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Cyclone792
11-23-2008, 09:16 PM
After what seems like one emotional win after another, here we are with one more UC Big East victory away from the Big East Championship, and it's lowly Syracuse standing in the way.

Syracuse is 3-8 overall, 1-5 in the Big East. Their three wins are home wins against Northeastern (2-10) and Louisville (5-6) and their road win yesterday at Notre Dame (6-5). The Orange have lost to Northwestern, Akron, Penn State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, South Florida, Rutgers, and Connecticut.

For UC, one of the best things that could have happened that they had no control over was Syracuse going out and beating Notre Dame on the road. It will be a wakeup call that the 'cats simply shouldn't walk out on the field and expect an easy W, and based off Kelly's comments last night, he knows not to take Syracuse lightly.

Interestingly, last year's UC/Syracuse game was also a somewhat important game, though obviously not nearly as important as this year's game. UC went up to Syracuse last year with a 3-3 Big East record, and a 21 point win Syracuse was the deciding factor that gave the 'cats a winning Big East record last season.

The only teams that still have shots at the Big East title are West Virginia (4-1 in the Big East) and Connecticut (3-2 in the Big East). West Virginia finishes up with games at Pittsburgh before hosting South Florida. Connecticut is currently playing at South Florida and they finish up by hosting Pittsburgh in two weeks.

Highlifeman21
11-23-2008, 09:19 PM
I certainly hope UC doesn't pull a ND against Cuse.

IMO, UC is a better team than ND, but I really hope UC isn't looking past the Orangemen.

Cyclone792
11-23-2008, 09:27 PM
I certainly hope UC doesn't pull a ND against Cuse.

IMO, UC is a better team than ND, but I really hope UC isn't looking past the Orangemen.

I just took a look at the schedule, and there's a chance UC may claim the Big East title before they even take the field next Saturday.

The West Virginia @ Pitt game is Friday at noon, and Connecticut @ South Florida game is currently going on. If South Florida and Pitt both win, then UC will be Big East champs regardless of what happens against Syracuse.

FWIW, South Florida already leads Connecticut 7-0 early in the 1st quarter.

paintmered
11-24-2008, 12:24 AM
I just took a look at the schedule, and there's a chance UC may claim the Big East title before they even take the field next Saturday.

The West Virginia @ Pitt game is Friday at noon, and Connecticut @ South Florida game is currently going on. If South Florida and Pitt both win, then UC will be Big East champs regardless of what happens against Syracuse.

FWIW, South Florida already leads Connecticut 7-0 early in the 1st quarter.

South Florida just did their part.

Cyclone792
11-24-2008, 12:27 AM
South Florida just knocked off Connecticut 17-13!

Connecticut is now 3-3 in the Big East and is officially out of the picture for the conference championship. West Virginia is now the only team remaining in the Big East that has any shot at the championship, and UC can claim the conference title on Friday afternoon if Pitt can knock off the Mountaineers.

EDIT: paint beat me to it ;)

Looks like I'm now definitely planning on watching the WVU @ Pitt game on Friday at noon.

HotCorner
11-24-2008, 11:26 AM
Looks like I'm now definitely planning on watching the WVU @ Pitt game on Friday at noon.

Me too. Go Panthers! ;)

Four days of football. I love this time of the year! :D

Sea Ray
11-24-2008, 12:15 PM
What time and TV network is the UC game on Sat?

joshnky
11-24-2008, 12:49 PM
Interesting to consider, the last two Big East representatives in the Orange Bowl have lost their coach and then failed to live up to expectations the following year. Could Cincy make it three in a row? Given that UT isn't going bowling, they will likely hire a coach in December, similar to what Michigan did last year.

NatiRedGals
11-24-2008, 01:05 PM
Interesting to consider, the last two Big East representatives in the Orange Bowl have lost their coach and then failed to live up to expectations the following year. Could Cincy make it three in a row? Given that UT isn't going bowling, they will likely hire a coach in December, similar to what Michigan did last year.

