Three Things: Bearcats Win, Kickers Don't Want Job, And Is This A Rotation?

Every day there are three things, here are those three things.

(Photo: Getty Images)

1) The Bearcats.  There was a moment with about 12 minutes left in UC's game against Austin Peay when a few concerning glances were exchanged among those of us who were at Nippert Stadium.  Most of us never thought the Bearcats would, you know, actually lose Luke Fickell's debut against the Governors, but we were at least entertaining that it could happen.

Thankfully, that didn't happen.  Mike Boone played a fine game, which will have to be a theme this season if UC is to win as often as it loses.  He is, arguably, their most important player, and last night, he was UC's best. Hayden Moore balanced good and bad. The good came in the form of three TD tosses, the bad came in the form of the fact that when he threw, he stared at his receivers like an old man ogling his doctor's hot receptionist. But when the game hung in the balance, Moore best move was to hand the ball to Boone and get out of the way.

It was not a sparkling season-opener for the Bearcats.  There were a avoidable penalties, there were too many punts, and a team that his UC's small margin for error can't have missed PATs or shanked chip shot field goals.

But they did win, even if they did confirm how much work this coaching staff has on their hands with this year's team.  Fickell is taking over a program that fielded a 4-8 team that was often blown out last season, lost some quality players, has limitations on offense - including at quarterback - and lacks depth in many areas.  A stunningly good debut wasn't to be expected.  Avoiding embarrassment will have to do.

2) Can anyone kick?  I actually got to see a good amount of the "Bengals" vs. "Colts" preseason finale. In fact, I saw more than I really wanted to. 

The game had four main themes....

A) The Bengals continue to have a nice group of young defensive players that impress. Jordan Willis notched his fourth sack of the preseason, and Jordan Evans continues to be this August's "wait, who's that guy?" guy, doing a little of everything against players dressed up in Colts uniforms.  He gives the Bengals an intriguing option at linebacker - one who might be more athletic than anyone at that position whose name doesn't rhyme with "Rontaze Murfict" and could help theme get past the three-game absence of their most important player.

Yes, I called Vontaze Burfict the Bengals' most important player.

Anyway, Pro Football Focus was salivating, and understandably so...

For the first period of this game, Evans was all over the field for the Bengals defense, seemingly making every play. He led the team with six defensive stops despite playing only 18 snaps. Making a defensive stop on a third of your snaps on the field is a ridiculous rate and earned him the best grade of 96.2 overall of anyone in the game.

B) The kicking battle - referenced in the Blog Of Football Guesses this week - has turned into a big 'ol "who the f**k knows." 

Randy Bullock appeared to have the inside track on the gig coming into the game, and seemingly clinched it when Jake Elliott missed a 46-yard try that came after he'd successfully nailed a 41-yard kick that was nullified by a penalty.

But then Bullock whiffed on a 47-yarder that would've potentially sealed the win for the Bengals, opening things up for a desperate game-ending opportunity for Elliott to redeem himself (what happened in between the kicks, I have no idea, and I don't care to look up), which he kicked plenty good from 60-yards out, but sailed.

So now what?

My inclination would be to keep Elliott. He has the leg, they used a pick on him for a reason, and the last two times Bullock has attempted a kick with anything riding on it, he's missed. 

C) John Ross got hurt.  Preseason sucks, man.

D) Jeff Driskell got hurt. Which means the Bengals should sign Colin Kaepernick to be the third string quarterback right in the middle of the final weekend before the season starts just so I can watch college football, drink beer, and laugh at the chaos that will ensue.

3) Wait, do the Reds have a pitching staff? The Reds finished off August with a 7-2 win over the Mets that was highlighted by the coolest, most heartwarming moment of the season, authored by Joey Votto, who I'm very proud to root for.

It also featured another strong outing from Robert Bob Stephenson, who pitched pretty capably in August and who might be starting to, as they say, "get it."

Meanwhile, Sal Romano has had some encouraging outings, Luis Castillo can be dazzling at times, and Homer Bailey's are is still attached to his body, all of which bodes well for those of us who'd like to spend the winter talking about who could be in the rotation as opposed to wondering who will be in it.

Yes, there's a difference.

Bonus Fourth Thing....

4) Ohio State v. Indiana. By the time I got home from Nippert, a game that seemed up for grabs for a few seconds was comfortably being controlled by the Buckeyes, but I wanted to share this take in this forum, because it needs to happen....

 

Radio Show: I'm finishing my week of fill-in work on ESPN Radio's "First and Last" this morning from 4:00 until 6:00.  The ESPN1530 show is back on Wednesday with only two more interruptions between then and September 21st.  

Recommended Link Of The Day: This podcast with Brent Musburger.

Follow me on Twitter @MoEgger1530.

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Email me: mo@espn1530.com

Mo Egger

Mo Egger

Mo Egger delivers his unique take on sports on Cincinnati's ESPN 1530! Read more

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