Anything happen this weekend?
Buy a Christmas tree? Hang some lights? Bake cookies? Hire the 2004 AP Coach of the Year?
As I've stated to many people, I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the events of the past weekend. From 7:30 Friday morning until Saturday night it all feels like a blur. Yet, here are the Bearcats, who come out of this event with a re-energized fan base, perspective and national credibility following one of the best off-field weekends in the program's history.
The Bearcats stole the spotlight from RedsFest and a Bengals playoff run -- that's not easy to do.
You can start by praising the efforts of Whit Babcock. I did. Here was my column from Saturday about how he changed the game of UC football. I felt a little remorse after not mentioning President Santa Ono in this, who also deserves credit for this splash. But the effort of Babcock, who looked about as tired as a man could be through all this was something everyone associated with the program should be proud of.
Whit says he never had more than four or five hours of sleep since the Rutgers game and it's been less this week.
"Drank a lot of coffee," he said. "I take a lot of pride in my job and I feel of all the people we represent of whole staff and our coaches and, man, I want to produce for them. I felt for our fans, I take pride in my job, I like being here."
If this weekend were any indication, the fans feel the same way. That was quite a scene at Fifth Third Arena considering it was thrown together remarkably by the UC marketing and operations staff in the span of about five hours. A great day for UC football.
At the bottom of my column Saturday I posted a poll asking if fans felt better, the same or worse about the program than they did one week ago following the shared championship in Connecticut. I figured most would feel better, but there was a strong contingent of Butch Jones supporters who would chime in.
Well, 96 percent of you said you feel better and not one person feels worse. That's an invigorated fan base. I think it's fair to call this the most high-profile hire in school history. Now, for Babcock, the message turns to the fans showing their support of this program and the work its done at the Belk Bowl and in season tickets for next year.
"I hope it re-energizes the fan base," Babcock said. "The ticket jump I think is great. He's undefeated until August so let's make some hay and sell some tickets. and he's a great promoter, one of the most laid-back CEO type leaders I've ever seen. He can be fiery, too. He's our guy."
Let's eat ...
--- The Enquirer took a deeper look behind-the-scenes at the work UC officials have been doing since the latest realignment domino to keep UC in good conference standing. Interesting read and great reporting.
--- In case you hadn't seen Tommy G doing an interview with Tommy T, here is the GoBearcats.com video. The G&T Show? Regardless, a look at the new coach. Of course, if you watched TV at all last night, you probably saw an interview with him as well. He hit Fox19, WLWT and Local12. A little Cincinnati sports media junket.
--- The staff is changing as the Belk Bowl approaches, OL coach Don Mahoney, DC Jon Jancek and assistant Mark Elder already followed Butch Jones to Tennessee. Will be interesting to see how all this changeover effects staff for bowl game.
The one major issue that needs to be fixed around college football is all of this happening between end of regular season and bowl games. There needs to be some kind of embargo placed on hiring before January. Whether recruiting dates need to be moved or something, the messiest part of all of this is the timing in relation to finishing seasons.
--- Zac Jackson at FoxSports writes about the big swing UC took with Tommy T.
--- Matt Fortuna at ESPN held a Q and A with Tuberville and he talked about the offensive system still being a work in progress as far as figuring out what to do. Who ends up being his OC will be the next big move.
--- Over at ESPN they also put together the All-Big East team. Only, unlike the coaches, they actually looked at the stats and placed George Winn where he belongs on the first team.
--- The question everyone wants to know. Will Tuberville stay? He certainly has a far better chance of doing so than snagging a young, up-and-coming coach as has been the case the last three hires. In the constantly changing landscape of college football, that's all you can ask.
--- Look for more information on renovation plans in the coming days, Whit mentioned that a few times over the weekend, but wanted a true unveiling to come at a separate time.
--- Oh, by the way, the basketball team is now 9-0. And with a win at Marshall on Saturday Babcock, President Ono and student boy president Lane Hart will all be shaving their head. The year of the shaved head continues. That's why I'll probably be in tears at midnight New Year's Eve.
--- In maybe the most overlooked blog in my two-plus year history here, I wrote about Mick Cronin looking for more arrogance on the court from Cashmere Wright on Saturday. He started to show it with not only hitting 6 of 7 from deep, but distributing nine assists to just one turnover. He's had a turnover problem this year, once he cures it this offense should hit a new level.
--- KenPom stat update: Of those players used on at least 24 percent of their team's possessions, Cashmere Wright (28th) and Sean Kilpatrick (26th) both rank in the top 30 nationally in offensive rating (overall offensive efficiency).
--- Randomness ...
--- Rolling Stone breaks out the 50 greatest hip-hop songs of all-time. First two I look for -- ATLiens by Outkast, "You're All I Need to Get By" by Mary J. Blige and Method Man and Juice By Notorious BIG. Outkast made the list twice for Rosa Park and B.O.B., but Method and Mary were left off. Juicy came in at 9. I imagine everyone's list would be dramatically different from the person next to you. Which is why they make such great blog fodder.
--- This was the worst free throw attempt ever. No, seriously, worst ever.
--- Huge snowstorm in Minnesota? In related news, jorts spotted in Florida.
--- Really think this song should have been played as Whit Babcock entered the press conference on Saturday. Have a great day everybody.