These might not be the three things on your mind, but you are welcome to start your own blog whenever you'd like, and I'll preface this by saying that I just don't have the energy today to weigh in on whether or not Cam Newton hates women.
1) Bearcats on the brink, part one. How much did Luke Fickell energize the UC fan base before the season began?
So much so that many were either willing to write off this season entirely or talk themselves into the Bearcats being pretty good.
Five games in, the season is on the verge of slipping away. The next two games are against ranked teams, with next week's road tilt against South Florida pitting the Bearcats against a bona fide New Year's Six contender. With seven games left, the bowl math is starting to get tricky after the loss to Marshall sent UC to 2-3.
That loss was sobering. Not necessarily because of the result, but also because it illustrated how deeply flawed the roster Fickell inherited is, and because it highlighted that the things that became trademarks of the Tuberville era don't go away in one offseason.
This team isn't that good, and had Chuck Martin not gift-wrapped a win in Oxford, we'd be talking about a 1-4 squad still looking for its first win against an FBS foe. None of this reflects on Fickell and his staff (although I do wonder why they wouldn't turn to Ross Trail late in the Marshall game), and none of this should dampen the enthusiasm for the direction the program is going in - I'm bullish on the Bearcats - but with two exceptionally challenging games on the horizon and a team that's had its limitations exposed over the first five games - it was painful to watch their skill guys not get separation last week - those who wanted to skip past this season seem smarter than those who talked themselves into something that ain't happening.
2) Bearcats on the brink. Part two. And then there are the UC fans I know that skip ahead to hoops the second trouble appears on the gridiron horizon. To be fair, there's a lot of reasons to start thinking about Bearcat basketball, and I'd be lying to you if I told you I wasn't wishing ahead to basketball since about a week after Reds opening day.
Mick Cronin's team has a chance to be damn good this season, with as good a returning roster as he's had, an intriguing collection of incoming players, and a style of play that could - and hopefully, will - look a lot different than what we're used to seeing.
My main questions for the season....Can being a senior go-to bring out more of Gary Clark's personality, and what kind of impact could that have on the team as a whole? Can a faster pace force Jacob Evans to be more aggressive on offense? What leap does Jarron Cumberland make from year one to year two? How many times will angry fans call me to gripe about the parking situation at BB&T Arena, even though they had months to swing by and assess how to handle it? How do they play during, and emerge from, the December Xavier/Florida/Mississippi State/UCLA guantlet? How many weeks before Selection Sunday will fans start complaining about what seed the Bearcats will get? Will the recruiting guy that told me that Keith Williams would be my favorite player prove to be correct?
I can't wait. And if the Bengals lose to Buffalo, expect me to start talking about these things more extensively during our show in the afternoon.
3) CBJ! Year five of my casual die-hard fandom of the Columbus Blue Jackets begins tomorrow. The Jackets host the New York Islanders, who once employed my favorite hockey player of all-time (bonus points, and maybe a prize for anyone who can guess who that is). My guess for the season....the Jackets pile up fewer than 100 points in the regular season, but finally win a series in the postseason. And I'll badger James Rapien into getting John Tortorella on again.
Radio Show: Absolutely loaded today. We have on two - and maybe three- Bengals legends who will be honored at this week's game. We have fantasy football advice from Dan Clasgens, gambling help from handicapper Brandon Lang, Chad Brendel on the Bearcats, some dude from Buffalo talking about the Bills, and we'll dive into whether or not it's okay to go to Wendy's on a first date. Join us at 3:05 on ESPN1530.
Know what'd be fun? If you came to Smoke Justis tonight. We can watch football. We can drink beer. We can eat. You can win Bengals tickets.
Recommended Link Of The Day: The Cubs Were Never More Themselves Than In 1979