Mo lives and breathes sports, it's kind of disturbing...
Bringing you everything Cincinnati Sports.
A lifelong Bengals fan. God help her.
She's a woman with opinions
The latest Hollywood dirt
|Eddie & Tracy
Did you know Tracy played on 5 major league teams?
MO' Favorite Links
MO' Favorite Links
I will gladly accept bribery to put your site on this list.
My favorite site. Not for those easily offended.
This is a great NBA blog. The NBA (National Basketball Association) is a professional men's basketball league, consisting of 29 American teams, and one Canadian team. It was founded in 1946. Cincinnati used to have a team. I wish it did now.
Better Off Red
Jamie Ramsey is the Assistant Media Relations Director of the Reds. He takes you behind the scenes of a Major League team. And he writes funny captions for his photos.
Plenty of scenery and funny stuff on Big Smudge. I'll be honest, these guys told me they were fans of my show, and even if they didn't mean it, that gets them linked.
Bugs and Cranks
If it's about baseball, these guys usually have something to say about it. And it's usually funny.
Booze, Ladies, and Football.
Calling It Like It Is
A guy from Cincinnati, who uh, well he calls it like it is.
Chris Sabo's Goggles
A Reds fan stuck in Chicago does a blog. He says the purpose of the blog is to inform people of the Reds without the geeky stuff, like facts for example. My kind of guy.
You're probably thinking this website is about me. Actually, it's not.
Local college basketball blog by two guys...one a UC fan, the other an XU fan.
The Godfather of sports blogs.
My favorite baseball blog. I thought I loved the game, then I read these guys.
Stuff guys like. At least stuff normal guys like.
Hugging Harold Reynolds
Very funny sports blog with one of my favorite names.
John Clay's Sidelines
John is an outstanding writer who covers everything and anything UK-related.
Larry Brown Sports
The other Larry Brown, not the guy who's coached half the teams in the NBA.
Look At Me Shirts
Be the guy in the ironic shirt. Take credit for someone else's joke.
Mo Egger's Blog
Did you really think my blog wouldn't be on a list of "favorites?"
Do you like mind-numbing statistical analysis of the Reds? Do you treat every game like the fate of the world rests on it? This site is probably not for you.
Most negative man in America. And I usually agree with him.
Pro Football Talk
Not daily, but almost hourly reading for NFL fans.
Everything and anything Reds...and more, by Reds fans.
Rush The Court
The Ubiquitous college basketblog.
A little UK, a little Louisville. A lot of funny.
Anything and everything hoops.
A Cincinnati guy based in Vegas. What I'd write if I could write.
Because some things can't be taught.
I admit, I'm a geek.
Who Dey Revolution
No site better captures the frustration of being a Bengals fan better than this one. Fan empowerment at its best.
I'm off until Wednesday. In the meantime, here's a tour of this year's RedsFest. Bookmark this page for next year since this probably won't be useful until then.
The Bengals are two overtimes - and potentially two field goals that weren't attempted - from sitting on an eight-game winning streak. I am trying not to remind myself of that. In any case, our favorite NFL team is doing quite well and I'm excited to talk about them.
It's The Rock and Mo Football Show on ESPN1530. Rocky Boiman joins me to talk all things Bengals, the NFL, and his lack of Tweets from Ohio State fans.
3:04 - Marvin Lewis
5:52 - Dave Lapham
Bengals v. Colts.
Terence Newman's busted MCL and what this means for the defense.
Is the AFC a two-team race that includes the Bengals?
Can't hit high, can't hit low. How does a player make a tackle?
Did the Bengals get a free touchdown yesterday? Can they get more?
Was yesterday an awesome day on NFL football or a disastrous one? (The correct answer is "awesome.")
Holy hell it's going to be exciting. The fun starts at 3:04 on ESPN1530.
We won't do Five Mo Things today since I had a dentist appointment that took up most of my morning. Also, my fingers are still as numb as my face is right now after braving the cold for three hours at PBS. Nonetheless, we do have a big Bengals win to get to, both in this space and on the radio.
Why not? We've made the AFC out to be a two-team race, which by the way, we did last season as well. The Broncos and Patriots have lapped the field and have only each other to worry about while the others merely jockey for the right to be discarded by one of the two.
Might I add a third team to the fray?
Could I make the case for our Bengals?
I know, I know, I'm overreacting. Either that or the three hours I spent outside hoping that my snot wasn't forming stalactites ended up freezing my brain and numbing my sense of logic. The Bengals were fantastic yesterday, especially the offense which was damn near close to perfect yesterday. Andy Dalton was sharp, the passing game was simple yet effective and the re-tooled offensive line kept Andy clean while paving the way for another big day on the ground.
