Friday mailbag, Part I
Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
We must be getting close to the start of the season, because the letters are piling up. I'll try to tackle as many as possible with a two-part mailbag today.
Kyle from Milford, Conn., writes: I'm confused why you had the Rent so low [on your Big East stadium rankings]. I get that it's pretty far from campus, but that doesn't stop anyone from going. If anything, Storrs is a more remote city than East Hartford, you should see campus traffic for basketball games at Gampel -- it's awful. The huge surrounding field for parking makes for epic tailgates, and they built the Rent's foundation for possible expansion. And with five players drafted in the top two rounds it should be a matter of time.
Brian Bennett: I've got nothing against Rentschler Field and think it is a very comfortable, modern stadium. There's just nothing particularly memorable about it, in my opinion. And I happen to prefer more of an on-campus feel. That's just a personal preference.
Dave Weber from Pittsburgh writes: Shouldn't the Kamran Joyer headline read "New Louisville Recruit's Grades Questioned?" It just seems a little biased -- USF did the right thing by cutting ties with a potential scandal while Louisville appears to be inviting academically questionable players. USF is often accused of having very low standards, when the opposite is in fact the case. Joyer was cleared by the NCAA, but USF's admissions committee still denied his admission because they felt that he couldn't handle college and refused to acquise to the whims of the athletic department, which surely wanted such a good prospect.
Brian Bennett: As far as the headline goes, Joyer signed with South Florida, and the Bulls are the ones who asked for an investigation into his grades. At this point, he is only considering Louisville and has not signed. So that's the most accurate description. We still don't know all the facts of this case, but at the very least there are questions that need answering. If Louisville does sign Joyer while those questions are out there, it had better do its own due diligence in researching the situation. Or else the Cardinals could be facing a Derrick Rose situation down the line.
Matt from Madison, Wis., writes: What do you think about the possibility of a home-and-home with Cincinnati and Central Michigan? I don't think there is really any bad blood between the Chippewas and Brian Kelly, and what better way to show it than with a home- and-home? I think a lot of folks would pack each stadium (I was in Mount Pleasant when BC came to town a couple years ago and people will pack Kelly-Shorts when a big time opponent comes to town) and both teams could be near the tops of their conferences for some time. Seems like a good idea to me!
Brian Bennett: While I wouldn't call it bad blood, there actually may be some lingering hurt feelings between the two camps. If you recall, after Kelly left for Cincinnati, offensive coordinator Jeff Quinn took over on an interim basis and led the Chippewas to a bowl victory. But he was not given the job on a full-time basis. Surely Kelly wanted to see his guy get the gig. More importantly, I think Cincinnati would rather schedule home-and-home series with bigger-name opponents. They already have a home-and-home deal with rival Miami (Ohio), another MAC school.
Ken from Philadelphia writes: Hey Brian, while I agree a road trip to Baylor is daunting, I think the North Carolina game is much scarier [for UConn]. The game vs. Baylor last year shouldn't have been so close. The reason, Robert Griffin was picked off by Dana Dehlston late in the game but was nullified by a bogus roughing the passer call on Darius Butler. Baylor later scored on that possesion I believe to make it close. While Art Briles runs that crazy offense which will make things difficult, I'm more worried about the pro talent Butch Davis is assembling in Chapel Hill.
Brian Bennett: Ken is referring to my Games to Fear post from earlier this week. The criteria for those picks was that a team might be favored in the game but could lose. Honestly, I don't think UConn will be favored at home against North Carolina. I expect the Tar Heels to be really good this year and quite possibly bring a Top 25 team to Rentschler Field. Baylor, on the other hand, could be better than most people think.
More of your questions to come later today.