Dosent wish to think about this right now lol to many positives at the moment ;)

Reds Fanatic
11-28-2008, 03:48 PM
What time and TV network is the UC game on Sat?
It is syndicated Big East game. Here is a station list for who is carrying the UC game.

http://www.espnplus.com/pdfs/BIGEAST112908.pdf

NatiRedGals
11-28-2008, 04:31 PM
Uc Just Won The Big East!!!! West Virgina Just Lost!!!

paintmered
11-28-2008, 04:53 PM
http://www.cstv.com/allaccess/player/06-oas-mediaplayer.html?content=mms://a1981.v8108e.c8108.g.vm.akamaistream.net/7/1981/8108/v0001/cstvcbs.download.akamai.com/8108/open/cinn/08-09/video/m-footbl/11nov/112808_Champions_mfootbl_vid.wmv&school=cinn&

Danny Serafini
11-28-2008, 08:40 PM
Good, now with nothing to play for maybe Cincinnati comes out with no intensity and Syracuse can get a win. Hey, someone here has to cheer for the Orange.

Cyclone792
11-28-2008, 11:55 PM
http://www.cstv.com/allaccess/player/06-oas-mediaplayer.html?content=mms://a1981.v8108e.c8108.g.vm.akamaistream.net/7/1981/8108/v0001/cstvcbs.download.akamai.com/8108/open/cinn/08-09/video/m-footbl/11nov/112808_Champions_mfootbl_vid.wmv&school=cinn&

That's absolutely beautiful! I hope I see it on the big screen at the game tomorrow.

What makes it even sweeter is I've been in attendance for a bunch of those highlights as I went to the South Florida and Pitt games at home, plus we went out to West Virginia for the game in Morgantown. I'll be there in about 12 hours too, and I hope to see a bunch more highlights added to that reel after tomorrow's game.

BTW, we picked up 11 bowl deposits earlier this week. We've got a mega-group ready to pile in and head out on a roadtrip, and all we're waiting for is the final destination ... either Miami or New Orleans.

paintmered
11-29-2008, 12:34 AM
BTW, we picked up 11 bowl deposits earlier this week. We've got a mega-group ready to pile in and head out on a roadtrip, and all we're waiting for is the final destination ... either Miami or New Orleans.

How do you get bowl deposits? I'm facing an onslaught of friends planning a similar roadtrip.

TeamCasey
11-29-2008, 09:40 AM
I don't see the Syracuse game on the TV schedule? What channel is it on?

paintmered
11-29-2008, 10:07 AM
I don't see the Syracuse game on the TV schedule? What channel is it on?

Television Information for UC-Syracuse Football Game
ONN (OHIO NEWS NETWORK) will carry the game live outside of the Cincinnati market
In the Cincinnati market the game will be carried by CW Cincinnati:

-Time Warner Cable (Ohio) : See list below
Location Channel
Cincinnati 20 / 913
Clermont County 25
Delhi 98 / 713
Fairfield 20 / 913
Hamilton 20 / 913
Lebanon 25 / 713
Lebanon 20 / 913
Leesburg 20 / 913
Lynchburg 20 913
Middletown 20 / 913
Oxford 2
Seaman 20 / 913
Wilmington 20 / 913


-Cincinnati Bell Channel 17 (formerly City of Lebanon Telecommunications)

-Comcast Cable (Indiana) : See list below
Location Channel
Batesville 253
Brookville 253
Lawrenceburg 253
Liberty 253

-Insight Communitcations (KY) : Channel 25

-City of Lebanon Telecommunications (OH) Lebanon : Channel 17 / 508

-Limestone Cablevision (KY) Maysville : Channel 736

-DirecTV Channel : 25

-Time Warner Cable Channel 25 (Former Adelphia Subscribers)
-Digital Television with Digital Tuner
Your digital television should be equipped with a digital tuner. You will find the CW Cincinnati on Digital Channel 12.2. You may need to do a channel rescan in order for it to appear.

