I know only about half of you wake up in a good mood this morning, but I'll try to brighten the day with some witty banter. Or at least some remind you the Bearcats are playing to go to 7-2 overall and 3-1 in the conference on Saturday. The basketball team opens one of the most anticipated seasons in recent history on Sunday.
See, you should feel better already. If not, I recommend coffee and a danish.
--- In case you missed it, yesterday I wrote about the comments from Butch Jones, Brendon Kay and Jordan Luallen from the Tuesday availability. I don't plan on turning this blog into a QB speculation epicenter, so if you want to know the situation read that because I won't be repeating or expounding on it unless news breaks.
Scott at Bearcats Blog involved me in a roundtable discussion about the quarterbacks here, if you are looking for some more fodder.
Of course, there is Bill Koch's piece here.
--- I also caught up with newest Bengal JK Schaffer this week and detailed the conversation on the blog yesterday afternoon. Just pumped to see JK down there and hope everything works out for him. His key will be to show some of his capabilities in practice the rest of this season and then be in the conversation to kill it next training camp. In the new NFL where backers who make plays on the ball and excel in coverage are in high demand, he could definitely help the Bengals.
He's certainly got a city rooting for him.
--- Kevin Kelly also detailed JK's arrival. And it's really been a bad month or so for headline writers over there. Which, to specify, is not Kelly, who does great work.
--- Butch Jones talked a bit about having perspective during yesterday's press conference, I think he made a valid point worth reiterating.
Here was his quote:
"Name me another college football team in America maybe Alabama that's had to replace the graduating talent that we have had to replace. To be sitting at 6-2 and be playing meaningful games in November and being in a Big East title hunt I think that's a tremendous story that everyone here should be extremely proud of. Are we satisfied with it? Absolutely not. You are never satisfied as a coach but I think we have some players that are grinding things out on a day to day basis they're gritty they understand what they are representing."
Not that winning every game isn't the objective, but any doom and gloom surrounding this portion of the season needs to be shelved. The team is 6-2 and 2-1 in the conference with the chance at a share or better in the Big East within reach. They were one overtime period away from the undeniable driver's seat in the conference.
All this has been done with a team that lost its starting quarterback, leading tackler, offensive player of the year and defensive player of the year in the conference.
They lost more in the NFL draft than any other school in the conference:
- Cincinnati: 4 (DL Wolfe, RB Pead, DL Hughes, TE Robinson)
- Temple: 3 (RB Pierce, TE Rodriguez, OLB Whitehead)
- Syracuse: 2 (DE Jones, G Tiller)
- Rutgers: 1 (WR Sanu)
- Louisville: 1 (DE Scruggs)
- UConn: 1 (DE Reyes)
- USF: 0
- Pitt: 0
And, oh by the way, UC also lost its best overall player in Walter Stewart.
Yet, here they are with only one OT conference loss the difference between them and top dog in the Big East. Perhaps the expectations created from both last year's run and the early success this season evaporated that perspective, but this is not a team full of prolific seniors. It is predominantly a young team (65 first and second year players) trying to find its way.
They've been finding a way to win with a number of inexperienced pieces playing a major role. This team has three games left against the worst three teams in the league and a huge home tilt against Rutgers. Winning out would be considered far from a longshot at this point.
At worst that would mean fifth 10-win season in the last six years and date in one of the top three Big East bowl games. Depending on Louisville's ability to win at Cuse and at Rutgers, it could mean at least another share of the Big East title or better.
When you combine the possible season accomplishments paired with the facts of what this team rebuilt during the offseason, I think a better perspective should remain about the respect this group deserves.
--- Andrea Adelson details what all the teams in the Big East have left to play for.
--- Don't look now but George Winn could be playing himself into an NFL conversation. This from CBSSports.com.
-- The New York Post with some love for Sean Kilpatrick.
--- Randomness ...
--- Creative punishments are the best. Congrats Cleveland. I know a lot of Browns fans who would hang a sign of this ilk around Pat Shurmur's neck during games.
--- I really thought the Magic would go undefeated.
--- Dave Grohl returning to Queens of the Stone Age. Which of course leads to this. Have a great day everybody.