We've officially reached the offseason lull, which only means it's time to start the countdown to opening day against Purdue.
Today reaches 102 days until UC kicks off against the Boilermakers at Nippert Stadium. Not exactly tomorrow, but nearly double digits. I'll take grasping onto double digits if it means we start talking about football again.
With the junior college transfers now in the house and more still on the way, the cast of characters are officially moving from concept to reality. Reality insists this Bearcats team should be atop the list looking up at Louisville in The American when the season begins. Much has been made of their ninth easiest schedule in the country, according to Phil Steele. (By the way, big bad B1G power Ohio State plays the 21st easiest schedule on that list, just saying)
The bottom line is the two challenging non-conference foes it turns out don't look as challenging as originally thought. For instance, Purdue and Illinois are projected to the bottom two spots in a weak B1G in this preview piece.
Confidence and wins can produce magical results, not just for the national profile but development of the players. All is yet to be seen and nobody can see much clearly right now 102 days out, but there's plenty of reason to be excited in Clifton.
Let's eat ...
--- The American is wrapping up its conference meetings in Florida. They could be looking to bring their own bowl game there as well. A fantastic idea that appears to be gaining steam. A bowl game at Marlins Park would be a great trip for any fan base. The key will be procuring a quality partner conference to match up against.
For my Saved By the Bell aficionados (sorry UC students), it's the equivalent of when Zack held a separate prom from the actual prom in a romantic candlelit picnic table setting because Kelly Kapowski's broke folks couldn't afford the real one. Now, that's all fine and good as kissing was followed by high-pitched screams from the piped in audience track. Lovely.
Yet, if he sets all that up for one of Screech's debate nerd girls, it sure doesn't feel quite so special. Now, The American probably shouldn't expect a Kapowski equivalent opponent (she is clearly the SEC of this scenario), but they'd surely settle for a Tori sans biker jacket (B1G) or non-hopped up Jesse Spano (ACC).
I know you didn't expect obscure SBTB analogies today, but that's the kind of mood I'm in.
--- Random aside: Why did Lisa Turtle never have any real love interests despite fending off Screech's creepy advances. And shouldn't she have just filed a restraining order and be done with it?
--- Also, the financial terms for the exit fee distribution have been ironed out. It's not as lucrative as the original amount expected for UC, UConn and USF, but still would fill quite a few gym bags.
--- Memphis for the 2014 AAC tournament would be fine with me. Incredible venue, great city, great food. Rendezvous, I'll see you soon.
--- MIck Cronin is proud to be an American, as Mike DeCourcy writes. We've talked at length about the advantages of this move for the basketball program and I think there are many more than people realize. Mick delves into a few of those.
Without a doubt, the league should already be negotiating with Hulk Hogan and the WWE for theme music.
--- The baseball season officially wrapped up last weekend. Our Ashley Davis, who did a fantastic job covering the team this season for the blog, took a look at the development of one of the best freshmen classes in recent memory at UC.
You'd have to start giving thought to 2B Ian Happ for a freshman All-American nod.
Here was his slash line (BA/OBP/SLG): .322/.451/.483. He added 41 runs, 36 RBI and 6 homers.
Let's take those numbers for Happ in comparison to the Baseball America 1st team Freshman AAs last season for infielders. I'll even throw in the second team AA second basemen for context:
2012 BA 1st Team Frosh AA Infielders
|Ian Happ, 2B, Cincinnati||.322||.451||.483||41||36||6|
|Sam Travis, 1B, Indiana||.319||.397||.509||41||50||9|
|Pat Kelly, 2B, Nebraska||.313||.345||.521||27||37||8|
|Trea Turner, 3B, NC State||.336||.432||.459||72||43||5|
|Andrew Daniel, SS, San Diego||.339||.494||.487||37||45||4|
|Casey Turgeon, 2B, Florida (2nd team AA)||.281||.368||.407||35||30||4|
Still wondering if Happ belongs among the first team Frosh All-Americans? His numbers stack up almost exactly in the middle of last year's collection of infielders. The RBI numbers is the only one that falls to the bottom of the list, but that can be as much accredited to lack of opportunity in front of him as anything else.
You have to take defense into consideration here as well, and, that did prove to be the weakness that could come back to haunt Happ as he committed a team-high 23 errors.
With the stick, however, his stands stand exactly where last year's top freshman infielders landed.
Those awards won't be out for a while, but look for Happ to be in the conversation once they are released later this summer.
--- Randomness ...
--- Anything involving Chris Rock is funny to me. I think this picture fits the bill.
--- The original baby from the Hangover is returning for Hangover 3. That's cool, I assume, but nobody will really know that. Well, except you informed readers.
--- I have had more trouble lately with phone battery issues than ever since buying my iPhone 4S a year and a half ago. Turns out, this 18-year-old at a Science Fair may have all my answers. Let's make this happen immediately, Apple. Freaking awesome.
--- The 10 Greatest Moments in Charlotte Bobcats History is exactly what you think it would be.
--- How about some Pitbull? Why not. It even comes with a special cameo to tie a bow around my SBTB tangent. Have a great day everybody.