BIG EAST Network Game of the Week
SNY............................................... ..... New York
WLS-DT2...................................... Chicago
WPHL.............................................. .. Philadelphia
Bright House Sports Network..... Tampa
Altitude........................................ Denver
WTAE.............................................. Pittsburgh
MASN.............................................. Baltimore (delayed)
WCTX.............................................. . Hartford
WTTV.............................................. ....Indianapolis
Metro Sports.................................. Kansas City
ONN............................................... .... All of Ohio, less t he Cincinnati market
WMLW............................................. Milwaukee
WLYH........................................... Harrisburg, Pa.
WHAS.............................................. Louisville
Time Warner................................... Buffalo
Cox New England........................... Providence
WSWB........................................ Wilkes Barre, Pa.
Cox New Orleans........................ New Orleans
Time Warner................................... Albany, N.Y.
KWBF.............................................. .. Little Rock
WKEF.............................................. ... Dayton
WCHS....................................... Charleston, W.Va.
WACY.............................................. . Green Bay
Mediacom...................................... Des Moines
Time Warner.................................. Rochester, N.Y.
Time Warner................................... Syracuse, N.Y.
WHNT-DT....................................... Huntsville, Ala.
WISC-DT2......................................... Madison, Wis.
WMYS............................................. South Bend, Ind.
KWWF........................................... Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Mediacom...................................... Cedar Rapids, Iowa
WGMU........................................... Burlington, Vt.
WBQD........................................... Davenport, Iowa
WHVL........................................... Johnstown, Pa.
WAZE........................................... Evansville, Ind.
KPBI............................................ Fort Smith, Ark.
KTVC........................................... Eugene, Ore.
KOTR.......................................... Monterey, Calif.
WTVO-DT2..................................... Rockford, Ill.
WOAY......................................... Bluefield, W.Va.
WTOV......................................... Wheeling, W.Va.
WVFX....................................... Clarksburg, W.Va.
WTAP-DT2................................ Parkersburg, W.Va.

Cyclone792
11-29-2008, 10:10 AM
I don't see the Syracuse game on the TV schedule? What channel is it on?

paint has the specifics, but I think it's the CinCW channel. I know they've carried UC games in the past too so it's not too uncommon for the game to be on that channel.

BTW, I had sent paint a PM last night with bowl deposit info, but here it is in case anybody else is wanting to put down a deposit and get tickets:

http://ev12.evenue.net/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/SEGetGroupList?groupCode=F&linkID=ucinn&shopperContext=&caller=&appCode=

TeamCasey
11-29-2008, 12:47 PM
Yep, it's CW according to today's paper. Thanks guys! *Cheers*

BTW .... I'm very torn on this game. I have Orange blood running through my veins. ;)

DoogMinAmo
11-30-2008, 01:05 AM
Bearcats win 30-10 in a sloppy game. Undispiuted, sole Big East CHAMPS!

Cyclone792
11-30-2008, 04:14 PM
Bearcats win 30-10 in a sloppy game. Undispiuted, sole Big East CHAMPS!

Yup, and it was fantastic running onto the field during the victory celebration and feeling like a kid again! Oranges were flying everywhere, and the trophy was hoisted up only about 15 feet from where we were.

Now it's time to grab a win in Hawaii, get healthy and head to the BCS fully prepared!

Cyclone792
11-30-2008, 04:14 PM
The roundup of articles:

http://news.cincinnati.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081129/SPT0101/311290048


There will be no co-champions in the Big East Conference this year.

The University of Cincinnati Bearcats claimed the title outright Saturday by rolling past Syracuse, 30-10, before 34,603 fans at Nippert Stadium.

With the victory, the 16th-ranked Bearcats (10-2 overall, 6-1 in the Big East) tied the school record for wins in a season, matching their win total from last year.

The conference championship is the first for UC since it shared the Conference USA title with TCU in 2002.

Syracuse (3-9, 1-6), played its last game under head coach Greg Robinson, who was fired on Nov. 16.

UC quarterback Tony Pike completed 28 of 44 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception.

Wide receiver Mardy Gilyard caught 11 passes for 114 yards and Dominick Goodman had eight catches for 74 yards.

The UC defense held the Orange to 211 total yards, just 54 through the air. Syracuse quarterback Cameron Dantley was 5-for-22 for 54 yards and one touchdown with one interception.

