Big East: Top games and other news
Posted by ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach
So, what are the top upcoming games this season? We take a quick look:
1. Kansas at South Florida, Sept. 12: One of this season's top nonconference games includes two upstarts from 2007. The Jayhawks were able to finish last season in a BCS bowl game; the Bulls' season ended with a thud. South Florida can gain redemption with a victory over Kansas.
2. Auburn at West Virginia, Oct. 23: The Tigers make a rare trip close to the Mason-Dixon line in a nonconference game that might have BCS title implications for both teams. Mountaineers quarterback Pat White gets to play against one of the in-state schools that snubbed him in recruiting.
3. West Virginia at Pittsburgh, Nov. 28: The Backyard Brawl moves to Pittsburgh, one year after the Panthers spoiled the Mountaineers' BCS title hopes with a 13-9 upset on the last Saturday of the regular season. Coach Bill Stewart can win over the West Virginia faithful by beating the hated rivals -- and perhaps punch his team's ticket to a BCS bowl game (or even the national title game?).
In other news:
- UConn football coach Randy Edsall completed his off-field coaching staff Tuesday, hiring Tim Pendergast as director of football operations and David Wilczewski as a recruiting assistant.
Pendergast, who will make $115,000 per season, according to the Hartford Courant, most recently worked as the national director for coaches division at SportsLink Management group. He was coach at Hamilton College in 2000 and worked as an assistant at Ithaca, Northwestern, Maine, James Madison and Memphis.
Wilczewski worked as a student equipment manager and assisted in game and recruiting operations at UConn from 2004-07. He worked at Marshall last season.
- Interesting story from Christopher De La Cruz of the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger, who reports that archeologists have uncovered the ruins of an 18th-century settlement during expansion of Rutgers Stadium.
Among the items uncovered during construction are the foundations of the Rising Sun Tavern and multiple homes. Archeologists also found scattered plates, tools and pottery, according to the Star-Ledger report.
The Star-Ledger also reports Rutgers officials will scale back expansion of the stadium because of rising fuel, concrete and steel costs. The first phase of construction, which will add 1,000 premium seats, won't be affected. But additional phases -- including one that will add 13,000 seats to the stadium -- will be re-examined after bids came in much higher than expected.
- Mike Casazza of the Charleston (W. Va.) Daily Mail reports that Mountaineer recruit Terence Kerns received a qualifying ACT score and has apparently qualified academically.
Kerns, considered a key prospect for new Mountaineers coach Bill Stewart, signed with West Virginia two years ago. He failed to qualify out of high school and spent last year at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia.
Kerns, from Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, Md., is another speedy running back. He told Casazza that he was recently timed in the 40-yard dash at 4.29 seconds (his time was later verified electronically at 4.31 seconds).
Not so good news for the Mountaineers: Highly touted JUCO transfer Tevita Finau hasn't yet completed his required course work and is scrambling to finish. The Mountaineers begin preseason practice Aug. 1.