And they never turned the ball over. It's amazing how good you can be when you don't cough it up.
Maybe they didn't need all 42 points, maybe they were given a free tally at the end of the first half, maybe they simply did what they were supposed to - exploiting a crappy Indy defense while hammering an injury-depleted opponent. But they were once again dominant at home, where they're winning games by ridiculous margins (yesterday's 14-point difference fails to reflect how lopsided this game really was) and putting up silly point totals.
But heading toward the playoffs, the Bengals have rebounded with solid all-around performances against both San Diego and Indy, charging out the bye week looking as complete as they have all season, and cleansing out the bitter aftertaste of the Baltimore and Miami losses.
So it's gotta be asked: Why can't this team be considered a legit Super Bowl contender?
New England's offense isn't the same without Rob Gronkowski (this illustrates the difference in the Patriots' attack since he came back from his arm injury), and as great as Brady and Belichick are, they're sorta just scraping by right now. (They should've lost to the Browns, they gave up 31 to the Texans, and the Broncos had them in a chokehold three weeks ago). Despite their recent offensive surge, no one seems to be taking Kansas City seriously. Indy just doesn't have enough good, healthy players on either side of the ball, and whomever grabs the final Wild Card spot will essentially be the AFC's tallest midget.
And then there's Denver. The Broncos are - and should be - the prohibitive favorite in the AFC, and the idea of having to win a postseason game there is about as exciting as the idea of having to eat at one of Peyton Manning's crappy pizza joints. But if all the criticism I've heard about the Broncos - from Peyton playing poorly in the cold weather (he did do okay yesterday) to having not enough playmakers on defense - are worth listening to, are they really that invincible?
Are the Bengals the team to beat them? I wouldn't bet on them, but I wouldn't totally discredit their chances either. They've seemingly found both a running game and a workable combination on the offensive eline. Their defense - yesterday's tackling issues aside - might right now be the best in the conference (though the Terence Newman injury could be a major issue). The special teams has been awesome recently and the Bengals finally seem to have that "it" factor that they've been lacking for most of the franchise's history.
Ah yes, and they have Andy Dalton.
Winning postseason games isn't about having an elite quarterback, it's about having a quarterback who's playing really, really well at just the right time. Andy Dalton, as infuriating as he may be, as middle of the road as you may think he is, has been really good often enough that you can't completely discount the possibility that he plays as well as possible at the absolute perfect time.
A playoff game in Denver would be the perfect time.
And if everything else is working - namely if the Bengals are getting production on the ground and their typical stout defense - would Andy need to do nearly as much as you think?
We all agree on two things. A) Most of the AFC's playoff teams are flawed, beaten up, or both. B) There is a certain randomness to the postseason that usually dictates that the best team, or at least the flashiest, most dominant team doesn't win.
So then can't A+B+Everything the Bengals have going for them right = a trip to New Jersey?
You could make the case.
There are times when I'm glad I moved downtown. The days we get heavy snow are among them. If I still lived in Sharonville, I'd probably still be sitting on I-71. Instead, the roads are at least passable, the bars are open, and getting to RedsFest last night wasn't much of a hassle.
1) RedsFest. It's happening and as usual, it's being done well. I spent about 90 minutes walking around yesterday afternoon, and enjoyed it. If you like the Reds and want a dash of early-winter optimism, I would suggest a visit this afternoon. If you're headed there today, I will be in the 700WLW area from 11:00 until 12:30. Stop by, have a beer, talk baseball, and join the massive crowds we've been getting.
2) Wanna win Crosstown Classic tickets? Of course you do. I've got some to give away at a couple of different locations today.
I'll be at Stone Lanes in Norwood before the Xavier/Bowling Green game today, starting at 1:00. I'll have a pair of tickets to the game - in addition to tickets to future XU games - for lucky Muskie fans.
I'll also be at Murphy's Pub in Clifton starting at 4:00 for the UC/New Mexico game. We'll watch the Bearcats beat the Lobos (I hope) as well as the college football tilts this afternoon. I'll have more Crosstown Classic tickets - as well as tickets to future UC games to give away to fortunate UC fans.
If you like one of the two, you know where to go. If you like both or neither, come to both events.
3) Bengals v. Colts. Pleasedon'tsitbyme. Pleasedon'tsitbyme. Pleasedon'tsitbyme. Pleasedon'tsitbyme. Pleasedon'tsitbyme.
