The Bearcats officially cracked the AP Top 25 this week and are now ranked in both polls. They rank 21st in the AP and 20 in the Coaches.
Good for them. They've earned it. Little bit of luster taken off the win against Virginia Tech after the Hokies were trounced by North Carolina. Doesn't change 4-0, though. The Bearcats can't ask for much more as they try to run off a perfect non-conference slate.
The divide between upper echelon and the rest grew wider this weekend in the Big East. You now have three undefeated teams in the conference: No. 18 Louisville (5-0, 0-0), No. 20 Rutgers (5-0, 2-0) and No. 21 UC (4-0, 1-0).
None of the other five teams in the conference own a winning record.
Just when it appears Pittsburgh found their stride under Paul Chryst, they score 13 points and lose to Syracuse. You consider UConn as a possible contender, then the Rutgers defense exposes the Huskies quarterback situation as a debilitating weakness. South Florida loses to Temple?
Three games will decide this championship. As for the round robin between the three teams, here's the slate:
Cincinnati at Louisville, Oct. 26
Rutgers at Cincinnati, Nov. 17
Louisville at Rutgers, Nov. 29
Luck fell on the side of competitive balance this year with each team owning a home and away game. All will be even and settled on the field. UC can only hope they won't need a specific result in that Louisville-Rutgers tilt come the end of the season.
Of course, the season can turn dramatically between now and then so I'll stop speculating on speculation.
Let's eat ...
--- Could this be the most consistent UC offense of any since Butch Jones arrived? Bearcats Football SID Ryan Koslen ran some numbers by me that popped the question into my head.
Consider this -- with the 429-yard showing against Miami on Saturday, this made four consecutive games with at least 400 yards. Now, we haven't seen the dramatic 500/600 outbursts of the BK era and six times during Butch's run, but there haven't been the lulls.
Here are the first four games:
The run of four straight games comes for the second time since Butch arrived. The other was the run of Oklahoma, Miami, Louisville, USF in the middle of the 2010 season. One more plus-400 game -- which seems more likely than me crushing the City BBQ buffet before the game --- will make this the most consistent run in these three years.
They now lead the Big East in yards per game and rank No. 29 in the country.
--- All signs of consistency point toward the running game. Three of the first four games UC rushed for better than 250 yards.
Compare that with this stat: In the first 25 games under Jones, the Bearcats exceeded 250 yards on the ground four times. And those came with Isaiah Pead in the backfield. Point to Miami's porous rush defense or playing Delaware State all you want, but they aren't the first lax defenses to run through Nippert Stadium.
At this point, UC ranks 15th in the country in yards per rush (5.51) and 23rd nationally in rushing yards per game. They lead the Big East in both categories.
Time will tell if these stats hold up. Here is the rank against the rush of every FBS team remaining on UC's schedule.
Team -- Rank
Toledo -- 57
Louisville -- 35
Syracuse -- 61
Temple -- 76
Rutgers -- 2
USF -- 76
UConn -- 8
--- Rutgers and UConn will force Munchie Legaux and co., to beat them through the air, but none of the other five opponents are currently ranked better than 35. This running game can carry UC deep into the season.
Top 15 running game and defense ranked among the best in the conference sure sound like a proven recipe for success.
--- Speaking of Munchie, I wrote about riding the Legaux-llercoaster. Excuse my awkward headline. At midnight Saturday it sounded like a great idea.
While many may bemoan the overthrows and inconsistency from Legaux, the way he bounced back in the second half to manage the offense and leave an overmatched Miami program behind deserved as much recognition as the first half criticism.
That's all part of the process for Munchie. Let's not let what happened at Virginia Tech trick us to getting ahead of ourselves here.
Here's three minutes of Munchie talking with myself and other reporters about development, overthrows and playing through it after the game.
--- Overlooked about Munchie on Saturday, he played through injury. He didn't practice until Wednesday last week but worked through a nagging ailment to deliver the seventh straight victory against Miami.
--- Speaking of seven straight, Bill Koch says it here, has the disparity between Miami and UC ever been greater?
--- In case you missed the highlights from Saturday, here's a link.
--- Before we go talking too much about Big East runs, it may be necessary to take a hard look at what Toledo presents.
They have now won five in a row and are a close loss at Arizona away from being undefeated atop a great MAC conference this year.
--- While we spend countless of words discussing offense and defense, a UC special teamer took down the Big East Special Teams Player of the Week award two weeks in a row.
K Tony Miliano won the honor Saturday. He finished 7 of 7 on PATs and hit a 24-yard FG. Quietly, Miliano's been solid this year. He's a perfect 4 of 4 from inside 40 yards and hit 2 of 4 from beyond 40.
Congrats to him.
--- FYI to students: There are still some of the free tickets available for Saturday's game against Fordham.
--- Check out NBATV today at 3 p.m. -- you can do so while filing applications for jobs -- and watch Pete Mickeal's Spanish team play against the Dallas Mavericks.
--- Got a question about my convo with Mick the other night. Just to clarify there were only two parts to the series. Here is the first part and here is the second one.
--- Men's hoops single game tickets now available for UCATS members to buy, BTW.
--- Tommy G spoke with Dr. Santa Ono during halftime of the game Saturday. Here's that interview.
--- Must read on comments made by Eric Winston of the KC Chiefs after fans at Arrowhead Stadium cheered Matt Cassel being knocked out of Sunday's loss to Baltimore.
People need to keep perspective: It's only a game.
--- If Gangnam Style ever held an ounce of coolness -- it didn't -- that shred of dignity certainly disappeared when the NFL on Fox grew broke this out.
--- There is going to be a Hungry, Hungry Hippos movie? I have to assume it ends with one player stealing the balls from everyone else with his hand because that's how it ended every time I played that game as a kid.
--- Best inadvertent humor of the Infield Fly Incident from Friday? MLB's Twitter bio had this line in it before the event and it was almost immediately deleted off after it happened.
"We don't understand the Infield Fly Rule, either."
--- This could be the greatest leopard attack even recorded. Of course, I've never seen a leopard attack before.
--- Been a while since I've posted Pearl Jam. Here's Rearviewmirror live from Pink Pop a few years back.
If you have any comments, questions, criticisms, music suggestions, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter at @pauldehnerjr.