Leading 13-3 at halftime, UC turned the ball over on its first possession of the second half when Gilyard fumbled at midfield, but the Bearcats got the ball right back when Corey Smith intercepted a pass and returned it to the Syracuse 40.

Five plays later, Pike connected with tight end Kazeem Alli on a 7-yard touchdown pass to increase UC’s lead to 20-3 and the rout was on.

The Bearcats took the opening kickoff and drove 88 yards in 14 plays, scoring on John Goebel’s 10-yard touchdown run. Pike completed nine of 10 passes on the drive for 60 yard. The only incompletion on the drive was a dropped pass by Gilyard.

After Syracuse went three-and-out on its first possession, the Bearcats put together another drive that ended with a 45-yard Jake Rogers field goal, breaking a string of five straight misses for Rogers and giving UC a 10-0 lead with 13:39 left in the first half.

The Bearcats had driven to the Syracuse 2-yard line before they were pushed back by an illegal block penalty and a holding penalty.

At that point, UC had run 27 plays to three for Syracuse and led in possession time with 13:57 to 2:24 for the Orange.

Syracuse trimmed the lead to 10-3 on Patrick Shadle’s 33-yard field goal at the end of an 8-play, 73-yard drive. The Orange had penetrated to the UC 3-yard line when an illegal block penalty forced them to settle for the field goal.

The Bearcats added three more points just before the end of the first half when Rogers kicked a 38-yard field goal.

Rogers kicked his third field goal of the day, this one from 45 yards out, to push the UC lead to 23-3 late in the third quarter.

The Bearcats have one regular season game remaining, a non-conference game next Saturday at Hawaii.

Cyclone792
11-30-2008, 04:16 PM
http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20081130/COL03/811300416


Over here, defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs is prancing in the center of the field, screaming hoarse wisdom at a reporter while ducking navels, to say nothing of Valencias. Fans roam the turf, seeking a taste of orange. "Is this great?" Coombs asks. "Is this the greatest? Is this the greatest thing you've ever seen?"

Over there, at the 5-yard line by the South end zone, wideout Mardy Gilyard is lying on his back. He is smiling and his face is wet with the juice of a freshly squeezed orange. "I cried a little," he said. "I ain't gonna lie to you."

So this is what winning is like. This is its feel, its tone, its taste. Its sweetness. It has been awhile.

The game was a coronation, thanks to Pitt's win Friday over West Virginia. Cincinnati won its Big East title at about 3 p.m. Friday. It earned it Saturday.

"We wanted to win this thing outright," said Connor Barwin, a senior defensive end.

And so they did, in methodical, day-at-the-office fashion, 30-10 over overmatched Syracuse.

They don't know which BCS bowl they'll attend. But there were two men in the press box who were wearing orange blazers 1,200 miles from Miami, so it's probably not going to be the Sugar Bowl.

Regardless, a team with a "C" on its chest won a title. A team from here achieved notoriety of the positive kind. Let the national press scrutinize UC's worthiness as a BCS bowl team and sneer at Big East football. We who live here choose not to diminish the triumph. The oranges still taste as sweet.

As Coombs put it, "Sometimes, you don't know what you have in your own backyard." We're beginning to find out. So were the 212 high school underclassmen at the game. The prospective recruits rimmed the field before the game, forming an "L" between the back of the North end zone and the 40-yard line. One local NFL scout at the game noted that until very recently, UC was lucky to have 40 recruits at a game.

Coombs said all 212 came from "within a four-hour drive" of Clifton. "You got to find those guys early, when they're in the ninth, 10th grades, show 'em what you have to offer and never take a backseat," said Coombs. "Why not us? You don't have to leave town to go to a BCS bowl. There's something special about representing your school, your town and your community that can't be replaced. Think of what we can accomplish with just our kids."

Gilyard isn't a local kid. He's from Palm Coast, Fla., south of St. Augustine, about five hours from Dolphin Stadium, where they play the Orange Bowl. He wears puka shells at the ends of his dreadlocks, to remind him of home. For the first time this year, he broke out a set of Chad-esque gold teeth, explaining, "This game, we were shooting for the gold, so it was time for me to show a little gold."

