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Big East mailblog: Expansion time!

I am sure it shocks none of you that the majority of the mailbag this week is filled with expansion questions. The news today that the SEC is ready to accept Texas A&M barring any legal action on the move is confirmation of what was expected. Now two big questions remain:

What do the rest of the Big 12 teams do?

Does the SEC make any additional moves?

This past weekend, Oklahoma expressed reservations about the Big 12. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops came out and said superconferences are an inevitability. Much has been mentioned about half of the Big 12 joining forces with the Pac-12. That could potentially leave the Big East with the opportunity to get Kansas and Kansas State. Maybe even Missouri, depending on what happens.

West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck seemed to hint at the interest in Kansas in an interview on a local program called "Decision Makers." He even suggested a merger with the Big 12. But his school has been mentioned in connection with the SEC as well.

How will it play out? Not even commissioner John Marinatto knows how it will play out. He spent much of his time at the Notre Dame-USF game this past weekend on the phone after Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott addressed the expansion rumors in Dallas. The Big East may not have made any moves yet. Marinatto does not want to comment publicly, either.

But plenty is going on behind the scenes to gauge where this league should go and which teams it should add. The situation is completely fluid, and dependent on other factors. As Luck says, what happens to the Big 12 will largely impact what happens in the Big East. So sit tight. There will be plenty more to come.

Now who has some questions?

Randy in Morgantown writes: The WVU offense was good on Sunday, but not the explosiveness that was expected. I thought there was going to be a lot more passing, and a lot less running. Could it be that Dana (Holgorsen) is "holding back" the offense a little bit to build some suspense and completely surprise Maryland and LSU later this month?

Adelson writes: I think there are some Pitt and West Virginia fans who expected more offensive fireworks right out of the gate. But we should remember it was the first game of the season for the Mountaineers. I thought they really started to get into a groove in the second half, and would have scored more had there been no rain delay. I think he wanted to focus on the run to help get some separation among his backs. Remember, this offense is not all about constantly throwing. Last year, Oklahoma State had 532 pass attempts and 450 rushing attempts. That is a 54-46 pass-run ratio. Pretty balanced.


Jeff in Pittsburgh, Pa., writes: Did Skip Holtz just add a big boost to his resume as the next head coach for Notre Dame?

Adelson writes: Interesting you mention this. Holtz was asked last week about whether he had ever thought about coaching at Notre Dame. This is what he said.

"I don’t have any control over whether that happens. I think everybody would love to have the opportunity to coach one day at their alma mater, whether it’s Cincinnati, whether it’s South Florida. But outside of that I haven’t spent a lot of time on it. I haven’t sat around and dreamed, ‘Oh, one day.’ I haven’t. I’ve always found the best way to turn and promote yourself is to do the best job with the one that you have. I’ve never tried to apply, make phone calls to get a foot in the door. Haven’t given it a lot of thought."


Josh in Newport, Ky., writes: Please explain your reasoning why you have Syracuse and Louisville picked for bowls ahead of UC? I understand Pitt, USF, and WVU with all of the preseason hype, but SU and UL, why? UC completely dominated Austin Peay. I understand they were a FCS opponent, but really. SU needed overtime and a 22-point second half comeback to beat an average at best Wake Forest and Louisville did nothing impressive in beating Murray State. Please tell me your thoughts.

Adelson writes: I am not quite ready to scrap every bowl projection based on one week. Cincinnati and Louisville played FCS teams. Do you feel you have a good handle on where the Bearcats stand right now? Syracuse looked bad for three quarters and good the rest of the game. Louisville looked good for one half on offense and bad in another. I do have Cincinnati bowl eligible. But putting Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl takes away one spot from the Big East. I think Cincinnati makes a bowl game, maybe not one of the usual tie-ins.


Pat in Pittsburgh writes: Hey Andrea. Now, I'm not saying it was just you but it seems like a lot of people on ESPN blogs and fans in Pittsburgh have been really angry about Pitt's performance against buffalo. No, it wasn't very pretty but if you expected it to be, then you're an idiot with their situation. Pitt's offense in the second half was as high octane/efficient as can be. Tino (Sunseri) only missed one pass attempt and threw for a touchdown, (Ray) Graham ran for over 100 yards, and scored 28 points on just 23 plays and less than 6 minutes of possession. Also, (Todd) Graham said Pitt would score at least 35 points if they got 80 snaps. Pitt scored 35 points on only 66 snaps and to be fair, Pitt left roughly 35 points on the field in the first half. My rating on performance: 2.5 stars. My rating on potential: 5 stars. Why is everyone so upset?

Adelson writes: When you build your whole theme to the season around high octane, people are going to expect it immediately. I don't blame Todd Graham for touting his offense at all. Maybe that led to unreasonable expectations. It takes some time to get used to a new scheme, especially when you are used to such a different offense.


Michael in Fort Collins writes: Andrea, I know that you are lazy... but there are many, many things to take away from Cincinnati's game. First off, the starting defense didn't give up a point, not one! That would not have happened last year. So the defense is at least somewhat improved. Second, Isaiah Pead is sweet. He barely played and gave any running back in the county a run for their money. Third, Zach Collaros is the same old player, stares at every receiver before making a pass. It will work against Austin Peay but not Tennessee. He is not an elite quarterback. I can understand you missing all this because let's face it, you are an average journalism grad from like middle southwestern Florida, who obviously knows someone at ESPN. You need to get your head in the game.

Adelson writes: Michael, thanks for giving me a good reason to put down my pretzels and get off the couch to do some work. So giving up zero points against an FCS team as opposed to seven last year to Indiana State means the defense is much improved. OK, let me jot that down. I have Isaiah Pead as the No. 1 running back in the Big East. So the takeaway from his performance is that he is good. How is that something new? Collaros is the same old player. Again, how is this something new? Sounds like you did not learn much about Cincinnati in the game, either. And make sure you have your geography right -- the University of Florida is in north central Florida, thank you very much!