Yet Another Out of Conference Game Saturday

Oh wait, Cincinnati is in the Big EAST?  Right, my bad.  I forgot.

It’s almost the same exact feeling as UConn last week (just replace UConn with Cincinnati in every sentence).  Once again, I know it’s a decently-sized game against a frisky team, but I just can’t get excited.  At least UConn’s basketball heritage reminds me that they’re supposed to be in this conference.  But Cincinnati?  They’re still a Conference USA team, at least until they do something of national importance (losing by 20+ to Oklahoma doesn’t count).

Even in one of our worst years (imagine saying that about a 2 loss season 10 years ago), we’re still running roughshod over the Big EAST.  I fully expect us to go undefeated the rest of the way.  In fact, there’s not a doubt in mind.  Maybe this is how Miami felt in the 90’s — it’s us and then the rest of a mediocre conference.

I guess I just wish the rest of the Big EAST could get their shit together.  Seriously, what confidence am I supposed to have when Louisville loses to Syracuse, Pitt loses to Rutgers, and USF loses to everybody?  These are the other top teams in this conference and they’re out there puking all over themselves.  Sure, we had some early season hiccups, but the kinks are getting worked out.

Luckily, we have the Big EAST to work them out against.

Mick the Prick

No heart, or stars at the ‘Shoe!
Maybe a win every blue moon!
No pots of gold and rainbows!
Just a traitorous coach who joined Pitino!

Wikipedia says that Mick, from the prefix “Mc”/”Mac” meaning “son of” that is commonly found in Irish surnames, is considered more offensive in the U.K. and U.S.

The always handy Racial Slur Database says that Mick is not as derogatory as “Paddy.”

The 25314 says that nothing can be as offensive as this Mick.

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Game Recap: Cincinnati


At times, we made Cincinnati look silly. At times, Cincinnati made us look silly. Sure, our good plays outnumbered there’s, but anytime a team racks up that many yards against you, you know you haven’t played your best. But even without our best, we went on the road and beat the #22 team in the country. I don’t care what my expectations are these days, that’s a good win.

Thoughts from the game:

  • Luckily, we saved our fumbling problems until we were “comfortably” ahead. Seriously, at this point, I have no idea what to think about this. Has a team ranked so high in turnover margin had this many problems just giving the ball away in key situations? If you think this isn’t a huge problem you’re kidding yourself.

    It doesn’t seem to be confined to any one player, either. Sure, this week, it was Pat White, but he also carried the ball on seemingly every play down the stretch. Against Louisville, Steve Slaton joined the act. Against South Florida, the entire team wanted to give the ball to the Bulls. Whatever the problem, it needs fixed. Pull a James Caan in “The Program” and hand every skill player a football to carry around campus for the next month. I don’t care how it gets done, but the epidemic needs to be stopped.

  • Play Noel Devine more.
  • Bad things happen when quarterbacks scramble against WVU. Bad things really happen when they scramble laterally and look the throw. Cincinnati’s Ben Mauk exposed our secondary the same way USF’s Matt Grothe did over a month ago. Our defenders need to find that happy medium between stopping a potentially scrambling QB and that wide-open WR running free in the secondary.
  • Play Noel Devine more.
  • Of course, the run defense was absolutely stifling. Cincinnati had no chance to throw the ball late in the game, and with an 18 point lead (on the road), the pass defense is going to give up some yards. I understand that. But kudos to the defense on forcing them to pass. When you can shut down an entire half of a team’s offense, it makes things a little easier.
  • Play Noel Devine more.
  • The BCS dominoes keep falling our way, don’t they? Now, all WVU has to hope for is either an LSU loss or an Oklahoma victory in the Big 12 Championship game. With a healthy Sam Bradford, OU should be favored against either Missouri or Kansas. Whatever you do for the next few weeks, do not allow yourself to be talked into being scared of either a) Ohio State or b) Arizona State. Neither will pass us. I promise.

Well, that’s about it for Cincinnati. I’m sure a few highlight videos will hit YouTube later this week, and when that happens, you’ll find them here.