Gilyard is as local as a palm tree, but he's the spirit of this team. And nobody savored Saturday more.

He lay on the turf after the game, just taking it all in, and the last four years appeared. When former coach Mark Dantonio pulled Gilyard's scholarship in 2006 for academic reasons, Gilyard wanted to go home. His parents told him to stay in school. He had to pay for it himself.

Gilyard worked multiple low-paying jobs. For a time, he lived in his car, parked in a lot just off campus. He got the grades up. Dantonio left after 2006; Brian Kelly came in. Kelly restored the scholarship. Saturday, Gilyard caught 11 passes.

"My seniors," he said. "Even when I was ineligible that year, they never turned their backs on me. This is pure, utter bliss."

Gilyard and the other seniors endured what they felt was a betrayal by Dantonio, who assured them he wasn't leaving UC one day, only to convene a tearful meeting the next and tell them he was. They endured the Kelly-to-Tennessee rumors, until Kelly assured them in the locker room after the win at Louisville two weeks ago he was sticking around. "I gave him a hug" after that, Gilyard said.

They endured the general skepticism toward a program that had never been much. Until Saturday, when it became a champion. "I was on my back, looking up smiling, kicking my feet a little, throwing my arms in the air," said Gilyard.

The city was, too, in a manner of speaking. As Coombs asked, Why not?

Cyclone792
11-30-2008, 04:16 PM
http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20081130/SPT0101/811300423


Connor Barwin was in the right place at the right time.

After the trophy presentation amid a swarm of fans near the south end zone of Nippert Stadium, senior associate athletic director Mike Waddell handed the hardware to Barwin and instructed him to deliver it to the University of Cincinnati locker room.

Barwin was happy to oblige.

The senior defensive end held the trophy high above his head as he slowly waded through the crowd, walking the length of the field toward the locker room, with fans reaching up to touch it as if he were carrying a sacred artifact.

"It was heavier than I thought it was," Barwin said. "They just kept telling me to get to the locker room. It got kind of hard once I got to the 50-yard line because I was getting kind of tired and people were bumping into me and stuff, but I knew I wasn't going to drop that thing."

For the UC football program, the Big East Conference championship trophy was a symbol not just of one regular-season title but of a football program that had endured years of mediocrity to emerge as one of only 10 schools that will participate this season in a Bowl Championship Series game.

The Bearcats, by virtue of their 30-10 victory Saturday over Syracuse before 34,603 fans, are heading to a BCS bowl game - probably the Orange Bowl - for the first time in their history.

And they're doing it not as co-champs of the Big East but as undisputed champions of a league they joined only four years ago.

No. 16 UC (10-2 overall, 6-1 in the league) clinched the bowl berth Friday when Pittsburgh knocked off West Virginia, but the Bearcats had to beat the Orange (3-8, 1-6) to claim the title outright.

"We told it like it was," coach Brian Kelly said. "Yeah, we're excited about being the Big East champs, but I don't want to share a trophy with anyone in this league and I know our kids didn't want to share it with anybody. That's why it was important for us to finish today. That's all we talked about was finishing it off the right way."

UC jumped on Syracuse right away, driving 88 yards in 14 plays on its first possession to take a 7-0 lead on John Goebel's 10-yard touchdown run. The Bearcats led 13-3 at halftime and put the game away early in the fourth quarter when they went ahead 30-3 on junior quarterback Tony Pike's 15-yard touchdown pass to running back Jacob Ramsey.

Pike, who was considered the third or fourth-string quarterback when training camp began in late July, enjoyed another productive day, picking apart the Syracuse defense with pinpoint short passes that kept the offense moving.

He finished with 28 completions in 44 attempts for 272 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.

"I always believed in myself," Pike said. "And I think these guys also believed in me that if the job was mine that I could help this team out. I think the team really rallied around what they believed that I could do. It's been a total team effort. Everyone bought into what's been going on and I'm just happy to be part of it."

The UC defense limited Syracuse to 211 total yards, only 23 net passing yards. The Bearcats were so disruptive that Orange quarterback Cameron Dantley completed only six passes all day in 23 attempts for 59 yards and one touchdown.

