Bits and Bytes: WVU - Cincinnati

With renewed hope for a Big East title, West Virginia fans are encouraged to enjoy this last smattering of news and notes before the Mountaineers and Cincinnati kick off.


Cincinnati claims to have the fifth-oldest football program in the nation. The Bearcats began playing in 1885, and only four schools still in existence in the FBS started in an earlier year. Can you name them? Answer, as always, at the end of this column.


While that number is a fine GPA, it's also West Virginia's yards per carry average on rushing attempts in 2010. That number gets nothing more than a "C" when graded against the rest of the FBS. WVU ranks just 73rd out of 120 FBS teams in yards per carry. West Virginia is also well down the list in total rushing per game. The Mountaineers currently reside in the 54th spot, gaining just 156.8 yards per game on the ground.

Whether WVU can, or needs to, bolster its rushing yardage in order to win is open for debate, but there's no doubt that the Mountaineers must average more than four yards per carry to be successful.


Cincinnati has become one of the growing number of schools to call a halt to the printing of media guides. While this is sold as a boost to the economy, it's also done as a cost cutting measure. Schools that sell hundreds, if not thousands, of copies of their guides can afford to continue to do so, but many others are looking for a way to cut back on expenses.


When UC lost wide receiver Vidal Hazelton in the opening game of the season, the Bearcat offense figured to suffer. While Hazelton's loss can't be totally quantified, mutl-talented receiver D.J. Woods has certainly done his part to fill the void. Woods leads the league with 16 all all-purpose yards per game, and has 1,329 total yards (27 rush, 743 receiving, 113 punt return, and 446 kick return) to his credit.


The last three games in the WVU – Cincinnati series have been decided by a total of 11 points. That doens't necessarily mean this year's game will follow suit, but it does show just how close the programs were over the past three seasons.


Despite its 3-5 record, the Bearcats are still holding on to an impressive road winning streak. UC has won seven consecutive league games on the road. Its 35-27 road win over Louisville, in which it retained the Keg O' Nails, is its only Big East win of the season.


Only Rutgers (1869), Michigan (1879), Navy (1880) and Minnesota (1883) predated the dawn of UC football and still remain in the Fbs, according to the UC football office. Princeton, which Rutgers played in the first recognized collegiate football game, is not a member of the FBS. Neither are a number of other Ivy League schools that started before the Bearcats, who are currently playing in their 123rd season of competition.

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