The past week was amazing. I spent 12 hours talking about sports on ESPN1530 this week and I didn't take one phone call about Andy Dalton. It's not that I wasn't open to taking phone calls about Andy Dalton, I'm happy to and I'm paid to. It's just that after months of Andy Dalton, his play and his future becoming the second most polarizing series of topics in Cincinnati (after the streetcar of course), that a lack of Dalton talk is both jarring and sorta refreshing at the same time.
I think a certain Andy Dalton fatigue has set in to the point were we're now just waiting to see what he does in his next playoff game. His performance last week, which was about as average as it gets for a quarterback winning on the road, failed to move anyone. If heading into the Chargers game you believed that Andy Dalton was either the greatest or worst quarterback who's ever lived, you still feel the same after it.
I don't think most people feel either way about Andy. I think that most people believe that Andy is a flawed, above-average, likeable, tough, stubborn, hard-working, incomplete quarterback who's never going to satisfy the need for a laser-throwing touchdown machine. It's just that like with pretty much everything else, the most extreme opinions are the ones that are shared loudest and the ones we hear most often.
You don't get much ambivalence on Twitter, there's not that much fence-sitting on message boards, and not many people call into talk shows to tell the host that they really don't have that strong of an opinion. And so when Andy Dalton plays a game where he's neither incredible or incredibly awful, you don't hear that much about him.
When they're winning, that silence is golden.
It's been interesting, though. The Bengals are heading into the final quarter of the regular season with a substantial lead in their division, they're two overtimes away from sitting on an eight-game winning streak, and they're headed into a critical game against a team with the exact same record that will go a long way toward determining their playoff positioning. They've got a lot going for them and they've bounced back nicely from their back-to-back losses against Miami and Baltimore.
And yet, none of this seems to matter.
It feels like most have resigned themselves to the belief that this team is not quite championship-caliber yet they hold out hope that a single playoff win is a possibility. And it feels like most will take one postseason win, celebrate the end of a way-too-long playoff victory drought, call the season a success, and move on. So while the significance of this game against Indy is noted, no one's really talking about the postseason in terms of how the Bengals can best win the Super Bowl (I am BTW), instead it's simply being looked at as a chance to play a 17th game. Who they play doesn't matter. When they play doesn't matter. That they win when they do play does.
I do think they'll win when they play the Colts on Sunday.
We have Indy's bad offensive line and crappy running game against the best Bengals defense ever. We have get weather that will netralize whatever quarterback advantage the Colts have (though the thought of Dalton having to throw it in lousy conditions excites me about as much as the actual conditions), and we have a rejuvenated running game (with a re-tooled O-line) that should be able to crank out first downs and we have a Colts defense that's that's been bad against the run while looking clueless in two of its last four games.
The spread is fluctuating between 5.5 and six points, with the Bengals laying them. I'm not sure that with weather hovering over the entire tilt that I'm willing to pick the Bengals to cover.
But a win and a seat behind the wheel in the race for the AFC's third seed is something I'm very willing to pick.
Bengals 20 Colts 16
4) A rally last week and a correct pick in that Houston/Jacksonville classic has me at 104-93....Somewhere in Wisconsin, a radio talk show host is trying to make the point that this Packers team really wouldn't be all that good even if Aaron Rodgers were healthy. That radio talk show host's Twitter account is surely a really fun place. Atlanta (+4.5) beats Green Bay....Tampa Bay (-2.5) will beat Buffalo. If you bet on that game, get help....I've completely lost track of the Browns quarterback situation. Not this year, I mean in the recent history of the franchise. New England (-12.5) hammers Cleveland....Among the many intriguing games this weekend is Lions/Eagles, two teams with winning records I don't trust. I think Philly will win by a point, which means the pick is Detroit (+2.5)....Don't count the Chiefs out yet. They've found some stuff offensively. KC (-3.5) drops DC....I wouldn't pick the Jets to beat 11 salt-truck drivers. A rested Oakland team (+2.5) wins at New York....What I said about the Chiefs, apply to the Steelers. Pittsburgh (-3.5) beats Miami....Baltimore wins, keeping some pressure on the good guys. But Minnesota (+7.5) covers....You go, Fitzy. Tennessee (+12.5) keeps it close enough against Denver.....Nice of you to reappear last week, Carson. St. Louis (+6.5) beats the team that used to play in St. Louis....San Diego (-3.5) wins.Giants lose....The Seahawks are good, but they're not as good as they're being made out to be. Some secondary issues will be exploited, perhaps as soon as Sunday when the 49ers beat them. San Fran (-2.5) inches closer Seattle....The spread is just a little too high to not pick Carolina (+3.5) over New Orleans....In a game I would've been excited about when I was eight, Dallas (-1.5) will beat Chicago.