He was intercepted once, by UC linebacker Corey Smith, who picked off a pass after UC wide receiver Mardy Gilyard had fumbled the ball away on the Bearcats' first possession of the third quarter.

Aside from the fumble, Gilyard had a monster game, with 11 catches for 114 yards, his fifth 100-yard receiving game of the season.

After the game, Gilyard lay on the field to let it all soak in.

"I was just ecstatic," Gilyard said. "I was trying to keep anybody from catching me crying. I came in with all these guys. It was real touching for me to see us go out with a bang like we did."

Gilyard talked about that first year in the Big East under then-head coach Mark Dantonio, with the Bearcats finishing 2-5.

"Coach Dantonio, he told us when the class came in, you've got a chance to win the Big East," Gilyard said as he peeled an orange, "but we got smacked around our first year in the Big East."

Senior cornerback DeAngelo Smith was a redshirt freshman the year before on a UC team that played in Conference USA. Like his teammates, he kept the faith and reaped the rewards Saturday.

"It feels great," Smith said, "coming a long way from Conference USA to the Big East. I'm really at a loss for words."

Kelly talked about meeting with 117 players before the season and setting a Big East title as the goal.

"There were 117 players in that room when we talked about that goal and I think only the 117 people in that room believed that we could do it," Kelly said.

Cyclone792
11-30-2008, 04:17 PM
http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20081130/SPT0101/811300425/0/SPT0101


Saturday was a big day for recruiting at Nippert Stadium. The University of Cincinnati football team, already assured a BCS bowl berth, spent the hours before its home game against Syracuse showing off for recruits.

The high school players and their families were given a tour of the Richard E. Lindner Center and its state-of-the-art athletic facilities. They watched a highlight video. They were greeted by coach Brian Kelly, the man who has led the program to its best season ever. They stood on the sidelines while UC's current group of seniors was honored before its final home game.

The two groups' recruiting experience couldn't have been more different.

"It's a lot different," said senior defensive end Connor Barwin. "... When we came in, we believed we could do it but we knew it was going to be hard. The group coming next year might be a little bit spoiled."

The program has come a long way since the current group of seniors was convinced to come to UC.

In 2003, when UC's fifth-year seniors were seniors in high school, the Bearcats went 5-7 in Rick Minter's final season as coach. The Bearcats finished ninth in Conference USA.

That year, UC coaches sold recruits on the fact that UC would move to the Big East in 2005 and that the university's Varsity Village project (including the Lindner Center) would be completed during their UC careers. The team's average home attendance was just 21,827.

Saturday's attendance was 34,603, the sixth largest crowd in Nippert Stadium history. The Bearcats averaged 31,964 fans a game this year, a school record. Early in the second half, fans started pelting the field with oranges, a nod to the Bearcats' probable Orange Bowl appearance. By early in the fourth quarter, the near sellout crowd was doing the wave. Late in the fourth quarter, fans chanted "B-C-S." After the game, fans ran on the field and celebrated the Big East title with the team.

"Once you start winning, people start coming," UC senior defensive back DeAngelo Smith said. "... I appreciated it even when 20,000 people were coming. Not everybody gets a chance to come to a place like this. But it's nice to see sellout crowds."

UC's 19-man senior class - including local products Dominick Goodman, Kevin Huber, Trevor Canfield, Khalil El-Amin, Brandon Yingling and Terrill Byrd - has accomplished plenty to draw crowds. Goodman has rewritten the school's receiving record book. Huber is an All-America punter. Byrd is an All-America defensive tackle. Canfield and cornerback Mike Mickens are projected as first-round NFL draft picks.

"I don't know that this group immediately said they were going to change the complexion of UC football," Kelly said. "What our seniors did, was prepare us for the moment . . . And now they can arguably be considered the most successful class in UC history."

And according to Kelly, their impact will be felt in the coming months and years on the recruiting trail.

"When you're one of the teams regarded as a BCS program, from a recruiting standpoint you can be in the conversation with anyone in your radius of recruiting," Kelly said.

