So, Cincinnati. This summer, observing the mess that Ben Mauk was creating in Ohio (more appeals than O.J. Simpson) trying to get his eligibility restored for some time-warp he observed in his transfer from Wake Forest (didn't he know only Jason White can play for 7 years?), I figured Cinci would be a mess, rotted from the inside out by distractions and lack of leadership.
I was wrong.
Let's break it down:
After 6 games, they've suffered only one loss, to a very stout Oklahoma team. They've also managed to overcome a quarterback position that has seen more change than Barack's campaign policy (heyyy--ohhhh!). This week 6'5" gunslinger Tony Pike returns, after having suffered a broken left arm playing Akron (well done, Zips). Despite apparently interchangeable quarterbacks, the Bearcats have managed to consistently perform. This is for two reasons:
1) They don't "beat themselves" (well maybe they do, but that's a personal issue). They execute soundly in all phases.
2) They have a veteran offensive line. Led by strong and athletic (and handsome!) Chris Cantfield. He shows up on film as probably the heart of an experienced and talented O-line.
But before I go giving any offense too much credit, I have to say their defense is incredibly talented too.
Conner Barwin should probably be the focus of this post. Who is Conner Barwin, you say? Well, he's the envy of this FWG. So athletic that the kid has caught touchdowns at TE, blocked punts, and played 18 games on the UC basketball team in '05 (all the free Jordans you could ever want...). Beside his expanding shoe collection, he's also leading the Big East in sacks this year. He will provide a tremendous challenge for our offensive line (get your minds right, Mike Hicks and Will Beatty). But it is the opinion of this blogger that there is no one in the country the UConn offense can't block (except for me).
Another force on their D-line is Terill Byrd (I only fly away?). Pre-season All-America, All-Big East, and a host of other accolades. He's a player, so stay tuned.
That's all for now, I'll check in later (I promise) with more. But before I sign off...
Some Final Thoughts:
I received an e-mail asking if I hated Cincinnati. I mean, they're not Rutgers, so the answer is "No." Actually, feel free to use that as your recruiting slogan: Cincinnati: Hey, at least we're not Rutgers.
I have already addressed how I feel about homecoming. Yes, this is our homecoming. No, it doesn't mean we scheduled Cinci because we think they are an easy win and want to please students and alumni (and donors, wink-wink). It's simply the next game on our schedule, meaning it's the most important one.
Not often do I talk about our coaching staff (aside from Coach Edsall's self-cutting hair). But today at the end of practice (and I know my teammates will agree), Coach reminded me why I signed at UConn and what it means to be a UConn football player, beyond the gridiron. Having played for UConn I will always have my "forever friendships" and carry a set of values that have become an inherent part of the man I am. These values include putting family above all else. So thank you, Coach, for reminding me of just how far we've come and for being a shining example of these things in our lives.
Lastly, make sure you sign the petition to raise awareness for Childhood Cancer.