5) Ohio State and a chance for a win they can finally point to. Look, you and I both know that regardless of who wins the SEC title game, SEC Guy is going to insist that the winner of that game advance to the BCS game. And he's going to do it obnoxiously.
And you and I both know that no matter how the OSU/Michigan State game ends, people are going to talk dismissively about the Big Ten, mock what Ohio State has done by continuing to disrespect the league they play in. The league is bad, and there's no getting around it. In fact, given how it's considered by most to be a down year for the sport, the fact that the Big Ten is still lousy works against Ohio State even more.
(A college friend of mine works for the Big Ten Network. He draws a paycheck from the league and he describes the suicidal feelings he deals with while watching teams like Indiana and Minnesota play every single week.)
And we also know that Florida State isn't losing to Duke's new football program, and while pointing to the Seminole's own yawner of a schedule became fashionable this week, most people making the argument against them can only do it half-heartedly. They know FSU deserves their current ranking, they just have a hard time admitting it.
So if you're an Ohio State fan, be resigned to the fact that regardless of what happens tonight in Indy, you're dealing with weeks of people saying the Buckeyes don't deserve to play for the championship. (I don't like making the OSU/Auburn debate about being "deserving." I like making about which season and resume is more impressive.) The dissecting, debating, and dismissing the merits of the Buckeyes' season is just beginning.
And yet if they win tonight, none of it matters. The debate has only become intolerable because this game still looms. It's not about playing for a title that not everyone will think they should get a shot at, it's about the fear that if they lose, the pro-Auburn crowd will oddly be proven right.
Thing is - and I admit that if it were me, I'd vote for the Tigers - if Ohio State does play Florida State for the title, I'd give 'em a really good shot to win the game. People aren't saying that the Buckeyes can't win the title, they're just saying that they shouldn't.
They'll get a chance though. Even though there's a part of me that would just love to sift through the fallout of Duke (lol), Michigan State (plausible), and Missouri (one might argue probable) wins, I see the Buckeyes finally getting a win - a tough, close win - they can point and not feel so embarrassed about.
Buckeyes 27 Spartans 24
ESPN's Mike Sando looks at whether the Bengals should draft a quarterback. I say they should at least be open-minded about doing so.
I was at UC/Louisville (:() and so I didn't watch the much hyped battle between the two most overhyped teams in the NBA, but I did both this recap and its title.
Together, we make football.
Glad you're back from your stroke Gary Kubiak, now get out.
Dogs should never die, especially cartoon dogs.
If you're looking for a place to hang out before the Bengals game on Sunday, join me at Holy Grail downtown from 9:30 - 11:30. The Bud Light Girls will be with me, and so should you. I'll also be at the John Morrell lot on Third and Race from 11:30 until 12:30.
I'm on radio Sunday....5:30 - 7:00 on ESPN1530 and 700WLW, and on ESPN Radio starting at 8:00, going until midnight.
Enjoy your weekend.
That one hurt. Those three words themselves should suffice, but Ill add more.
1) Teddy Bridgewater. Credit where it's due on a night where Teddy Bridgewater did some things to remind America why he was a Heisman frontrunner when the season began. I remember watching him against UC at PBS back in 2011 and writing/Tweeting/saying something along the lines of "playing against that guy is going to be miserable in a couple of years."
A couple of years later, Teddy Bridgewater has made me miserable. He might not have been great all night last night, but in one key sequence he turned in two ridiculous, tip-your-hat-to-the-other-guy plays that elicited the odd mix of both groans of misery and sighs of appreciation from the crowd at Nippert.
Let's torture ourselves. First he did this...
Then he did this.
How much of that was blind luck? I don't know, nor do I care. It was worth six points and it sucked.
And it was still pretty f-ing amazing.
I know, I know. It's 2013, we're never supposed to say anything good about the other guy. It's the age of "everybody sucks" and "it only happened because someone else blew it," but I'm not being fair and you're not being honest if we're failing to recognize some of Teddy's wizardry last night.
I know how this will work out. Bridgewater will go to some other NFL team and either torture the Bengals on a regular basis or stick it to them at the absolute worst times. I used to watch Ben Roethlisberger at his best against the Bearcats. He's continued to torture me nearly a decade after he left Miami. Somehow, someway, Teddy Bridgewater will do the same.
2) Brendon Kay. Brendon is not the quarterback who went viral last night. He didn't help his draft stock, if he even has any draft stock. He didn't sway Heisman voters and he didn't win the game. What he did do was solidify his status as one of the toughest, gutsiest UC players ever.
Don't ask me, ask Louisville. When the game ended and Brendon's final pass sailed incomplete, he was instantly met by Cardinal players and coaches just in front of the UofL sideline. You could tell that Brendon picked up some admirers on that team.
