We are powering through this week towards the biggest game for the Cincinnati Bearcats football team this season. At this point of the year, with 4 games left, you can say that about all of them. The bowl game might not be the biggest game of the year, but don't take that tone with me. The Rutgers game is an odd one. There are a lot of mixed emotions. UC fans believe that UC can win out. Rutgers fans are probably salivating at the thought of having UC's backup in there so the Bearcats don't put 500 yards of offense on their heads a 3rd straight year. Both fan bases are wondering what it's going to be like when Munchie Legaux takes the field for 60 minutes on Saturday. I can say I believe in him all I want, and I do, but I'm just as anxious as you to see how he stands in a hostile road environment against the best team Cincinnati will play in the wind up to the regular season.
Big plays for Munchie and the UC offense could be something to watch. The man Paul Dehner points out that 25% of the TDs Rutgers have given up have been from 50+. That's a whole lot. I think the opportunity for a big pass is there. One would think that Rutgers would try to stop the run and force Legaux to put the ball in the air. Trying to stop Isaiah Pead is not an easy thing. Good (bad) luck with that game plan, Rutgers.
Bill Koch has a nice piece about Munchie up. He gets into Munchie's recruitment, which was helped by Isaiah Pead. The biggest bombshell is that his name is Benton. There is also this nice quote by Munchie:
"A lot of people have been coming up and saying we believe in you. We believe you can win these last three games for us. Don't try to do too much. We have your back."
Andrea Alderson from ESPN tells us what to watch in the Big East this week. The one I'm most worried about is this:
3. Mohamed Sanu vs. Cincinnati secondary. The Bearcats face one of the top receivers in the Big East for the second straight week. They didn't do so well containing Stedman Bailey or Tavon Austin last week -- each player had more than 100 yards receiving with Bailey hauling in a 59-yard touchdown. Now they face the tough task of playing against Sanu, who is second in the nation in receptions per game (9.4) and the undisputed go-to guy for Rutgers quarterback Chas Dodd. It is a safe bet that Cincinnati will be just fine at stopping an anemic rushing game. The Bearcats have the advantage at the line of scrimmage, too. But if there is an area they can get beat in, it is in the secondary with Sanu running free.
Doubs A also has her award candidates listed. She had Pead at 3 for offense, and JK second on defense. JK is behind tackling machine Khaseem Greene. Butch Jones is currently her coach of the year. I'm sure she's fine with me calling her Doubs A.
CBS fantasy has some help for your college football fantasy team. Before I post the relevant quote, I want to be in a college fantasy league. Next year there has to be one. Same for basketball. Let's make it happen. Anyway, they say SIT to one Bearcat:
Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati vs. Rutgers: This may seem odd to recommend sitting one of the nation's most dynamic running backs, but hear me out. First of all, Rutgers has a stout rush defense that ranks 58th in the nation. More importantly though is that the Bearcats will be facing the Scarlet Knights without Zach Collaros. Sure, Munchie Legaux did well against West Virginia, but his presence as a runner will detract from Pead's performance. Pead could still go off, but he is a bit too risky to give starting him a thumbs up.
Rutgers wise, NJ.com has a piece about how Jeremy Deering is helping the Rutgers ground game get going. Greg Schiano had this to say about Deering:
“He’s an explosive guy. He’s a decisive guy. I’ve told you the things I want him to work on (such as) running with his pads down a little more. I don’t know if that’s going to happen. That just may be his running style. And if he gets in the open no one is going to catch him.”
There is a video on there about how this is perhaps the biggest Rutgers game in years. We know how the last biggest Rutgers game in years went against UC.
The Daily Targum has an article about how Rutgers is going to keep with their league worst ground game against the league best UC rush defense.
Speaking of run games, Matt from DtD has a look at the UC zone read. Probably will see that play a lot Saturday. His piece is a very interesting read. Especially the part of how UC didn't really run the zone read, and that's part of the reason Isaiah Pead's rushing numbers dip in the second half. That's true of the 3rd quarter especially.
Down the Drive has a second note for us today, and it's about how UC took a 1.4 million dollar bath in sponsorship money for the PBS games. I don't remember where I saw this, but I think the issue was with the vendor deals. Do not quote me on that.
Chris from Bearcats Nation has a look at the Butch Jones press conference from this week.
A couple of basketball thoughts. What happened to Pitt last night, losing to Long Beach State, could have absolutely happened to UC on Tuesday. That's why it's important not to sleep walk on these guarantee games. You never know who is going to make shots. If that team believes they can win, giving them the confidence they can during the game is dangerous. Also, Pitt's defense, ouch babe.
I was set to huff and puff about basketball attendance today, but my friend Jamie from Voodoo 5 made a good point. People are going to come when it matters, and body bag games suck. People came last year to the big ones. People will come this year to the big ones. This is part of the reason why it was so stupid for UC to play another cream puff non-con schedule. I had as good a chance as anyone of you to going to the games, but I wasn't going to pay to watch Jacksonville State. I'm not going to pay to watch Presbyterian. 4,500 is depressing to see for Cincinnati basketball, but if you don't give people a reason to go, they aren't going to go. Now if there are under 7K for the Marshall game, I would be a little pissed off. Until then, whatever.
The UC volleyball team earned the 2 seed in the Big East this year. They start tournament play tomorrow afternoon at 4:30 against 7 seed Villanova. The ladies are receiving top 25 votes. They have made the championship game the last 2 seasons. This is the year they break through. Good luck.
UC baseball signed recruit Jeff Murray this past week. Murray is a 1st baseman who hit .400 with 4 homers and 26 RBIs in an injury shortened season. Some are calling him the only Cincinnati 1st baseman they are aware of. That would be me. Best of luck, Jeff.
UC lacrosse is going to take part in something special this season, San Diego State's first lacrosse season. UC plays the first home game against the Aztecs. I didn't know UC played lacrosse either, person who didn't know UC played lacrosse.
Finally for today my good friend Sean Keeley from Nunes Magician has an in depth interview with Byron Byerson about Syracuse's opponent this week, Bye Week.