August 2nd Jump Off

The final five have been revealed in the Down the Drive Ring of Honor voting. You have until the season opener against Austin Peay to vote.

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Bearcat News

Part III In Depth with Butch Jones
Here's part three of Bearcat Lair's interview with Coach Butch Jones. Here are part's one and two if you missed it. I truly think Butch will be successful at Cincinnati if his recruiting says anything about him. Just by upgrading the talent on the Bearcats will make getting wins easier and I think we saw last year during the Miami, Louisville, and Rutgers games just how equally explosive his offense is to Kelly's if run properly. I have also found appreciation for his work ethic in all aspects of the job and his emphasis on running a well balanced offense. However, the chest bumping for last year has got to go and so far I haven't seen any video of it (which doesn't mean it's not happening). His slogans and ideals surrounding a family atmosphere are all well and good but they don't translate to wins and a fanbase that was spoiled under Brian Kelly might grow impatient with Jones if he finishes worse than 7 - 5 next season. I'm more patient than that as I see the transformation of the football program under Jones but I'm also unfortunately in the minority. I just hope Mike Thomas and the rest of the athletic department are just as patient.

The Big East's best: No. 21 - Big East Blog - ESPN
Derek Wolfe clocks in on ESPN's Big East blog's top-25 best players in the conference and it is deservedly so. While he had a down year in 2010 (like basically everyone on the defense not named J.K. Schaffer), he is poised to have an explosive 2011. He's not necessarily a pass rush specialist like Hughes but he can tally quite a few sacks and specializes in stopping the run. Added talent around him should bolster his numbers along with everyone else on the defensive line. I fully expect Wolfe to end his senior season with UC with gawdy numbers.

Football Tabbed Fifth In BIG EAST Preseason Media Poll - University of Cincinnati Official Athletics Site
I'm taking this ranking with a grain of salt as this is only a MEDIA poll and I find it interesting that they have Pitt tabbed for 2nd with the coaching turnover and especially how players brought in to play a pro-style offense will have to adjust to the spread. As for Cincinnati, unless Coach Jones completely forgot how to coach and the team has as many injuries as last year, they won't finished any worse than 5th in this league. In fact, I think they could go as high as 3rd depending on how the dominoes fall throughout the season. The injuries and turnovers last year typically don't occur annually with a team as Murphy's Law pretty much reigned in 2010. Expect a much better Bearcats football team next season.

Recruiting

4-star QB commits to Cincinnati
Bennie Coney committing to Cincinnati is the biggest recruiting news all year. He's the highest rated quarterback UC has ever snagged and, depending upon the recruiting service you check, is the highest rated recruit, too. This commitment is huge for the Bearcats on so many levels. Matt talks about his fit into Butch Jones's system here and how he is literally the perfect quarterback to run the offense. He has a good chance, especially because he is enrolling early, to start for Cincinnati as a true freshman in 2012. But the message this sends is louder than the action itself. It tells other programs that Cincinnati can go into the heart of Florida and grab a highly sout-after talent. It will also pay dividends on the recruiting trail as other highly rated prospects will pay closer attention to Cincinnati because of this. And there's no question the Skyline Chili-Cincinnati deals are already being negotiated.

Around the BEast

Interesting Big East Expansion News
It seems that while the Big East has pushed back any actual expansion until 2012, the squabbling between the football and basketball schools continue. It seems like there is at least consensus on the football side as they generally want to go to 12 football teams. The basketball schools are trying to block that unless the conference can find a team that makes the league as a whole better, like TCU does. John Marinatto is once again caught in the middle relegated to mediate. It seems like the Big East media days are just an opportunity to get all sides in the same room and have them yell at each other. This certainly means that there is a lot of infighting within the conference and tensions are extremely high between the football and basketball schools.

SU football's Marcus Sales facing drug charges | syracuse.com
This is bad news for Syracuse as Sales was expected to be a starting receiver next year. While the Orange specialize in a big offensive line and a bruising running game, they can't pound the rock every snap of the game. Like most pro-style offenses, they use the run to set up the pass and while Ryan Nassib is a solid quarterback, he needs receivers to throw to and if one of his starters isn't on the team due to drug charges, that will only make their offense weaker. Honestly, I really hate when kids do this but especially when athletes do it because their not only hurting themselves, their letting 100+ people in the football program down as they relied on him to stay on the up-and-up.

Around the Nation

Football: DeMatha staff feels rift with Maryland’s new coaches - Recruiting Insider - The Washington Post
Not a good start for Randy Edsall at Maryland, at least on the local recruiting front. He wasn't really well known for recruiting the Connecticut high schools well because it seemed like he didn't try to make relationships there and this trend seems to be continuing in his time at Maryland. This won't necessarily hurt Edsall as he has a history of developing under-the-radar recruits into all-conference players (lineman and running backs in particular) but it doesn't help him win over any locals.

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