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40AS Non-Conference Game of the Week: UCONN at Cincinnati

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You were probably nervous last Saturday down 35-14. Not us though. Ya know why? Because we had done a 40ASNCGOTW. Here we are again. Watch the Tech game if you want but we already know the result.

Anyhow, nine games into their season, the University of Connecticut is 8-1. Unremarkable until you realize that this is football season. Meanwhile, 8 games into their season, Cincinnati is 7-2. Another unremarkable tidbit until you realize that this is still football season. The Kansas Jayhawks remain undefeated through 9 games, and we're still talking pigskin. In other news, Kentucky got embarrassed last night in an upset loss to Gardner-Webb, which is not too remarkable until you realize that it's basketball season. Really, what's the point of delineating between "football schools" and "basketball schools" anymore? We have entered the age of the all-around athletic program. A mix of parity in the NCAA and schools realizing that they are allowed to spend money on sports for which they don't yet have a reputation has produced a cycle that seems to be self-perpetuating and not edning anytime soon. We actually kind of like it; it's fun as Longhorn fans to be just as likely to make the Elite Eight as the Fiesta Bowl year in and year out. As it happens, the first two schools that we mentioned in this little reflection on our state of affairs are playing a little Oblong Ball this weekend, so we'll go ahead and talk about UConn at Cincinnati. As for the Pam Ward sweepstakes, we're going with Indiana at Northwestern on ESPN Classic, though don't be surprised if she shows up at Penn State at Temple (whoever handles scheduling for the Nittany Lions should be fired) on ESPNU.

Not necessarily football-related reasons to like UConn: Jim Calhoun's bunch started the season with a scare, squeaking past Morgan State 69-65 last night. It had to bring back some bad memories from the way this team limped through their conference schedule last season, winning just 6 after starting the year 11-0. The whole team
returns from last year, so Calhoun had reason to feel good coming into the '07-'08 campaign--but if the entire sub-par squad is back, what's to stop them from being sub-par once again? On the other hand, a lot of teams struggle in early-season contests and take some time to get their feet under them. The troops will get restless quickly in
Storrs/Hartford, however, as Connecticut could not even get into the NIT last year. There is little room for error this time around, and the fans will accept nothing short of a return to the Big Dance and preferably a trip to at least the 2nd weekend. Geno Auriemma's Lady Huskies have no such concerns. They have been chomping at the bit to
start the season since being ousted in the Elite Eight by LSU in last year's tourney, and all indications are that they will continue to be a dominant force in the Big East and nationally. The recent struggles of the men's team beg a few questions: 1. Could the women beat the men? 2. Has the football team become more relevant than the men's
hoops team in only its eighth year playing in Division 1-A? 3. Why would anyone go to school where it's so damn cold? In all seriousness, it should be noted that UConn is a one-point loss at Virginia away from being undefeated and very much in the football national championship conversation. If they finish what they've started, they'll get the Big East automatic bid to the BCS, and that's a big deal.

Not necessarily football-related reasons to like Cincy:
Wow. This is hard. Here are some thoughts for improving the Supersonics: One, Kevin Durant needs to be louder, angrier, and have access to a time machine. Two, whenever KD's not on screen, all the other players should be asking "Where's KD"? Three, there should never be a possession where KD does not have a chance to shoot. Four, each time the Sonics have the ball but KD is not in the game they should simply hold onto the ball until the 24 second clock runs out. Oh, about the Bearcats...a Bearcat win would be good for the Horns.

Why Texas Fans Should Care: As we noted above regarding Connecticut, if they win out they'll win the conference. Obviously that's a bit of a tall order considering that they finish the year in Morgantown against West Virginia, but...what if they pull it off? That would hurt the Longhorns' BCS hopes because it would open the door to 2 Big East teams getting bids (namely the Huskies and Mountaineers). Another, probably more likely scenario has UConn winning every game between now and then before falling to West Virginia. How would the Horns' resume compare to a 2-loss West Virginia? We're not sure, but we know it's a close call. Would we likely be chosen over them because of the way our fans travel and our name recognition? Probably. But what about if Texas were being compared to a 2-loss UConn team? Their 2 losses would both be to ranked teams on the road. Especially if they play WVU close, it would be awfully hard to justify taking Texas--with the bad loss that keeps getting worse at home--over them.  Thus, a positive scenario for Texas could center around this game: If the Bearcats pull the upset on Saturday and then UConn loses to West Vrginia, WVU would almost certainly be the only Big East team in the BCS because UConn would have 3 losses. Complicated, convoluted, and hopelessly hypothetical? Yes. The reason it's fun to talk about college football in the 6 horrible days between Saturdays? Absolutely.

The Battle of the YouTubes:
College has changed since we graduated, apparently this is what they do at UCONN

Despite the fact that this is Colin Cowherd, who's a jerk, and the fact that he shows his ignorance about the fact that Cincinnati is a Delta Airlines hub, this is a pretty searing set of jokes about the city: