Thanks to the Cincinnati's Enquirer's Bill Koch for his participation. My questions, his answers ...
1. Cincinnati has played two fewer games than many teams in this country. As a beat writer, are you still trying to figure out this team?
Very much so. Not only have they played two fewer games than most teams, two of their wins have come against FCS competition and another has come against a Miami team that they have beaten seven years in a row. Even their one quality victory was over Virginia Tech, which has been a major disappointment.
2. Butch Jones said this week his defense needs to get better in a hurry. I know the schedule has been soft, but the numbers suggest they've been solid. Where do you stand on this?
It's hard to argue with a defense that has allowed only 14.4 points per game. But they are susceptible to the pass and have gotten off to a slow start in each of the last two weeks. They have come up with seven interceptions and average 3.2 sacks per game, but they still have a long way to go.
3. What are the strengths and weaknesses of quarterback Munchie Legaux?
Legaux does not possess the accuracy that defined previous UC quarterbacks Zach Collaros and Tony Pike. At least he hasn't displayed it yet, but he is very productive as a runner and seems to be resourceful enough to make a big play when the Bearcats need one. Even though he's a junior, this is his first year as a starter so he's still learning but he has a lot of potential.
4. A Big East question: The conference has three unbeaten teams, with Cincinnati being one of them. Do you expect come January we'll be saying this was a banner year for the Big East?
Certainly it has been a banner year to this point because all three of its unbeaten teams are staying in the league, so it provides hope for the future for a league that has lost much of its stature in recent years due to conference realignment. But this league is known for its balance. Generally there is no dominant team and that's even more true now that West Virginia has left. In fact, if there has been anything close to a dominant team in recent years it has been UC, which has won or shared three of the last four league titles.
5. In what area(s) do you suspect Toledo will fare well on Saturday?
Toledo should have success throwing the ball and will no doubt benefit from a juiced crowd looking for an upset of a ranked BCS school, but I wonder if their defense will be able to slow a UC offense that has been very good so far this season, especially in its last two games.