Hope everybody enjoyed their weekend free of UC football because the run of 10 consecutive games to close the season begins now.
Where most teams have four games of footage to judge their team by right now the verdict is still out on the Bearcats. Of course, we'll learn more about them this week than in any game this season.
A bit of the luster has been taken off of the Virginia Tech game at FedEx Field -- now set for 3:30 p.m. on ESPNU -- because of the Hokies loss at Pittsburgh, but that may have been the wakeup call the VT needed. This team was ranked in the Top 25 for a reason. They are still searching for that defense which entered the season with so much hype and Logan Thomas still battle inaccuracy, but they are packed with playmakers.
The Hokies shut out Bowling Green, 37-0, Saturday piling up 246 yards on the ground.
Many can debate how much this game will matter in the big picture of winning a Big East title. The momentum and confidence could be worth a win or two, but in terms of actually accomplishing the championship goal, it means little.
In terms of exposure and prestige, this game means more than any. No opponent will own a bigger name or more respect outside of maybe Louisville if they keep winning. Butch Jones says many times it's all about recruiting. Games like this, specifically, winning games like this, scores huge in high schoolers living rooms.
--- Hope everybody enjoyed the basketball interlude chatting with Mick Cronin last week. ICYMI, I broke the conversation into two parts. Here's Part I. And here's Part II.
If you weren't already excited for hoops season, you should be now. This team will be as fun to watch as any in UC history.
--- Also, pumped to announce two new members of the Bearcats Blog team, Joseph Gryniewski and Ashley Davis. Both are at the tail of their UC careers and will be keeping all of you updated on the Olympic sports happening around campus.
There are so many great stories lying out there I wish I had time to get to, but with football and basketball consuming so much time and you folks foaming at the mouth for more info from those, there's not enough hours in the day.
Joe and Ashley will solve that and I'm pumped to have both of them on board.
Joe had this update on men's soccer last week. Inspired by his prose, the soccer team went out and beat Pitt, 1-0, in their Big East opener behind John Manga's first career goal.
--- While we are talking dazzling prose, Bill Koch with this fantastic piece on Dominique Battle. His story keeps rolling on as he utilizes his sixth-year of eligibility. He's one of the few connections all the way back to the Brian Kelly years.
I've spoken with Dom many times and always found him an absolute delight and one of the great kids in the program. Pumped to see him back on the field.
With his football acumen, he can really benefit UC in the secondary.
--- The upper tier of the Big East increased its stock the last few weeks. Between Louisville beating North Carolina last week and Rutgers going to Arkansas and running away with a victory, a clear upper echelon has been created.
The ESPN Power Rankings place Rutgers at 1, with Louisville and UC right behind them.
BTW, the Rut now cracks the Top 25 at 23. Louisville sits at 19. A win over the Hokies and UC cracks the poll or darn close, methinks.
UC's trip to Virginia Tech will determine which side of the conference line the Bearcats currently fall on. I'd prefer the term measuring stick only be associated with 1960s math classes, but I think we have one of those games on our hands here.
--- USF has to fall last in the world in recruiting stars: wins ratio. Does a more-hyped team disappoint more consistently than the Bulls?
For what it's worth, Ball State does have a decent team this year, but you can't be a senior-laden team like the Bulls with Big East title hopes and lose in David Letterman's backyard.
--- In that same respect, the recent results should raise UC's concerns traveling to a dangerous Toledo team. #MACtion has taken over college football this year.
Thus far, they own six wins over BCS conference schools:
Ohio 24, Penn State 14.
Ball State 41, Indiana 39
Central Michigan 42, Iowa 41
Western Michigan 30, UConn 24
Ball State 31, USF 27
N. Illinois 30, Kansas 23
Plus, Iowa narrowly beat N. Illinois and Toledo nearly toppled Arizona in the desert.
--- Some randomness...
--- Don't rob a business in Seattle, the Good Samaritans of the city are all hopped up on Starbucks and ready to take you down.
--- Mad Men went into the Emmy's with the most nominations, but came out with a Wily Taveras-like 0-for-17.
--- Sometimes, we become a bit numb to the money given out in sports, but take in the fact Brandt Snedeker won $11.4 million winning the Tour Championship on Sunday.
--- Would you rather see a regular concert if you went to see a band or the lead singer have a meltdown on stage. There's a piece of me that wouldn't mind witnessing the latter.
--- The cast of Full House reunited for a 25-year anniversary celebration. (Damn I'm getting old). Of course, the Olsen Twins were too good to join in. Remarkably, Kimmy Gibbler didn't have anything going on.
--- In honor of the Reds big clinching weekend, here's this year's winning song by local band Foxy Shazam. This song will always remind me of this season.