Heard it From Hoard: Column 28
Alright stat geeks (yes you Lance). Are you ready for a great numerical nugget?
In opening the season with five straight wins by 26-or-more points, Brian Kelly has not only accomplished something that UC's all-time greatest football coach Sid Gillman never did, he's pulled off a statistical feat that Bob Huggins never achieved (four straight in 1999-2000, but never five).
Admittedly the schedule has been favorable, but the Bearcats have arguably been the most dominant team in the country to date. Cincinnati has outscored its opponents 232-53, an average score of 46 to 11. Their smallest lead entering the 4th quarter has been 18 points (26-8 vs. Marshall).
And if making the Top 25 for the first time in 31 years gave them "Barry Bonds Syndrome" (that would be inflated heads), it certainly didn't look like it in crushing San Diego State last Saturday.
"It comes down to maturity," Coach Kelly told me before the game. "We've got 19 seniors and clearly the most important thing for us, is to understand how important each win is. To have a football team that thinks it has arrived because it's ranked this early in the season would obviously be very immature. We've talked about it, and we're gonna rely on 19 seniors to make sure for the rest of the year that we understand that it's one game at a time."
Now the real fun begins. This week at Rutgers, the 'Cats will not only face a team that's ticked off after its first loss of the year, but one that's as hell-bent on getting revenge for last year's loss at Nippert Stadium as Thomas Jane's character was in The Punisher (a big hit on Pawtucket Red Sox bus rides).
Coach Kelly's streak of blowout wins will almost certainly come to an end, but I'm sure that we'll all settle for a squeaker that improves the 'Cats to 6-0!
The reception from Scarlet Knights fans figures to be rude, crude, and lewd and I'm certain at least one of my "10 Fan-mandments" will be broken. It's my list of rules for sports spectators to live by that I occasionally refer to on the broadcast. Here they are:
1. If you are obese or have back hair your shirt must remain on.
2. If you eat stadium food, you must go for something unhealthy.
3. If you appear on the Kiss Cam-no tongue! We don't need to see your Gene Simmons imitation.
4. If you're lucky enough to have a tremendous seat, never call someone on your cell phone to say "hey look at me." Isn't it better if someone says, "I think I saw you on TV..."
5. Adults who catch a baseball must immediately give it to a kid unless...
6. ...it's worth a ton of money. If that case you can sell it or give it back to the guy that hit it if it has historical significance.
7. If you wear a team jersey, it must be of an active player or a team legend. For example, if you're a Bengals fan you can go with anyone on the current roster from Carson Palmer to Chinedum Ndukwe or one of the team's all-time greats like Anthony Munoz or Boomer Esiason. However, if you spent big bucks on Akili Smith or Ki-Jana Carter jerseys, you're out of luck.
8. No foul language-no matter how bad the referee's call or the coaching decision. Have some respect for kids, nuns and the handful of people on the planet who have the self-discipline to only cuss while golfing.
9. No waving a Styrofoam #1 finger. It's never cool.
10. Never boo Santa Claus (as far as I know, this rule is for Philly fans only).
P.S. Sam Hoard turned 17 months old on Wednesday. Here's this week's obligatory photo of the handsome lad.