And how could he not? He took a vicious hit on his first half touchdown and then walked to the sideline on his own. And in the second half, he barely looked like he was able to walk much less run. He would run to the line of scrimmage looking like someone trying to shake off a Charley horse. He would move around in the pocket like a guy wh just stubbed his toe. And he would bring the Bearcats back twice in the second half while looking like a guy who was almost completely getting by - and thriving - on adrenaline and guts alone.
He mad some mistakes last night, some big ones in fact. But he also played one of the gutsier games I've seen from a Bearcat quarterback. If the Cardinals can appreciate that, so should you.
3) Too cute, Tommy. There are times when you want to try the hook and lateral. A potential game-winning drive is not one of them. There comes a point when you decide "hey, let's dust off that old jet sweep reverse flea-flicker" or whatever the hell the first offensive play of overtime was.
The first play of overtime is not that point.
Yes, trick plays are what Tommy Tuberville does. And yes, when they work we talk about how much we love his willingness to gamble. But not there, not in those situations. They were in a game where they had found some success playing more conventionally. And given how an OT game against that team was a dicey proposition as well as how crucial the first down play to start their only OT possession was, those downs were simply to precious and valuable to use gadget plays on them.
4) Officiating. I haven't seen many replays, so maybe there was something blatantly bad about that crew last night that I haven't seen, but I'm sorry (Twitter), I don't have the energy. Go find a message board. The team that deserved to win the game won it.
5) How this feels. A word that comes to mind is "unfulfilling." Another is "empty." They're 9-3 with a bowl game in front of them and so it's hard to call the year a failure. It just doesn't seem like a smashing success.
I said on the air yesterday that a UC season that all year long seemed to lack definition had a chance for a defining win last night. We'd been talking about the Louisville game for months, especially with the added element of the Cardinals bolting for the ACC.
There's 10-2 with signature win in the regular season finale, extended conference title and BCS hopes, and victory over a rival in front of a larger audience than usual.
And there's 9-3 with no wins over anyone really even interesting or good, losses to crappy teams like Illinois and USF, and a rivalry ending with little on the horizon to replace it.
The differences between the two are pretty massive.
The Bearcats will play in a bowl game and they'll have a chance for a third straight postseason win as well as a sixth ten-win season in the last seven years. These are not things that should be taken for granted by fans of this program. And I guess a bowl win could still change how I feel about this season.
It wasn't a bad year. It doesn't feel like a good one right now either.
(I'm going to blog more later. For now, I'm going to bed. Teddy Bridgewater will probably haunt my dreams.)
Missed Mo today? Catch up right here.
Mo talks Russ Mitchell about OSU and why he doesn't like the Big 10.
Mo talks with Sam LeCure and Devin Mesoraco about the offseason and Redsfest.
Mo talks with Dan Dakich about the game vs. the Colts and college hoops.
Mo talks with ESPN's Rece Davis about UC vs. Louisville.
Mo talks with former UC AD Bob Goin.
Mo talks 2013 UC season with Jim Kelly.
Mo talks OSU vs. MSU with a guy calling the game Dale Hellestrae.
WAY SHORT ON TIME....JUST GUESTS IN ALL CAPS.
3:33 – JIM KELLY, UC COLOR ANALYST
3:42 – DALE HELLESTRAE, ANALYST FOR THE BIG TEN TITLE GAME
4:04 – RECE DAVIS, ESPN COLLEGE FOOTBALL GUY, CALLING UC/LOUISVILLE
4:10 - RUSS MITCHELL, WILL PISS OFF OHIO STATE FANS
4:20 – DEVIN MESORACO AND SAM LECURE IN STUDIO
4:42 – DAN CLASGENS, FANTASY GENIUS
5:20 - DAN DAKICH, ON THE COLTS AND COLLEGE HOOPS
5:42 – BOB GOIN, FORMER UC A.D.
JOIN ME TODAY AT 3:04 ON ESPN1530
1) Winner keeps the keg. For a long time. Tonight, after a season filled with SMUs, Houstons, and Temples the Bearcats play a team people care about in a game people care about.
That's not to knock what the Bearcats have done to this point, which has been pretty fun to watch. But from the very point the 2013 schedule was announced this was the game we've been waiting for.
The stakes aren't nearly as high as we thought they might be, though they're still pretty high. When the season began, this year's Battle For The Keg Of Nails looked like a potential de facto AAC Championship Game and considering the preseason hype surrounding both Louisville and Teddy Bridgewater , I think a lot of us looked at tonight as an evening where the Bearcats would be trying to stop both a team and a quarterback looking to impress two different types of voters.
