Plenty to sift through over the course of this week. UC (6-2, 2-1) travels to Temple (3-5, 2-3) on Saturday for a noon kick at Lincoln Financial Field. The quarterback question will undoubtedly hover over every media availability and UC football conversation this week. The basketball team rounds out its exhibition season tonight at 7 p.m. against Bellarmine, whose no stranger to knocking off major conference opponents. The season opener comes Sunday against Tennessee-Martin.
Something about an election on Tuesday. I guess we may have an important vote or something (need to turn on my sarcasm font for that one, regardless of affiliation folks, go out and vote. If you ever need to know every vote counts look at the millions being spent in our state alone trying to persuade you)
Fifth Third Arena played host to President Obama last night with 13,500 in the building and another few thousand in Armory overflow, according to Tommy G. About 30k showed up to see Mitt Romney and Kid Rock in West Chester on Friday. A Romney blimp hovered over Paul Brown Stadium before the Bengals game. Yeah, they are interesting in your vote. If this election went even one week longer, I'm pretty sure Romney and Obama would be holding a fourth debate in my living room.
I will spare everyone the political rhetoric, however, and delve right into The Breakfast. Let's eat ...
--- While every other member of the media wrote about the quarterbacks on Saturday, I tackled the real story of the 2012 Bearcats: George Winn. ICYMI, here's the postgame column on the Bearcats rock.
Monday, he was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Week. Congrats to George.
While on the topic, hard to believe we'd be discussing running back records coming off the year @iPead enjoyed last season and a three-headed rotation being promoted entering the year, but Winn's on pace for an all-time UC rushing season.
Winn racked up 897 yards in eight games, averaging 112.1 yards per game. That's good for 13th in the country.
With UC almost certainly headed to a bowl game that means a 13-game season. Counting the bowl game he's on pace for 1,458 yards.
Where would that rank on UC's all-time single season rushing list? No. 1.
- Player (year): Rushing Yards
- DeMarco McCleskey (2002): 1,361
- Reggie Taylor (1986): 1,325
- Allen Harvin (1978): 1,283
- Isaiah Pead (2011): 1,259
- Robert Cooper (1999): 1,245
As always, I can't continue to praise Winn without praising the job the offensive line is doing in front of him. And remember, all five of the current starters will be back here next year. The future is bright for the running game.
-- Plus, Winn broke out the jump pass and landed at No. 1 on the SportsCenter Top plays list for the weekend. Loved him talking about the play after the game. Here's that video.
And here's the play, which at the time of the post is approaching 890k views. Must be because I referenced His Tebowness when Tweeting about it. (Did that reference crash the servers?)
--- Temple on the docket this week and the bad news for the Owls -- among a number of ominous items -- they rank dead last in the Big East in rushing defense. If you only look at conference games, they are slightly better finishing 5th of eight teams, but still in the bottom half.
The Bearcats plan for victory won't be a secret at The Link.
The Owls slammed back to earth the last three weeks. After enjoying a 2-0 start against the cellar of the conference in USF and UConn, they were outscored 127-44 the last three weeks by Rutgers, Pitt and Louisville. That's an average final of 42-15. UC will enter as heavy favorites to jump to 7-2.
--- OK, OK, I guess we have to talk QB situation, right?
Bottom line: Brendon Kay provided the spark that UC needed to beat Syracuse on Saturday. It was a great effort and Kay deserves credit for making the plays when called upon. But he went 3 for 3 for 32 yards and didn't throw a pass down the field. Butch Jones said he will compete with Munchie Legaux this week to see who ends up the starter against Temple. Jones made what he called a "gut decision" Saturday. It proved to be right. What that means for the big picture future of the position wasn't decided with three passes in one quarter, though. Nor should it be.
You have to imagine we will see Kay in some capacity against Temple. Whether this turns to a three-headed Luallen, Kay, Legaux monster or all-Kay all-day, we shall see.
--- Caution: Opinion coming, proceed with caution.
