen has the story.

--- Here was ESPN's season wrap on Vanderbilt from their SEC Blog.

--- Look, it's Isaiah Claus, Part II!

--- The seniors experienced their last practice at Nippert Stadium last week. The Butch Jones blog had the reaction from the seniors.

--- Andrea Adelson is loving the
Big East teams in bowl games. I'd disagree, I think Pitt and Rutgers fall. Almost brings a tear to my eye knowing this will be the final time this season I'll get to make the correct prediction of Pitt falling shy of expectations.

By the way, congratulations to Pitt on adding their sixth head coach in the last 13 months. That's got to be some kind of record.

--- As I mentioned earlier,
I am headed over the UC this afternoon to talk to some players. My topic will be about the pressure placed on the 5-man over the next two games. As the Bearcats wheel out the four-guard fire against Oklahoma and Pitt, Kelvin Gaines and Justin Jackson will be asked to be the centerpiece of containing two of the top three offensive rebounding teams in the country.

That's right. Here are your top five teams in the nation right now in offensive rebounding percentage.

Team       Percentage
Pittsburgh    46.6
Marshall       44.4
Oklahoma    44.4
Quinnapac   43.1
S. Alabama  42.5
38th/UC       38.3

That's right, the Cats play the three best offensive rebounding clubs in the country in their non-conference. If you remember, the Herd pummeled UC on the boards in that overtime loss. They had 16 offensive boards on 35 missed shots. That was 45.7 percent. And that was with Gates, Jackson and Mbodj clogging the middle.

How UC does on the glass Thursday will be a huge factor in win or loss.

--- Jeff Borzello at CBS resets
the Big East outlook as we turn our attention to conference play. He's correct in saying the depth of the BE is down this year, but the quality at the top is strong as ever.

By the way, UC looking really lucky to catch Pitt early in the conference season (analysis of the Panthers for ESPN Insiders) because they look lost right now following their embarrassing loss to Wagner at home.
--- Xavier falls out of the Top 25 (now only one spot in front of my Bobcats, who WILL be ranked this year, mark it down). Oklahoma not receiving any votes. UC isn't, either. A quick start in BE play will change all that.

--- Lance Stephenson is coming off
the bench at guard this year for the Pacers. He logged six minutes in their opening night win against Detroit. Two points, one board, one assist, one turnover.

--- Randomness...

--- White female rappers
and the New York Times. Go together like lamb and tuna fish.

--- If you need an uplifting moment to
make you feel good about life, here you go. (Not sarcastic for maybe the first time in the history of the blog)

--- Forbes ranks the best American downtowns.
Shockingly, Cincinnati not on the list. Though, I hold out hope for the future.

--- Excuse me, sir, I'm going to have to ask you what's in your suitcase?

"Well, there's a comb, my favorite Snuggie and, oh yeah, 247 live animals."

--- Drew Brees, in his locker-room speech last night, didn't forget
the little people who really made long days in the training room worthwhile.

--- The NBA is back
. And on top of some great games from Christmas Day (Derrick Rose is the most exciting player to watch in the game), Russell Westbrook reminded us all that he's much, much better than Luke Ridnour.

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