Big East Friday mailbag: Off to the races

May, 6, 2011
5/06/11
9:00
AM ET
Before I get to your e-mails, a quick programming note: I am taking Friday off to get my Kentucky Derby festivities started. This day is like Christmas Eve where I'm from. (And if you think some of my Big East predictions are bad, you should see my horse handicapping skills).

I'll have the lunchtime links up later, but the rest of my weekend will be about horses, hats and mint juleps, not Big East football. Now let's get to a few of your questions before I head out to the track:

Brian from C-bus, Ohio, writes: More attention is being questioned about the BCS going to a playoff. I hear the biggest con against a playoff is that every regular season game is treated as a playoff and fans wont be as interested in the regular season. I find that hard to believe. Will fans really believe that the LSU-Oregon game is going to be boring because it doesnt mean anything? Will the players be less hyped up to be playing against LSU or Oregon? I wouldn't think so.

Brian Bennett: I agree that the regular-season must be preserved, but I do not buy the argument that a playoff will kill the interest in regular-season games. When some schools are getting 50,000 or more fans for a spring game to watch vanilla scrimmages, you know there's an insatiable appetite for college football. Perhaps a large, 16-team or more format would lessen interest in games out of your region. But fans would love to watch the drama unfolding over which teams would earn playoff bids, high seeds, home-field advantage, etc.


Chuck from Saint Albans, W.Va., writes: I have a serious question that I would really appreciate your input. Lets say hypothetically that WVU does go undefeated with Dana Holgorsen's offense scoring 40 points a game on average. Lets also pretend that LSU goes on to win the SEC with its lone loss being to WVU. If the Tigers are selected to play in the BCS Chamionship Game over the Mountaineers...would that be the final straw in the BCS/Playoff debate?

Brian Bennett: No. I don't see how that would be much worse than Auburn being left out after going undefeated and winning the SEC in 2004 or TCU's Rose Bowl team last year or Boise State or whatever. There have been plenty of injustices, and I doubt too many people would be screaming in favor of a Big East team over an SEC team no matter the circumstances. I'd hate to see the reaction in West Virginia if that happened, though.


Jeremy from Galloway, Ohio, writes: I read this week that the AAU is looking for two new members and the UC is high on the list. Since that is a big deal to other Conferences (Big Ten) is this a good sign for UC going forward with the whole conference realignment?

Brian Bennett: I can't claim to know who the AAU might add as a new institution. However, we do know that Syracuse is out, and that only Rutgers and Pitt are current members from the Big East. The Big Ten made a big deal about only wanting AAU members and then was left with egg on its face last week when Nebraska got booted out. You have to wonder if the Big Ten would again make that a condition of entrance if it looks the expansion route again. I don't think too many other leagues make a pretense about it, and regardless, Cincinnati isn't getting a look from the Big Ten anytime soon.


Gary P. from Cincinnati writes: With the timing and the way things are unfolding with conference football TV contracts. If the Big East increased their inventory to 12 good football programs in 12 decent TV markets and added a championship football game, could they negotiate a new TV contract as good or better than the new Pac 12's?

Brian Bennett: The Big East isn't coming close to matching the nearly $3 billion deal that the Pac-12 somehow managed to wrangle. Your scenario envisions three new members, and there aren't three teams out there the Big East can reasonably attract who would add very much value from a national perspective. UCF, Villanova, Houston, East Carolina -- those teams aren't moving the needle for anyone.


Robert G. from Louisville writes I think the article on developing talent within the league isn't being read correctly. Because the SEC and ACC recruit more 3 and 4 star athletes they aren't getting on the field sometimes until their 3rd year of school. Whereas in the big East playing time is available almost immediately. Waiting behind other blue chip recruits means less time taking 1st strings snaps, less on field experience and less visibility. The Big East coaches should use this as a recruiting angle.

Brian Bennett: Hmm ... can't say I agree with you there, Robert. The NFL finds talent no matter how long you've been starting. We just saw Cam Newton get taken as the No. 1 pick in the draft, and he only played one significant year of college ball. His teammate, Nick Fairley, went later in the first round after only one good year. Meanwhile, four-year Big East players like Noel Devine and Scott Lutrus went undrafted. It's all about what you do with your talent, not how many years you've been on the field in college.


Will from Cincinnati writes: What BCS bowl is the Big East slated for this year? Also, any possibility for a Big East vs Big Ten BCS matchup (or any bowl for that matter)? I think it would be an interesting matchup between the spread offenses of the Big East against the power running games of the Big Ten. Your thoughts?

Brian Bennett: The selection order goes like this for the January 2012 BCS games: Fiesta, Sugar, Orange. So unless the Big East can get a team to the BCS title game or something else wacky happens, the league rep is most likely headed to the Orange Bowl. Which is the most geographically sensible game for the league, and mean it would be paired up with the ACC champ (assuming the ACC doesn't get to the title game .... pause here for laughter). The odds of a Big Ten/Big East matchup in any bowl are extremely slim. But that's nothing new. Since the Big East officially began play in 1991, it has only faced the Big Ten twice in bowl games: Syracuse beat Ohio State in the 1992 Hall of Fame Bowl, while Miami lost to Ohio State in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl for the national title.

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