Cyclone792
11-30-2008, 04:21 PM
http://gobearcats.cstv.com/sports/blog/spec-rel/112908aaz.html


Nov. 29, 2008

(5:08 p.m.): BK's opening statement (and the first question he took):

"I thought we finished what we started," he said. "We started this year with a goal to become the Big East champions. There were 117 players in that room when we talked about that goal. I think only the 117 people in that room believed we could do it. As we started to show that our football team could play with anybody, other people believed Cincinnati football could be a Big East champion. We've shown that no longer do you have to say, `If you can do it in Piscataway, N.J., or you can do it in Morgantown, W.Va., you can do it in Cincinnati,' because we've done it. We're proud of that. I'm proud of my players, my coaches, my staff, my athletic director who believed in me to give me this opportunity. We're excited about what we were able to do in such a short period of time."

"Everybody has a plan. You lay our plan out. Today, when you talk about those plans, they have to come together quickly. There's no longer the old five-year plan. You don't have that time any more. It was more important that we got buy-ins from our players. It's satisfying to know the plan we put in place, that's worked everywhere I've been, worked here at Cincinnati. That's the pride I feel at Cincinnati."

-----

So, Connor Barwin, did you watch Friday's Pitt-West Virginia game?

"Heck yeah," he said, "we watched it."

So, obviously the Bearcats players knew they already had clinched a share of the Big East title and a BCS bowl game coming into today's game, but that wasn't satisfying enough for UC. BK made sure to inform his team of that.

"We had to have some discussions," BK said. "We've got college-age kids that saw they won the Big East championship but still had a game to play. We told it like it was. Yeah, we're excited about being the Big East champions, but I don't want to share with anybody. I don't want to share a trophy with anybody in this league. That's why it was important to finish today. We talked about finishing it off the right way."

Said Barwin: "Last year, UConn shared it with West Virginia but you never heard anybody talk about UConn. We didn't want to share anything. We wanted to win it outright. We prepared and stayed focused at the hotel."

Of the 19 seniors that were honored today, 15 of them made a huge impact sometime this year, 16 if you count Brandon Yingling kicking against Oklahoma. That's a pretty amazing statistic. These seniors have been through plenty of ups and downs during their UC careers. Today really had to be a sweet day.

"It's been a long road for the seniors," DeAngelo Smith.

Not that BK necessarily could see the potential in the then-sophomores when he arrived at UC.

"I don't know that this group immediately said they were going to change the complexion of UC football," BK said. "It was everybody. It was a collaborative effort. What our seniors did was prepare us for the moment. When we lost to Connecticut, it was our seniors who helped change the direction and got us back to practice on Sunday. Now, they could be arguably considered the most successful in UC history. I didn't see it as sophomores. I saw it as seniors."

-----

Talked to Orange Bowl committee member Phil Smith on the sideline as the clock wound down late in the fourth quarter (after he signed a few autographs for people in the stands. Seriously, he was signing autographs. Also, Nick Lachey was on the sideline (my wife would be so excited)).

Here's what Smith had to say: "They've done a tremendous job," Smith said. "It's an exciting atmosphere. It's what we like to see."

I asked him if he had any sense how well UC fans would travel.

"We're getting a lot of enthusiasm," Smith said. "We were out at the tailgate parties, we were walking among the fans, and everybody is enthusiastic about coming. We have a lot of experience the last few years with schools that have never been to a big dance before. With Wake Forest, they brought the fans down in droves. We expect the same thing out of Cincinnati."

-----

Katzonthecats opinion:

The good: For the first time in school history, the program has had back-to-back 10-win seasons. That's pretty good, I'd say.

The bad: On a day like this, does it matter if anything was bad? Not really. Let me search my brain for something negative. Um, not really finding anything of consequence. Let's just skip this one.

Semi-important stuff: During the postgame presser, Mardy "With a `D'" Gilyard peeled an orange and then ate it, save for the three slices he passed over to Tony Pike, DeAngelo Smith and Connor Barwin. He said it was the best orange he ever had put in his mouth. And he even cleaned up after himself before he left the room.