Maybe as reporters sometimes we can get too close, but I feel for Munchie. He's taken a lot of heat this year, much of which is deserved, and worked as hard as anybody to overcome it. He's a good guy and one you can't help but root for. Unfortunately, in the judgmental state of athletics we live in he had to endure boos on Saturday. Really hate when that happens, especially at college games. He's an adult and understands that comes with the territory of playing QB at this level, but does it help to boo a 20-year-old kid? It's different when pro athletes are making millions of dollars to play to a certain level. This kid is going to school, practicing almost every day and staying up all hours studying film and the playbook. That's his week. And he gives everything he has to help this program win. Yes, sometimes he falls short. As adults, we should be about more than that.
I personally don't like the booing, but won't stay on the soapbox any longer and judge those who do. Just wish it didn't happen.
--- This news broke last week, but I briefly wanted to touch on it. UC signed up for a home-and-home with BYU in 2015 and 2016. I saw a few people wondering if this was a "marquee opponent" on the Twitters. This shouldn't be a question if you look at the facts.
BYU has won at least 10 games five of the last six seasons. Only in 2010 did they not reach double digits. They've been nearly identical to UC in that regard. If you believe BYU isn't a marquee opponent you don't believe the Bearcats are on the flip side and I can't imagine anybody whose followed this program closely would make that claim.
Now, as far as what Provo, Utah will look like in late October, that may be a different story. Let's hope this global warming thing speeds up between now and then.
--- The Bearcats held at No. 3 in the ESPN Big East Power Rankings. That's about right for now. No matter, though, it will be decided on the field when Rutgers comes here in two weeks.
Syracuse will host Louisville this weekend at the Carrier Dome. The Orange showed here they have the talent to pull the upset. They just can't let those few mistakes cost them. A Cuse win would change the complexion of the Big East race 180 degrees.
--- CBSSports.com looks at the best and worst around the conference in Week 10.
Definitely among the worst is a season-ending ankle injury for USF QB B.J. Daniels. I was looking forward to seeing him play one final time here in a few weeks. Unfortunately, his career with the Bulls is over.
--- Bellarmine comes to town tonight. They are about as good as it gets in Division II. Remember, two years ago they beat West Virginia and Xavier in the preseason. They are no joke. Should be another fun game to watch. Looking forward to seeing more of what Titus Rubles brings to the table for the Bearcats, hard not to enjoy the first taste he gave last week.
--- Great story from Bill Koch with words from Whit Babcock supporting Mick Cronin and looking to extend his contract even further.
This quote stood out to me and I couldn't agree more with Whit:
"With what Mick did leadership-wise after last year's incident, he really rallied everybody. How he led us out of that situation may be Mick's defining moment."
Mick doesn't like to discuss the Xavier situation in those terms and says nothing feels different for him since the incident occurred, but there's not doubt from a perception, respect and credibility standpoint it solidified his standing. Maybe more than anything, it opened people's eyes to the great job he had been doing over the past six years.
--- Enough of that, time for some randomness ...
--- Louie C.K. hosted SNL on Saturday and while they weren't all gems, he, of course, killed it. No more so than in this sketch parodying his own show as if it were about Abe Lincoln.
--- If you watch one thing today, let it be the speech of Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano after their win on Sunday. He came back as he's been out battling leukemia in recent weeks. Special moment and incredible perspective.
--- Saw the movie Seven Psychopaths this weekend. Vintage Christopher Walken absurdity. Recommend.
--- Boy Meets World is returning. Or for adults my age, an opportunity to think back glowingly on our youth when we ogled Topanga every Friday.
--- Jim Rome's horse won a Breeder's Cup race. Love that guy. Rack him. Phe....nomenal.
--- Since Stevie was in the building yesterday, have to go with Superstition for song of the day.
I want to hear from you. Shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Twitter at @pauldehnerjr with any questions, comments, criticisms or to offer YouTube clips of your own Jim Rome impressions.