As it is, tonight's winner needs outside help to share a conference title and the Heisman race will be largely shaped by what comes out of the State Attorney's office in Tallahassee this afternoon. (There are literally millions of college football fans who won't admit it but are hoping that Jameis Winston gets charged with rape, meaning that there are millions of people who are hoping for at least the possibility that a woman was raped. These people are psychopaths.)
Nonetheless, it's a big game tonight, a multilayer-ed game with a ton of back-stories and angles to it. Some are calling it the biggest game in the history of Nippert Stadium. (Maybe it is, though I would give the nod to the 2008 Syracuse game that clinched an outright Big East title. That was arguably the most significant day in the program's recent history. Also, given the fact that the local NFL team won its first ever game at Nippert, you could argue that tonight is competing for the title of biggest UC game in the stadium's history) And Bearcat diehards are hoping that after tonight, it will no longer take an entire quarter to buy a beer and take a leak while local media members will say a not-so-fond farewell to Nippert's dank press-box.
It's the Cats and Cards for the final time. It's so much more.
*One of these teams will cling to conference title and BCS hopes. If Cincinnati wins, I spend my early Saturday afternoon following a football game between Central Florida and SMU. I really never thought I'd look forward to either watching or following those teams, but I'd really like to wake up on Saturday and still have conference title hopes for the Bearcats.
Central Florida is probably not going to lose to SMU, but it's not like the Knights have been dominant - they trailed USF in the fourth quarter and they needed a miracle catch to beat Temple, and the game is in Dallas so there's a chance, right?
Anyway, as we stand now there's both a trophy and a marquee bowl game still to play for. BCS numbers geeks seem to think that a UCF loss coupled with a UC win would mean the Bearcats would pass the Knights in the rankings, thus sending UC to a BCS bowl tilt.
Where they would be enormous underdogs against a college football power.
I've had friends of mine wonder if that's what UC really needs, especially right now with the national profile a little diminished because of the conference situation and with the memories of Tim Tebow throwing for 9,000 yards against them still fresh. I usually say nasty things about these friends under my breath before replying that yes, going to a BCS bowl game would be awesome. Mind you, this coming from a guy's who's endured the International, Fort Worth, Papajohns.com, New Orleans and Motor City Bowls. OK, so the likely non-BCS destinations aren't nearly as bad. Some are quite decent, actually. But the point is that once you get a sniff of being in a real bowl game, you don't want to go back to games named after department stores. And you can't break through and win one if you don't get to one.
The Bearcats can still get to one.
*The end of a rivalry. And no new ones on the horizon. College football is defined by rivalries. No one's making UC/UofL out to be either of the two rivalries that were on the main stage this past weekend, but the Keg of Nails has been a good rivalry. Don't let Louisville fans looking down their noses or hurt Bearcat fans tell you otherwise.
This year, there's more. Louisville got the spot in the ACC that Cincinnati desperately wanted. (And frankly, deservedly so.) The disappointment in Whit Babcock's voice when I had him on the air the day the news came down that Louisville and not Cincinnati would be leaving was audible. There's hurt feelings, there's a sense of "why them and not us" and if you're judging it soley by what's happened on the field between the two teams in recent years (which conference realignment is rarely about), there's a sense that Louisville's sudden prestige is a little undeserved. (The Cardinals needed overtime last season to avoid losing five straight in this series. Munchie threw 17 interceptions in a game dominated by this fake controversy.)
All this leaves UC without a rival.
Yes, there will be some name opponents to look forward to on future schedules. Yes, some good series can be developed with their AAC peers, though does the school want to be in the league long enough for any rivalries to take shape? And yes, they'll still play Miami every year, but calling the Bearcats and Redhawks rivals right now is sort of like looking at Obama and Boehner and commending their ability to work together.
An unfortunate thing about the collapse of Big East football, as least for UC, is that the Bearcats had started to develop some good rivalries. The River City Rivalry Trophy was a monstrosity and the two schools forced the rivalry angle a little too much at the outset, but Bearcats v. Panthers turned into a pretty good series. Same too - though without the trophy - with West Virgina. Throw in drivable distances for visiting fans, some very memorable games, and some pre-exisiting sports history and you've got games for fans to look forward to.
After tonight, we have....UConn? Memphis? Anyone?
I don't know that having a rival is essential to the success of a college football program. I do know that having one makes the season more fun. I do know that having an annual game against a hated opponent is one things most fans love about college football. And I do know that I'll miss watching UC play Louisville.
THIS is a cool giveaway. (And one that probably doesn't happen - at least with authenticity - without Louisville's cooperation) And I want one. If you happen to score one tonight and don't feel like fussing with eBay, I know someone who will take it off your hands.
