Bearcats Breakfast 12.28.11

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Recorded the latest episode of the Inside the Bearcats podcast yesterday. With Tommy G stationed down in Memphis, it seemed a perfect time to catch up with him on all the happenings of the football team down there.

Of course, we focused on all the important topics like player swag, rib acquisition and dance moves, but there's plenty of UC/Liberty Bowl talk in there as well.

Make sure you check it out when you've got some time. Here's the link.

Let's eat...

--- As for the latest news coming out of Memphis, all signs point toward Zach Collaros starting Saturday, as Tom Groeschen wrote. TG said he wouldn't be surprised if Collaros was named the starter later in the week, though Munchie Legaux is currently splitting reps with the senior QB.

A big game for Collaros in a victory would put a great bow on a fantastic season for the Bearcats. And for ZC's career. One last time proving to be as competitive, dedicated of a player as imaginable.

And possibly part-Transformer.

--- Great news from the ticket sale
s front as reports have sales now around 10,000 sold. The UC base really came out and made a statement that they will support the team with this response. Great to see. Place those types of numbers next to the 17k at the Sugar Bowl in 2009 and you have a program building a reputation for travel and one bowls in the future will be fighting over.

Of course, there are still 2k of the ticket allotment available, so head on over to Bowl Central or call 1-888-CATS-TIX to grab your NYE vacation package. Of course, you can always send some other UC staff if you can't go yourself through One Team, One Ticket.

--- In case you were not sure if you wanted to go or not, the weather is supposed to be 60 and sunny Saturday in Memphis. I'm just sayin.

--- Busy Tuesday over at Bowl Central as Tommy G was cranking out the hits. We had a conversation post-practice with Butch Jones. The team is practicing at the University of Memphis and it stayed dry enough to hit the outdoor field.

Also, the debut of Randeazy Cam as Mr. McSaucy roamed around UC's facilities during the first full day in Memphis. The game room that the team has access to needs to be in my basement. Like, yesterday.

--- Word has officially
leaked that UC will be wearing the matte black helmets on Saturday. The decals are yet to be placed on them. Spread your own rumors about what that might be.

--- The players competed in the Xbox challenge as they played out the Liberty Bowl on the sticks. UC ended up winning. And there was much rejoicing.

Then three Cats sang Lean on Me karaoke. I'm not sure what to make of this video.

--- More press conferences,
practices and revelry coming today, so keep it locked to GoBearcats for all the happenings.

--- The Cardinals may have lost to NC State last night, but with Teddy Bridgewater and 16 of 22 starters back next year, they are going to be a force in the BE.

--- Great day for Bearcats in the NFL yesterday, mainly with the local team. WR Armon Binns, who has been grinding on the practice squad all season, was activated to the 53-man roster as WR Andre Caldwell was placed on IR.

In all likelihood Binns will be inactive this week against Baltimore, but one step closer to the show for the man responsible for the most famous catch in program history.

Not only that, taking his place on the practice squad was former teammate Vidal Hazelton. He opened the season with San Diego, but didn't make the team. He'd been sitting around and landed the spot after coming in for a tryout on Tuesday. Wish nothing but good things for Vidal, who had nothing but bad things happen to him the last three years of his football career.

--- Speaking of Binns,
Dan Hoard wrote about the guy who inherited his number at UC and the hopes he will post the same types of highlights and stats.

--- Hoped Connor Barwin and his 11.5 sacks would make it into the Pro Bowl, unfortunately, the AFC OLB position is a tough one to crack (Terrell Suggs, Tamba Hali and Von Miller). He ended up as a first alternate, so there's a chance he'll end up in Hawaii anyway with the way people tend to pass on the trip.

Regardless, guy deserves every accolade considering the season he's had coming off his brutal leg injury.

As the crack UC sports information staff pointed out yesterday, the combination of 11.5 sacks for Barwin and 10 for Philadelphia's Trent Cole are the most from a tandem from the same NCAA school this year. Consider the season Mike Wright had rushing the QB last year before being beset by injuries this season and UC is becoming Pass Rush U.

--- Spent yesterday afternoon at UC with the players and Mick. The common theme coming out it from Cronin was this:

"We are huge underdogs," he said. "Let's not get confused, guys."

Cronin repeated his hypothesis a few times during different portions of the press conference. This could be a motivational tactic for his team to hear as much as anything or he may really believe it. Or maybe he's just covering himself in case OU wins. Regardless, he very clearly sees this as one of the stiffest tests this team will see in the non-con.

As for UC being an KenPom, going off the tempo-free season numbers, places them at 66 percent to win. Although, that doesn't take the suspensions into account.

