Cincinnati has one of the best pass rushers in the Big East, but he won't play against Louisville Friday night.
It's that time of the year when X-rays, bowl scouts wearing blazers that make them look like theater ushers, Coaching Hot Seat lists, Bobby Petrino rumors, conflicting computer rankings and Heisman Trophy Watch Lists all squeeze their way into the conversation.
Occasionally, one quarterback says that he is a better player than another quarterback, right Munchie Legaux?
Hey, The 'Book can relate to that because the nuggets, information and wisecracks that you find here are better than the stuff you find in any other college football notebook in this area. We're better, too. Read on and see for yourself.
THE BIGGEST, BADDEST BEARCAT WON'T BE CHASING BRIDGEWATER
Injuries always tilt the playing field in college football. Cincinnati has lost a defensive player that certainly tilts matters in Louisville's direction when the Bearcats and Cardinals play at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Friday night.
Walter Stewart is not only UC's best defensive lineman, he is also the active career sacks leader among all Big East players with 17-1/2.
But Stewart will not play against Louisville. He didn't play in the game the Bearcats lost at Toledo last week. The word is that Stewart will not play again this season because of an upper-body injury, but he is reportedly seeking another opinion. Bill Koch of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Stewart watched the Toledo game from the press box.
"It was really hard because he's such an impact player for us," UC defensive end Dan Giordano told Koch. "He's the leader and captain of our team. It's hard not having him on the field, but at the same time he's still at practice. He's still part of the team. He's still talking to us. It's kind of like we're playing for him."
SOONER OR LATER, SOMEBODY HAS TO WIN
Teams can't hide once conference play begins. It's impossible to schedule a victory – or even find one at times.
As the season roars into the second half, there are still 17 teams remaining from Bowl Championship Series leagues that have failed to win a conference game. That is a list (blush) that includes two local schools – Kentucky and Indiana.
It's a list worth mentioning heading into this weekend because both the Wildcats (Missouri) and the Hoosiers (Illinois) are playing league opponents that have also failed to win a conference game.
Of course, they're playing them on the road – and neither UK nor IU is favored. But here is a league-by-league breakdown of the BCS schools that have failed to win a conference game.
Big East – 3 of 8, Pittsburgh, UConn, South Florida.
Big Ten – 4 of 12, Minnesota, Purdue, Illinois, Indiana.
SEC -- 4 of 14, Auburn, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky.
Big 12 – 2 of 10, Baylor, Kansas.
Atlantic Coast Conference – 2 of 12, Boston College, Virginia.
Pac-12 – 2 of 12, Washington State, Utah.
WHO'S NUMBER ONE? THERE ARE FIVE CORRECT ANSWERS
The 'Book believes there are 124 FBS football programs in America this season, although somebody probably tried to upgrade to FBS status while we were writing the first two items. There is an opportunity for all but two of them to be ranked Number One.
Why? Because there are at least 122 college football computer polls.
Kenneth Massey, a math professor at Carson-Newman in Jefferson City, Tenn., operates one of the six computer polls that is used in the Bowl Championship Series formula.
Massey also operates a web site -- www.masseyratings.com -- that tracks 122 different computer polls that rank the best college football teams. Looking at Massey's work, five different teams have earned the top ranking from at least one computer formula:
Alabama, Florida, Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame.
Massey has been rating teams for nearly two decades. He told the New York Times this week that the proliferation in college football computer polls has been persistent.
"When I started, there were six or seven," he said. "But every year, it gets bigger and bigger. It's kind of a nerdy hobby. It combines sports with math and computers, three things that don't ordinarily go together."
STRIKING THE POSE EFFICIENTLY
The folks at HeismanPundit.com are go-to reading the closer we get to balloting time for the Heisman Trophy. The 'Book has a Heisman vote. (Stop cheering, you're embarrassing 'The Book.) We follow the Heisman Pundit. The 'Book was interested in what he had to say this week.
This was the message: There has been a strong correlation between being ranked high in the NCAA passer efficiency ratings (usually first or second) and winning the trophy.
Don't bother rushing to the NCAA web site to find the list of the top five guys in passing efficiency. The 'Book has already taken care of that:
Here you go: 1. A.J. McCarron, Alabama; 2. Collin Klein, Kansas State; 3. Nick Florence, Baylor; 4. Geno Smith, West Virginia; 5. Seth Doege, Texas Tech. One of those guys, probably Klein or McCarron, is going to be your winner.
Now, here are the Pundit's top Heisman contenders: 1. Klein; 2. Manti Te'o, Notre Dame linebacker; 3. McCarron; 4. Smith and Braxton Miller, Ohio State quarterback.
The site BusinessInsider.com isn't satisfied writing about the credit markets and mortgage refinancing – or the Pundit's research. It also posted its list of nine contenders, adding these names to the discussion:
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel; Doege; Matt Barkley, Southern Cal; Kenjon Barner, Oregon halfback.
Big week for Mr. Crawford. BIG WEEK.
He went 4-1 and jumped into the season lead over Mr. Bozich who missed three games – Indiana over Navy, South Carolina over Florida and Western Kentucky over Louisiana-Monroe – last week. He may never catch Mr. Crawford again.
Overall records: Eric 31-9. Rick 30-10.
CINCINNATI at LOUISVILLE
Rick says U of L 27, Cincinnati 21.
Eric says U of L 41, Cincinnati 38.
KENTUCKY at MISSOURI
Rick says Missouri 31, UK 17.
Eric says Missouri 28, UK 21.
INDIANA at ILLINOIS
Rick says Illinois 33, IU 30.
Eric says IU 41, Illinois 35.
WKU at FIU
Rick says WKU 29, FIU 22.
Eric says WKU 35, FIU 14.
NOTRE DAME at OKLAHOMA
Rick says Oklahoma 21, Notre Dame 17.
Eric says Oklahoma 28, Notre Dame 10
Ralph Russo is the national college football writer for the Associated Press. He's figured out that the Top 25 poll is not the only list that college football fans like to study. There is also readership for a Coach's Hot Seat list. Here is Russo's Top Five for this season.
Gene Chizik, Auburn. Maybe he can land as Cam Newton's personal assistant.
Jeff Tedford, California. He's had a nice run at Berkeley but the 21-3 loss to Stanford hurts.
Frank Spaziani, Boston College. That move to the ACC hasn't done much for BC football.
Joker Phillips, Kentucky. Still waiting for an SEC win.
Derek Dooley, Tennessee. It will cost the Volunteers a check for $5 million.