*Exposure. Prestige. Perception. And stuff. Paul Daugherty covered a lot of this earlier this week....
Thursday is UC’s opportunity.
It’s a national-TV chance to show high school sophomores that it’s cool, prestigious even, to play football for the Bearcats. It’s a prime time chance for the big boys currently strangling UC’s football future to remove the unwelcome mat from their doorsteps.
Tuberville: “We will have five or six official-visit (recruits) here for the game. They’ll meet with professors (and) deans of the different schools we have. Those play a big factor in a kid’s decision.”
Maybe. A bigger factor is how your football team is perceived. UC might never change how the rest of the country sees its football team. That doesn’t mean the opportunity doesn’t exist. The platform exists Thursday. Time to seize it.
How many people will spend their evening watching Cincinnati and Louisville play football in a game that has zero national championship implications? I have no idea. I do know that your national sports-viewing menu includes a lousy Jaguars/Texans game (But hey, the Jags can still make the playoffs!) on the NFL Network and a Knicks/Nets game (Don't get me started on this one), so the lack of palatable choices elsewhere could divert some eyeballs toward the happenings at Nippert. And maybe there's a Heisman voter or two who wants to give Teddy Bridgewater a closer look.
Either way, the stadium will look great, and the atmosphere will be incredible. The place will look great on the national stage. It can't hurt to win the game.
*The end of Nippert as we know it. I'm not sure how sentimental to be about this. The people in charge of Nippert's renovations seem to understand that maintaining the integrity of what makes the place unique is essential to the project being successful. Nippert Stadium should still be quaint, just not nearly as much. There should still be a sense of history, just set against the backdrop of a more modern, comfortable stadium. You should still be able to get a feel for what Nippert looked like 90 years ago without having to wonder if it will take that long to make it from one end of the concourse to the other.
Nippert will be different, but it won't be that different.
For all of the talk of the added premium seating - which is an absolute necessity - I'm curious how the fan experience will change. We've talked about this for a while now, but things like narrow concourses, poorly-placed concession areas, limited sight-lines outside of the main seating areas, simply aren't tolerable in 2013.
They'll hopefully be a thing of the past by 2015.
Personally, I'm excited that after tonight, the tiny, cramped, antiquated home radio booth will get the wrecking ball. I'm not seeking any sympathy here, but our booth pales in comparison to almost every venue we go to. Our windows don't open. It's technically behind the times. It's a small room for four or five people to work in. These things don't matter to you, and they shouldn't, but they do matter to me.
The comfort level of the general press-box area ranks somewhere between smelly taxicab and a wet, moldy basement. The TVs rarely work. There's not much workroom. And there's nowhere to take visitors - bowl representatives, high-profile national media members, other school's admins, etc - when they visit.
That press-box can't come down soon enough.
Despite what it isn't and what its inconveniences are, when Nippert is full, particularly at night, it is a beautiful setting for college football, and as unique a place to see a game as any I've been to.
All of that said, it is an end of an era. And era endings do merit some reflection. A stadium I went to as a fan became a stadium I've worked at on fall weekends (with a few Thursday exceptions) for 13 years. The field I ran on to after a three-win team upset Wisconsin in 1999 became the one I looked down on as fans rushed onto it after clinching an Orange Bowl bid in 2008. In our tight little radio booth, I watched a program evolve from Cincinnati sports afterthought that few really got emotionally invested in to one that flirted with playing for a national championship. I watched from that booth as UC football started to matter. I watched a lot of really good games. I have a lot of really good memories.
I hope the old place helps create a few more tonight.
Bearcats 28 Cardinals 27
(If this game comes down to UC needing a field goal, my final memory of the radio booth at Nippert Stadium might be me throwing up in it.)
2) Walt Jocketty says that he's told Brandon Phillips that he's not shopping him. From Sirius/XM Mad Dog Radio....
Do believe him? Sure. They aren't shopping him now, which is mighty convenient, given the fact that Phillips's potential absence from RedsFest is becoming a bigger story than the event itself. And they could still shop him once the Cano deal gets done with whomever the Cano deal gets done with. And I'm guessing as soon as Walt hung up with Brandon, he scanned his texts and emails just in case another GM had any interest in his second baseman.
To be clear, there are worse things than having Brandon Phillips on the 2014 Reds. But if he's here, his contract is here and if the Reds are going to get any better, they're either going to have to be extremely creative financially or they're going to have to trade some guys they probably don't want a trade.
Dealing Phillips should be about getting some financial flexibility, nothing else. If he's here, where's the financial flexibility coming from? And if they're monetarily stuck, how do they get any better?
