August 3rd 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

Revised college hoops preseason Top 25 - College Basketball - Rivals.com
Jason King has the Bearcats at #19 on his revised preseason rankings. Let's be honest, no matter the rankings you look at Cincinnati will be ranked to start the season. When was the last time you were able to say that? You know the story- returning their top-4 scorers, great incoming recruiting class, and an understanding of Mick's system. But this isn't just about UC. This is the first preseason ranking where Xavier was finally ranked BEHIND Cincinnati. While only one spot behind, it made no sense to me why Xavier was given a ranking from 10-15 when the Bearcats were returning more AND wiped the floor with them last year. Maybe it's my anti-X bias but that just never sat right with me.

Carolina QB Tony Pike sidelined - NFC South Blog - ESPN
Bad news for Tony Pike as he's been sidelined due to shoulder inflammation. Tony's NFL career has been an awkward one since draft day. Not only was he highly criticized coming out of Cincinnati but when he was drafted it was AFTER a quarterback drafted in the first round, which almost already relegated him to at best a backup role. The logic being why would an organization make him a starter when Jimmy Clausen was being paid so much more money. Then in last year's draft the Panthers got their next franchise quarterback in Cam Newton. That just further pushed Tony down the depth chart and with this injury he could be on his way out of Carolina. Let's hope he finds a home on another NFL team.

Video: Cincinnati's Zach Collaros - Big East Blog - ESPN
Andrea's interview with UC quarterback Zach Collaros. Leave it to Zach to be humble and speak very highly of his teammates. For Cincinnati's offense to return to its consistent (and I emphasize consistent) explosiveness it will have to get solid play out of its offensive line and its new group of wide receivers.

Recruiting

Norfleet To Commit ... Sort Of

You'll have to have a membership to 247sports to read this but let me break it down for you. Dennis Norfleet is expected to commit to UC on Friday and is a 4-star runningback out of Michigan BUT he is going to drop Cincinnati if Michigan State or Alabama, among others probably, offers him a scholarships. So, look out for that news later this week but his commitment will be very very soft.

Around the BEast

NBC's new sports channel going after ESPN
What will drive Big East expansion in 2012 and 2013 will be the upcoming TV contract. While all other conferences are locked in during this time, the Big East is the only one negotiating at the time. Their current contract is all but exclusively tied to ESPN and their family of networks and in a preemptive strike lowballed the Big East with an $11 million per football school per year offer for another six year contract when the current one expires. Thankfully, the Big East brass turned down their offer in hopes of more. Now it looks like, as we suspected, NBC is going to try to edge ESPN out for exclusive Big East rights. I would love this as NBC could put Big East games on Saturdays where ESPN right now seems to place Big East games on weeknights or online if they are on the weekends. Overall, there would be better exposure if NBC were to air Big East games and owning Big East basketball would enhance NBC's inventory as well. Everybody wins.

Big East Confident About Future - The Boston Globe College Sports Blog
Speaking of contracts, John Marinatto threw out some numbers to the media about his ideas of what the football schools could get in their next contract:

Marinatto sees numbers in the 19 to 23 million per team range which the SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 have signed off on in recent months.

Seems like a high number but remember, every sentence that the heads of the conference speak will be used in negotiations for TV contracts so he is probably throwing out a higher number that will probably get worked down during the actual negotiations. Look for both sides to settle on a number somewhere in between $15 million and $17 million per football school per year with the new contract. While what Marinatto said is just for show, it's always interesting to hear those numbers right from the horse's mouth.

Seton Hall among schools that could get Big East boot - NYPOST.com
The quote isn't from anyone in the conference but instead from a 'well-respected' television executive but it looks like Seton Hall, Marquette, Providence, and DePaul could be on their way out of the conference as tv contract negotiations heat up. Remember, TV money is driving college football expansion these days so this quote could have more merit than meets the eye but it would be interesting if the conference really grew a pair and axed Providence. While the Big East offices are headquartered there, the school doesn't really bring much to the conference. If only the Big East moved their HQ to New York City where it should have been in the first place this wouldn't even be a subject we would be talking about. Providence would have been grouped in with DePaul and Seton Hall and no one would have thought twice about it.

Around the Nation

List of 2011 top party and stone-cold sober schools from Princeton Review student survey - The Washington Post
If you're a high school senior and are looking for a good party school, check out the list of the top 20 here. Really not too many surprises on the list- Ohio U, Georgia, WVU, Florida State, Wisconsin, but I'm actually kind of surprised my alma mater never made the list. On the flip side, if you're looking to be bored Thursday-Saturday nights, check out the list of the top 20 stone-cold sober schools at the bottom. These are for you kids that study at night on the weekends. Topping that list is BYU. Let's see, they can't drink. They can't have premarital sex with girls. They're located in Provo, freakin', Utah. Thank god the Cougars are good at sports otherwise that might be hell on Earth.

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