Big East mailbag

I had the pleasure of covering the College World Series in Omaha last week. Fun event, and I'm glad I got a chance to see games in Rosenblatt Stadium before they tear the place down.

But it was weird seeing college teams battle for a championship on the field. I mean, what are they thinking?

Let's get to your e-mails about a sport that would never consider such foolishness:

Richard B. from Bloomfield, N.J., writes: I'm going to try to stay as objective as I can. I agree that Zach Collaros is an amazing player, and what I saw from him last season was no doubt impressive. I just can't see you putting him at the top of the Big East QB list when he has four games starting experience. Taking previous experience and potential into account, I think Tom Savage should be ranked higher because he stepped into the starting role with zero notice and not even a spring camp under his belt! Collaros had two years to learn the Cincinnati offense. Also he was playing in a spread offense which is far simpler to learn than the pro style scheme Rutgers employs. I think you've got this one wrong.

Brian Bennett: You make a reasonable argument, Richard, and you may wind up being right. But here's why I went with Collaros for this list, where the two criteria are past production and potential for this coming season only (which is a little different than the criteria used for previous, similar lists I've done).

Yes, Collaros only started four games, but in those games he passed for only 777 yards and four touchdowns fewer than Savage did in 11 starts. Looking ahead to this season, Collaros has a superior supporting cast around him, while Savage has a very questionable offensive front to worry about. While Savage may end up being the better quarterback down the road, Collaros is going to have a huge 2010 campaign because of the offense he runs.

Joe from Gillette, N.J. writes: B.J. Daniels over Savage? On one hand, I understand it from a pure athletic basis -- and the fact that Daniels will be the USF offense this year (both passing and running). But if you are looking strictly as to who is the better quarterback, I don't think -- outside of Tampa -- you would find any Big East coach who would take Daniels over Savage. If you were ranking based on who you would build a team around, would that change your order?

Brian Bennett: We've had this discussion before, of course (read some of my previous thoughts here and here), and as I've said, the debate between Savage and Daniels will be a fun one to follow for the next few years. It's very close, which is why I had one No. 7 and one No. 6.

As for who I would build a team around, it all depends on what type of offense you want. If you want a pro-style game, Savage is your guy. If you want a quarterback who can make plays with his feet as well as his arm, it's Daniels.

Billy from Nantucket, Mass., writes: BB, you ranked Tom Savage over Robert Sands?????? Are you really going to stand behind that? Maybe the blog writer is yet another reason the Big East gets NO respect. Your better than that, c'mon now.

Brian Bennett: You make such a persuasive argument, Billy. I don't know how to begin countering it.

Brian from Tampa writes: My sleeper pick for Big East player of the year is Dontavia Bogan. I really hope he is in your top 10. There is not a better WR in the Big East. I will bet $1,000 that he gains over 1,000 yards receiving this season. Thanks and keep up the good work with the off-season news, but really ... does college football ever have an off-season?

Brian Bennett: For the Bulls' sake, I hope your sleeper is wide awake this year. South Florida is very thin at receiver, especially after the latest news about Sterling Griffin.

But while Bogan certainly has potential, I wouldn't be plopping large cash bets on his greatness just yet. Yes, he had enormous numbers (nine catches, 228 yards, four touchdowns) in the spring game, but those statistics are usually meaningless because of the lack of defense being played. Bogan had just 305 receiving yards total last year. He's got enough talent to make the leap this year, and he'll certainly be relied on, but I need to see it to believe it first.

Matt from Louisville writes: I just wanted to say thanks for the article on Stefan LeFors. I enjoyed reading it. On a side note, Ted Miller posted a mailbag link the other day (whilst you were on vacation) mentioning Louisville as a potential Big 12 target for expansion (albeit in the mind of the author). Let's play a game and pretend Louisville does end up in the Big 12. How do you think the Cards would fit in?

Brian Bennett: Louisville in the Big 12? I just don't see it. Let's forget geography for a moment. I just don't think the Cardinals want to be in a league where they're competing with Texas and Oklahoma every year, and they would not consistently be able to compete with those programs in football. And other than Kansas, basketball isn't nearly as important to the Big 12 schools as it is to Louisville and its fans. If anything, Louisville is a better fit in the ACC.

John from Asheville, N.C., writes: You listed the three players from the Big East that made the "Freaks List" and gave Jonathan Baldwin's stats while promising to write soon about Ryan Bartholomew, but only had Bill Stewart telling us what we already knew in regards to Devine. I would love to see what the actual numbers are that make Devine a freak.

Brian Bennett: Here is what I wrote about Devine last year when it was "Freaks" time:

"According to West Virginia's numbers, the 5-foot-7, 175-pound Devine can power clean 300 pounds, squat 500 and bench 435. Those numbers are better than some of the team's offensive linemen. He also posted a 38-inch vertical leap, a 10-foot-7 inch broad jump and ran the pro agility drill in a microscopic 4.04 seconds."

Freakish, indeed.

Curtis from Dallas writes: Best ties should have included the 1935, 1936 and 1937 games between Pitt and Fordham. All 3 were scoreless ties played at the New York City Polo Grounds.

Brian Bennett: I appreciate your sense of history, Curtis. Those were a little before my time. They sound about as exciting as the Sun Bowl game against Oregon State.

Eric from Toms River, N.J., writes: In 1985, Rutgers tied Florida 28-28. Rutgers was a huge underdog and tied the game with 35 seconds left with a two point conversion. Has to be the best tie in Rutgers history.

Brian Bennett: Best tie in history? Is that like kissing the hottest sister ever?