For those who haven't been paying close enough attention this week, I don't condone it, but here is a helpful cheat sheet so you can be an informed fan heading into Saturday's game against No. 22 Rutgers.
Where: Nippert Stadium, (turf, outdoors)
When: Saturday, noon, Big East Network/Local12/700WLW
Forecast: Temperature in 50s, no clouds, precipitation expected
2012 records: Bearcats 7-2, 3-1 Big East, Scarlet Knights 8-1, 4-0
Ranking: Rutgers is ranked 22 in the AP poll and 20 in the Coaches Poll. UC is receiving votes in both
Tickets: Tickets are still available. Student tickets are sold out, but $15 student overflow tickets are available
What to wear: Wear black.
Past results: This series has been filled with oddities. The last game at Nippert broke multiple Big East offensive records in a 69-38 UC victory. Last year, the first start for Munchie Legaux, Rutgers defense throttled UC and won 20-3 in Piscataway.
Need to know: This serves as a Big East championship game of sorts. UC will be heavily favored in its two final contests against USF and UConn. Beating Rutgers on Saturday means they would only need to take care of business the final two weeks and get Rutgers to beat Louisville at home the final week of the season in order for UC to win the Big East title and BCS berth.
A loss eliminates UC from any opportunity to win the Big East title.
It's that simple. This will be the biggest game of the year and most significant implications for a game at Nippert Stadium in the Butch Jones era.
Need to know quote: Butch Jones on how good this Rutgers team is:
"They are the most, THE MOST complete football team we have played to date."
Need to know stat: The Scarlet Knights have never won two Big East road games in the month of November. In fact, they are 4-25 all-time in November road Big East contests.
Who to know: Senior DT Scott Vallone. All the talk will be about defending Big East co-Defensive Player of the Year Khaseem Greene. And he deserves much of it with the way he tracks down every play. He racked up 22 tackles last week against Army's triple-option. But, without the 6-3, 275-pound Vallone holding down the middle Greene wouldn't be uninhibited to the ball. Vallone made 47 consecutive starts -- the most of any active player in the Big East. He's tied for the team lead with 7.5 TFL. For the true, traditionalist football fan, watch Vallone vs UC center Dan Sprague for a feel of how the UC running game is doing.
Defining matchup: UC run game vs. Rutgers run defense. Two of the very best in the country at what they do. Take a deeper look at this matchup and encouraging numbers for the Bearcats in this piece from today's blog.
Delving deeper: Hidden yardage alert! A game where points will come at a premium could easily be decided on special teams. Both teams are capable of creating explosive plays in the kicking game. Rutgers comes into the game as the top team in the nation returning kicks. Keep in mind, they've only returned 10 kickoffs all season (!) but in those they are averaging better than 30 yards per return.
They've taken 20 percent of their returns out more than 50 yards. Also, Rutgers is yet to allow a kickoff return longer than 40 yards.
By the numbers: UC will need to be cognizant of jump balls on the perimeter. Rutgers leading receivers both come tall and physical. Sophomore Brandon Coleman comes in at 6-foot-6, 220 pounds. Opposite him will be senior Mark Harrison at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds. Both can go up top and bully for position in tight quarters.
Up against them will be 5-11, 196-pound Deven Drane and 5-9, 187-pound Cam Cheatham.
Rutgers has connected on at least one pass of 30-plus yards in every game except for one this season and 24 total.
Injury update: Rutgers leading rusher Jawan Jamison was deemed 50-50 to play early in the week, but given the green light by coach Kyle Flood on Friday.
Quotent Quotables: Brendon Kay on earning a week of experience against Temple and succeeding with two deep TD passes:
"The opportunity came and I took advantage of it. It's a confidence boost just to get out there and do it. You do it so many times in practice, but you are wondering if it will be the same way in the game and what-if, to do it in a game is a confidence boost."
Looking Ahead: Can't look past this game. A win here and two games against the bottom two teams in the conference --- including USF without BJ Daniels await.
Words from Butch Jones: Tommy G sat down with Butch Jones on Bearcats Football Weekly to discuss Saturday's game and the state of the Bearcats. Here's the link.
Hype video: Video Shane and the crew broke out the dramatics for the big game this week. Can't really stress the enormity of it.