- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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I may have jinxed the Big Toe Bombers last week by mentioning them in that space. We got waxed in both games of our doubleheader, and I couldn't play because of my injured ankle. But the kickball tournament is Sunday, and I still like our chances of winning the big trophy, hopefully with me back on the field contributing my usual minuscule amount.
You didn't come here for that kind of football information, though. It's been a wild week, so let's get to some of your e-mails.
Joe from Gillette, N.J., writes: Let's assume the Big 12 collapses and Kansas, Kansas St., Missouri, Iowa State are all looking for conference homes. If the Big East cannot figure out a way to leverage the only trump card they own (Big East Basketball), they do not deserve to continue as a conference. Sure football is driving conference realignment, but if the Big East (a BCS conference) cannot outmaneuver the Mountain West Conference (currently a non-BCS conference) in getting the remnants of the Big 12 that would be the saddest testimony of all to the leadership (or lack thereof) at Providence.
Brian Bennett: I agree with you in principle, Joe, which is why I wrote Friday that the Big East needs to look West. This could come down to a competition between the Big East and the Mountain West. The advantage the Mountain West has right now is more stability; it doesn't look like any current MWC teams are getting poached by anyone else, while that could still very much happen to the Big East. But overall, the Big East has more to offer those teams who might be left behind by the Big 12.
Ky from Morgantown writes: So with the Big 12 disbanding, what happens to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl?
Brian Bennett: First, it's important to note that the Big 12 has not yet disbanded. Even if that does happen, it's probably going to take two years before this all unfolds. The bowl agreement between the Big East, Big 12 and Pinstripe Bowl starts this year and runs for four years. Assuming there's no Big 12 in a couple of years, I'm sure the bowl and Big East officials will work something out to find a new partner. Remember that Notre Dame is also a part of the agreement.
Dan from Chicago writes: One thing I haven't seen addressed is where coaches play out in this. For example, Randy Edsall has shown a strong commitment to UConn over the last few years; however, if the Huskies wind up in a non-BCS conference do you see him bolting for greener pastures? Similarly, the Big East has just landed some great up-and-coming coaching talent in Charlie Strong, Butch Jones, and Skip Holtz, and if any of their respective schools drop to a non-BCS conference, I assume they shouldn't even bother moving in.
Brian Bennett: Even if a couple of teams bolted the Big East tomorrow, there would still be a 27-month waiting period, which means the Big East will have a BCS automatic bid for at least two more years. That can sometimes be an eternity in the coaching profession. Coaches may want to wait to see how this whole thing shakes out, since even if the league disbands teams might find a new home in another BCS league. Still, if things look like they're going downhill, you'd have to think the best coaches would look to get out. These guys want to compete at the highest level.
Marshall from Boone, N.C., writes: I noticed that you currently have no South Florida players on your list of the Big East's Best. In addition, South Florida isn't ranked highly on any of your position ranking lists. Do you predict another disappointing season for South Florida?
Brian Bennett: Most of these lists have to take into account what players did last year, and for the Bulls that doesn't help their rankings because they have so many unproven young players, especially on defense. They also don't have any star running backs or receivers, who often dominate such lists. I think South Florida has a lot of talent; it's just extremely young talent. I think the Bulls are probably a year away from serious Big East contention, but it all depends on how quickly Skip Holtz can develop his players in year one.
BriEd from Norwalk, Conn., writes: I loved the post comparing Lewis and Devine, but I gotta admit I think Jordan Todman might be in the running this year for the number one back in the conference. I understand that I might have a slight bias, but hear me out. Randy Edsall really enjoyed splitting the carries between JT and Andre Dixon last year which allowed both back to rush over 1,000 yards. But this upcoming fall without a definite number 2, Todman, could get a majority of the carries, and at his rate last year at 5.1 yards a carry he got 235 carries, dixon got 239. Even if he added just half of those about (115 more) he would have racked up over 1,700.
Brian Bennett: It's a good point, and I almost brought that up in my Lewis/Devine post. We all saw what Donald Brown could do with a huge workload behind that standout UConn line. The only concern is that Todman isn't built like Brown (heck, few people are) and there are questions to whether he can be an every-down, workhorse type of back. I sense that the Huskies will again split carries, whether that's with Meme Wylie or Robbie Frey or someone else, with Todman getting a small spike in his attempts. Even if that's true, though, he wasn't far behind the leaders with an 1,188-yard season, and he's very much a threat to win the league's rushing title in 2010.