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Open Thread: Cincinnati


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Road To The BCS: Cincinnati


I really hate games like this. Why? Because this is a true test. We enter Cincinnati favored by the smallest margin of the year, 6 points. We’re playing on the road, against a team that creates about 37 turnovers per game (actually, 3.5/game), in the national spotlight. Beat Cincinnati and it should be a marquee win. But it won’t be. National pundits will write it off simply as beating Cincinnati, once a basketball powerhouse. But however the nation wants to look at it, we still need to get it done Saturday night under the lights. Here’s how it’s going to happen…

When WVU has the ball:

West Virginia’s offense has been very hot/cold this year. In games like Western Michigan, East Carolina, and Rutgers, we have been unstoppable. Against USF, however, we absolutely flat-lined. Unfortunately for us, Cincinnati’s defense is as close to the USF squad as we’ve seen. Plus, they’re also playing in the “biggest game in program history,” just as the USF game was billed. Need another reason why Cincinnati’s defense is going to be geeked up?

If this game doesn’t go to plan, it will almost assuredly be blamed on turnovers. Cincinnati leads the nation in takeaways (35), though the majority of those have come on interceptions (22). West Virginia, while having the fewest giveaways in the Big EAST, has started a recent trend of putting the ball on the turf in key situations. Interceptions don’t scare me. Pat White has done a great job throughout his career of managing games and keeping his throws out of high-risk situations. It’s the fumbling that could be troubling. If WVU can hang onto the ball for 60 minutes, I really like our chances. If not? I don’t want to even think.

When Cincinnati has the ball:

The WVU defense should be prepared for Louisville lite this week. The Bearcat offense revolves around the arm of Ben Mauk. If he is able to throw the ball down the field, as Brohm did last week, the holes may open in the running game.

This puts extra pressure on Mundy and Andrews to step up in run support. Cincinnati is a more complete offense team than Louisville. They will not abandon run to throw the ball 60 times. This may scare some people but I think it plays right into the strength of WVU’s defense.

We will stuff the run and fill the holes that opened in the secondary last week. Look for Mundy and Andrews to have break-out games.

I’ll be honest, I had absolutely no clue that the head coach at Cincinnati was Brian Kelly up until a few weeks ago. He has an impressive all-time record of 137-52-2, and has captured two Division II National Championships during his time at Grand Valley State. Good job, sir. Too bad this is the Football Bowl Series and CRR will be peering into his soul from the opposite sideline. For all the grief I give CRR I still love him as our coach and he does a hell of a job a majority of the time.

For all the talk about the WVU offense versus the Bearcat defense, the game could ultimately determined by special teams. Devine should be back for every kickoff after almost breaking one against Louisville and with the risk-taker Rivers returning punts it could always be all or nothing.

Picks To Click:

UPDATE: forgot to include the predicted WVU score. Ooops.

West Virginia (-6) 29
Cincinnati 19

Note: Stiles predicts a Cincinnati win. Feel free to stone him to death.

Stiles (season record = 31-27-2)

Air Force Force Force -11 vs. San Diego State
Clemson -8.5 vs. Boston College
Houston -11.5 vs. Marshall
Michigan +4 vs. Ohio State
Oklahoma @ Texas Tech OVER 66

5th Year Senior (season record = 20-14-2)

Michigan +4 vs. Ohio State
Syacuse +18.5 @ UConn
Kansas State +7.5 vs Missouri
Rice -3 vs. Tulane
Cal -7 @ Washington

Charley West (season record = 34-25-1)

Miss. State +11 @ Arkansas (in Little Rock)
Kansas State +7.5 vs. Missouri (in Kansas City)
Wisconsin -14 @ Minnesota
Northwestern +13.5 @ Illinois
NC State +6.5 @ Wake Forest

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The Face Of Fear


Oh wait, nevermind.

(Game preview/picks coming around noon.)

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I’ll Take This Saturday

Yeah, I know, Cincinnati is a good team. Sure they beat us as recently as 2003. Yeah, they’re ranked in the top 25. But everytime I think of them, I think of this game. Just getting used by a young, impressionable Pat White and a nubile, naive Steve Slaton. Wow, they grow up so fast these days. Where does the time go?

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