Every day there are three things, here are those three things.
1) This is the worst part. We've arrived at the worst, most uncomfortable part of the Marvin Lewis/Bengals divorce that seems all but inevitable.
The part where they've agreed to break up, but are still living with each other.
We've already chewed up and spit out the names of the most obvious replacements. And we've already observed that in many respects, the Bengals/fan relationship has come full circle back to where it was before Marvin got here. The stands are empty. Banners are being taken down. Apathy, to a certain extent, is setting in.
And there's three more games left.
With Marvin Lewis coaching them.
Which means three more weeks of Marvin speaking on the team's behalf, and the odd little dance everyone is doing where we pretend like that Marvin's future and the future of whoever next occupies the coach's office isn't more top-of-mind than how his team achieves victory that coming Sunday.
This is the worst part of the breakup, the part where all parties have to peacefully coexist while silently acknowledging that the relationship is ending. The Bengals, Marvin Lewis, and we as fans are all in the awkward stage where we know the end is near, but we're acting as if everything is normal.
January 1st can't get here soon enough.
2) The Bearcats, and a kinda/sorta must-win. I haven't blogged about UC's loss to Florida yet, mainly because I didn't feel like spending my Saturday night typing words that I'd later have to go back and delete.
That defeat was far more maddening that the one a week earlier at Cintas Center, mainly because the Gators were begging the Bearcats to beat them.
Instead, Cincinnati had a staggering 21 turnovers, a startling number considering how slowly the game was played. UC missed six free throws. And they gave away a game they should've won.
Which adds to the importance of tonight's tilt against Mississippi State.
It's silly, of course, to label a game in December a "must win," but tonight does have that feel, no?
Especially given the relative difficulty in winning at UCLA next week as well as the lack of quality win opportunities in the American Athletic Conference.
More importantly, the Bearcats have looked like a shaken basketball team since the early minutes of the Shootout, a swagger-deficient team that suddenly looks lost. (And one that I wish would run the offense through their wings and not their best inside guy)
A win tonight, and maybe some of that lost confidence returns.
A loss, and I'm probably typing words I'll have to eventually delete.
3) The Musketeers. Xavier is really, really good. How's that for analysis?
And I'm not even sure they're close to as good as they can be, given how much of the load Trevon Bluiett is carrying on offense, how some roles are still not clearly defined, and how much they can still clean up on defense.
But they've just come off a run of three convincing wins against a good Baylor team, what I still think can be a very good Cincinnati team, and a Colorado team is probably not very good but did have a defense that measured pretty well statistically before the Musketeers torched them.
They just went 4-0 on their revenge tour. They've seemingly put that Arizona State mess behind them. They're ranked in the top ten, and even if Villanova is as scary as ever, the makings of a really fun race at the top of the Big East is starting to form weeks before league play even begins.
And I wonder how much better XU might be by then.
Radio Show: James Rapien is hosting my show on ESPN1530, which I'll return to tomorrow. I'm in for Lance tonight from BB&T Arena, starting at 6:05 on 700WLW.
Recommended Link Of The Day: The NBA's Eight Most Surprising Storylines So Far