From my angle, most lines will probably list UC as a favorite, particularly at home against a team, even though 9-1, still unproven. Their loss came against St. Louis and their only quality win came against a mess of an Arkansas program. Of course, most would point out UC still lacks a quality win as well.

--- Regardless, big primer for BE play for the Cats. In regards to how the new-look team will fare against an athletic bunch like the other OU? Cronin had this to say:

"Throw out the scores of the last four games. We've been able to erase a lot of mistakes with blocked shot the last four games that I don't think is quite going to be the case Thursday. night. We've got to continue to have tremendous effort, which we have had, but that is not going to be enough, you also have to have defensive execution. There are plays where we broke down but the other team either turned it over or didn't make the right pass and if you are playing Oklahoma or Pittsburgh or whoever is after that, it is going to be a basket."

--- A few other interesting
quotes from Mick yesterday. First, he was talking about this offensive style and how it fits him as a coach and how he realizes now he probably should have gone to this offense from the start:

"It's the way I'd rather play," he said. "You guys used to interview me when I got the job, (asking) 'how would you like to play?' But when you are building a program you got to give yourself a chance to win so you can recruit."

This on Cashmere Wright:

"Right now, the way Cashmere Wright is playing, it's off the charts. If he can continue to play the way he's playing right now, from making shots to leading his team and teh way he is taking care of the basketball, if he can continue to play that way that is the biggest part of what we are doing right now if you really look at his production on the offensive end. Just off the charts."

When Mick talks about off the charts, he's talking about this: Wright has a 6.5:1 A/TO rate since the suspensions. That number is actually 18:1 if you look at the last three. No, there are no A/TO charts that included 18:1.

--- Bill Koch wrote a story about the evolution of the new offense on the brink of its first major test. Bill also posted his top 10 stories at UC this year.

--- Remember me pointing out how vulnerable Pitt appears right now -- Notre Dame handed it to them in South Bend last night, 72-59. They aren't in a slump, there is something seriously wrong with the Panthers and the time is now for UC to pounce on a rare road victory at The Pete.

--- Georgetown at Louisville tonight.
Will be worth a watch.

--- During the podcast yesterday, we listed off our favorite individual moments of the 2011 UC athletics year.

Here were my top individual moments:

5. Isaiah Pead TD run at Tennessee. Despite the game not going well, in that particular moment, when Isaiah took his first touch to the house for the second straight week, it evoked a feeling of confidence unlike any other this year. (Even if it turned out to be unwarranted)

4. Beating Mizzou in NCAA Round 1.
Not only the first NCAA tourney win in the Cronin era, but the guys were playing loose and enjoying the experience as much as anybody could imagine. They were fun to watch at that point.

3. UC routs NC State. The environment was electric and what Nippert Stadium is all about. And the team was even more electric in one of the most dominating performances against a BCS conference teams we've seen in a long time. It was the moment where we knew this team was different.

2. UC beats Georgetown. It felt like a coronation and celebration of the completion of a rebuild. The fans were live, the team played one of their best games of the season and the mighty Hoyas had no answers. Players standing on scorers tables after the game popping the Cincinnati jersey and circling 5/3 high-5ing all the fans. It was a pretty special moment for the UC basketball program.

1. Get the Dub. Personally, nothing has made me laugh and smile this year more than the Get the Dub celebrations. On top of the fact that it 100-percent exemplifies the camaraderie and chemistry of this team, it also features a serious head coach letting go with his players and unveiling some dance moves that are not quite ready for America's Best Dance Crew. And, damn, is that song catchy.

Tommy G tossed in the football win against UConn and beating Austin Peay. Why Austin Peay? Well, it's hard to beat a day when your son is born in the morning and you turn around and call the season opener that day. 

I'd love to hear from you. Let me know what your favorite moment of 2011 was, whether for personal reasons or obvious achievements on the field or court. Also, let me know the players/games/events/moments you are most looking forward to in 2012.

Send those to or hit me up on Twitter (@pauldehnerjr) and I will post the responses in a piece over the next week.

Some randomness...

--- The TSA wants you to watch your weight. Put down the cupcake.

--- Apparently, the future of the Internet is about to get really creepy. What exactly would you call whatever is going on here now?

--- Snooki as a fight promoter, I can see. Snooki as an author, well, that's a different story (And one almost certainly with spelling errors).

--- I'm a bit of a sports sign snob. I demand creativity and correct use of words. For the last time, stop rhyming Hotto with Votto. Hotto is not a word.

Anyway, here were the best signs of 2011.

--- Anyone who reads this blog knows my love for Community. (Still not in a good place with the news. #DeOccupyNBC). Scenes like this Christmas rap are what makes it so great.

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