Greetings Bearcat Faithful!!! Yes, it is time once again for still another edition of Bix’s Picks, BCL’s weekly effort to make you, the faithful followers of Brother Butch Jones and his flock of gridiron greats, nearly omnipotent when it comes to relaying the history, pertinent facts and of course predicting the outcome of the game against the weekly opponents of your beloved Bearcats.
Coach Butch Jones has done a stellar job in “coaching his Cats up” enabling them to FINALLY break into the Top 25 by going 4-0 on the season after the most recent “white washing” (that is veiled reference, with the exception of the student section, to Saturday’s planned “White Out”) of the Redhawks of Miami. It is my opinion going forward that on unseasonably cool October nights we should eschew the “White Out” gig and the next time go with a “Neapolitan Out” promotion because that is sure as hell what it looked like from this cubby reporter’s perch in Shank Pavilion Saturday night…just a thought.
Alright, back to the business at hand. Thanks to the departure of our friends from the “Wild and Wonderful” state of West Virginia to The Big 12, our Bearcat scheduling committee was forced to bring in a 2nd FCS opponent to fill the void in the 2012 FB season created by the exodus of the Mounties. And speaking of the Mountaineers, who among you would have thought that their inaugural season in the Big 12 would have gotten off to such an impressive start? I mean let’s face it the 2012 version of WVU is pretty much the same team that shared the 2011 Big East title with UC and Louisville. WVU, now a year removed and playing in one of the chosen conferences, finds itself the talk of college football and ranked in the Top 5 with a QB that is currently in the lead for a Heisman Trophy. I ask you, would WVU be enjoying the same accolades if they were still a member of the Big East? Did Geno Smith throw for 8 TD’s and 656 yards (as he did against the Baylor Bears) against any team in the Big East last year? Could Geno do it this year? I know that the sample size is small and the season isn’t half way over but I for one hope that WVU continues their winning ways because all it does is help the Big East in their attempt to justify to the world that there has been and there still is a very high level of football being played in this conference. And the last time I checked I believe that it was the UC Bearcats that have won 3 of the last 4 Big East Championships….NOT West Virginia.
THE FORDHAM RAMS
The history of Fordham Football is pretty interesting. It is ancient history (PITT and Fordham have A LOT in common!), and when I say ancient I mean before the War history. Not the Gulf Wars, not the Vietnam War, not the Korean “Conflict” (Although my Father will go to his grave saying that the Chinese mortar shrapnel that remains lodged next to his spine sure felt like it was rec’d in a “War”!), I mean the big one…. WWII! I am not kidding ya man, prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor these guys were East Coast world beaters.
Dr. Springer wrote an article earlier in the week detailing some of the famous alumni from Fordham. If you spend an inordinate amount of time on the crapper, I suggest you bring your iPad into the facilities with you and get a little education on the “7 Blocks of Granite” (And no, that is not a descriptive word for why you are in the crapper in the first place!), former HC “Sleepy Jim” Crowley, one of the famous “Four Horsemen of Notre Dame”, the “Iron Major” and of course “Much ado About Nothing to Nothing”….all great reads! However, in the “the more things change, the more they DON’T stay the same” line of thinking, I present to you the 2012 Fordham Rams.
HC Joe Moorhead brings his 4-2 Rams to the friendly confines of Nippert Stadium this Saturday evening for what should prove to be a monumental ass whoopin’. Moorhead, who played for Fordham in the mid 90’s and has been dubbed as one of the 6 best QB’s to ever play at Fordham (What an achievement!) is in his first year at his alma mater. Big Joe was previously employed by UCONN as offensive coordinator. I feel fairly confident in saying that the Rams will have a lot of the same offensive schemes as the Huskies. The Rams are off to their best start since 2003 when they were also 4-2 and have wins over Lock Haven, Cornell, Columbia and Georgetown. Their two losses came on the road at Villanova and Lehigh and their 3rd will be at the hands of the Bearcats here in The Nip.
Fordham SR QB Ryan Higgins will be at the helm of the Rams offense. Higgins has hit a very impressive 68.2% of his throws this year going 120-176 for 1,468 yards. He has 8TD’s against 5 INT’s has been sacked 16 times. The Rams bring in another QB, SO Michael Nebrich to run the ball and he is 2nd on the team in rushing with 186 yds on 36 attempts. Nebrich is responsible for 5 (4 rushing and 1 via the air) of the Rams 22 TD’s scored this season.
SR RB Carlton Koonce, a 5’8” 180 pounder, pretty much handles the rushing load for the Rams and Fordham is a run first offensive unit. Koonce has amassed 870 yards on 151 attempts and has found pay dirt 7 times (5 on the ground and 2 times via the air) this season. The word on the Fordham blogs is that he runs like he stole something so I am sure that CBJ is game planning to put the kibosh on the little feller.
Fordham has 3 wide outs that have provided the bulk of the catches and yardage for the Rams. SO Brian Wetzel leads the team in catches with 32 for 445 yds. SR WR Nick Talbert is 2nd with 27 grabs for 347 yds and Sr WR Greg Wilson has 303 yds on 23 grabs but leads the trio in TD’s with 4.
On the defensive side of the ball, SR LB Michael Martin is far and away the leading tackler on the team with 65. Martin is also tied for the team lead in sacks with 3.5 with JR LB Jake Rodriques, a 6’-2” 230 pound Irish boy from Southington, Conn. JR DB Ian Williams leads the team with 3 of their 5 INT’s and is 4th on the team in tackles. Other than that, nothing else is really jumping out at me saying “HEY!!!” so we will move on to The Line segment….
The Las Vegas Hotel and Casino is the only house to put out a line on this one folks and they are fairly certain that the Bearcats of Cincinnati are going to escape with the “W”. Cincy stands as a 40.5 point home favorite against the pride of the Patriot League Fordham Rams. The cowards have abstained from creating an Over/Under line for this contest. Sooo, for this edition of Bix’s Picks let’s use Cincy -40.5 as the official number of record.
THE PREDICTION and THE PLAY
Man, I have got to tell you, I wouldn’t want to be a Fordham Ram this Saturday evening….Let me revise that, I wouldn’t want to be a Fordham Ram on ANY evening but ESPECIALLY not THIS Saturday evening. After the less than stellar performance against our last FCS opponent a few weeks ago, I am convinced that our beloved Bearcats have come to fully realize that every time they take the field they better be damn ready to play the game, no matter what their opponent’s bowl or league affiliation is.