They could trade a Homer Bailey I suppose, but are you really better if you're plugging one hole by opening another?
You can trade some farmhands, but who are they willing to give up that another team really wants? And wasn't the farm system all but dried up a combination of steady player ascension to the Majors and a bunch of trades involving other minor leaguers?
I say this while keeping in mind the fact that Walt Jocketty's biggest moves have been unforeseen when he's made them and while remembering that Walt usually gets going after the Winter Meetings, but if you take him at his word regarding his second baseman while understanding Phillips' limited trade value, I gotta wonder....
How do the Reds get unstuck? More important, how do they get better?
3) Ken Griffey Jr. I talked a little yesterday about his induction into the Reds Hall of Fame next year is a deserving honor and started thinking about his candidacy for Cooperstown in 2016. More to the point, I started to think about how that vote will highlight why so many of us mock the process.
Junior will be a Hall of Famer on the first ballot. But he won't go in unanimously.
No one does.
It's every voter's prerogative to vote for - and leave off - whomever they want. If a voter looks at Junior's numbers and simply decides that he's not Hall-worthy, he or she might be out of their skull, but that's their right.
But what bugs me - and many others - is that the process is taken so uber-seriously by many of the voters that he'll be left off of ballots in his first year of eligibility.
That's pretty much it.
Furthermore, the same people keeping out known or suspected juicers solely because either they know the player cheated or think maybe perhaps they cheated will still keep Griffey off their ballots even though his numbers put into context against the steroid era are all the more impressive.
The most obvious first ballot Hall of Famer in recent history was Rickey Henderson, who got in easily in 2009 with 94.8% of the vote. This means that there were about 30 voters that year who looked at Rickey Henderson's numbers and said, essentially "naaah."
I know I know, there are Hall of Famers and there are absolute upper crust Hall of Famers, the best of the best. I get it. Some Hall of Fame choices aren't clear-cut. Barry Larkin, much as I hate to admit it. Jim Rice. Gary Carter Just to name some recent examples.
But Rickey Henderson? Come on.
Ken Griffey Jr? The man with the sixth-highest home run total in the history of the damn sport? Someone won't vote for him.
And these baseball writers wonder why we laugh at them.
4) Can Chuck Martin do what his former boss did? One day I was sitting in a bar on the west side and the new Head Football Coach at the University of Cincinnati walked in, accompanied by a marketing guy and a girl with some pocket schedules. There might have been nine people in the place, but within minutes, Brian Kelly was giving what amounted to a stump speech, trying to excite people about Bearcat football. For months before his team played a game (I know, he was the coach in the '07 International Bowl, which was a miserable experience), he did this same act all over the city, adding as many speaking engagements as possible, becoming a regular on local radio and TV and almost literally going door-to-door selling people on UC football.
Chuck Martin might have to literally go door to door to sell people on his Miami program.
Yes, he needs to improve recruiting. Yes, he needs to find ways to funnel good local talent to Oxford. Yes, he needs to match system with talent far better than his predecessor.
But he's got to start selling that program.
Tucked away in a tough place to get to, in a region that has more sports options than ever before, Miami football has almost become forgotten. I know Miami grads who couldn't have been more obnoxious during the Roethlisberger years that couldn't name a player on the current roster and who haven't been to Yager Stadium in years.
A couple of years ago, the school provided us with tickets to give away on air. No one who won them ever came to claim them.
How do Chuck Martin and the people he works for now get people excited about Miami University football? He might want to start by asking the guy he used to work for.
5) The feel good story of the high school basketball season comes from my alma mater. This is a cool story about a Scott High School Student, a basketball team, and a coach who gets it. Read it and watch the video.
Radio, RedsFest, and the place to win Crosstown Classic tickets.
I'll be in 700WLW's area (Do we call it an exhibit? A booth?) at RedsFest on Saturday. Come by, say hello, and talk baseball.
Also on Saturday, I'll be giving away some Crosstown Classic tickets.....
If you're a Xavier fan, I'll be at Stone Lanes in Norwood starting at 1:00 before Saturday's XU/Bowling Green tilt. I'll have Xavier tickets as well as tickets to the Crosstown Classic.
If you're a UC fan, I'll be at Murphy's Pub for Saturday's Bearcats/New Mexico game starting at 4:00. I'll have UC tickets as well as tickets to the Crosstown Classic.
Missed Mo today? OMG. Why? Catch up here.
Mo talks with the voice of the Colts Bob Lamey.
Mo talks with Reds' Tucker Barnhart about the offseason and Redsfest.
Mo talks with Miami Redhawks new football coach Chuck Martin.
Mo talks with Chris Fowler about UC vs. Louisville.