Opening up the mailbag on a Friday. ...
Keith in Tampa writes: Feel free to rank us at No. 8 after that pathetic performance. Maybe if the Big East implodes we wont have to play anymore Thursday games and won't implode like that.
Adelson: USF looked completely unprepared and played flat-footed to me. I think one thing played a factor in this game was the competition that led up to it: Pitt was tested against Notre Dame and Iowa. USF was not against Florida A&M, Ball State and UTEP. But I am not sure there would have been much difference had this game been on a Saturday. Pitt pushed USF around.
Jason in Pittsburgh writes: Your comment in your chat and the last comment in your last blog post says it all. It is a typical thought every time Pitt gets a key victory. I know the Big East needed an undefeated team. But, Pitt needed that win more. No need to be negative and say once again, the Big east has no undefeated teams left. The ACC won't either. I realize since the conference is smaller and gets a great deal of criticism. But, a team has to get wins when they can. This Pitt team has gotten better two weeks in a row. Nice to see it culminate in a Victory.
Adelson: No, it is not a typical thought every time Pitt gets a key victory. It is a typical thought every time the Big East fails to be in the national conversation past September. Pitt absolutely needed the win, and it was nice to see a complete effort. That one sentence merely illustrated what has come to be the norm in the Big East, and was not a slight at the Panthers.
Rich B in Bloomfield, N.J., writes: Andrea, Watch out for the ire of the fruit for picking us over the Orange. I for one think you are correct, and also if you look back at Pitt's performance against Syracuse when (Frank) Cignetti was the O-Coordinator there, you'll see that Syracuse's defense has a hard time stopping his offense: Oct. 16, 2010 Pitt 45, Syracuse. Nov. 7, 2009 Pitt 37, Syracuse 10 Also, you can almost compare this team to Pitt's team with Baldwin on the outside (Sanu) and Dion Lewis (Jawan Jamison) and Ray Graham (Savon Huggins) from 2009. We still have a lot to prove, but taking down the Orange, albeit a wining team with close wins against questionable competition should go a ways to prove last year was a fluke for the Knights.
Adelson: Thanks for the knowledge. But I really have to disagree with your comparison of Jamison and Huggins to Lewis and Graham. Jamison and Huggins are not in the same stratosphere right now and have a long way to go to match two really great backs. I do understand your comparison, but it is too early for that. I think Syracuse will have a hard time with Sanu, and you are right -- Rutgers really needs this win. But I would not be surprised if the Orange came out ahead. This team has found ways to win this season.
Brandon Burgess writes: Should we make an attempt to start what would become a west division and go after Boise State, Air Force, SMU, Houston, and Colorado State? With TCU and those teams in the west, and the current six in the East, it would be a pretty strong conference.
Andrea Adelson: Are we talking about adding those schools as football-only members? Because the league cannot support an influx of six full members. We can throw all these scenarios out there, but the problem is the Big East has no idea whether it will be able to hang on to some of the key members it already has in the league. If you add those schools, the Big East will be comprised of nine teams that formerly were non-AQ teams. Would those additions even guarantee a BCS bid? And when you start adding teams, then you have to factor in how much more the league can get from a TV deal in order to make it worth the expansion. The more teams you add, the more the pie has to be divided, the more the entire deal has to be worth. I do not think getting to 12 at this point enhances much of anything.
Bob Pensule in Delray Beach, Fla., writes: How does one go about petitioning for a rule change? I think there should be a rule that if a player is injured and play is halted, that player cannot return to the game for the remainder of the series. Or something to that effect. It would improve the safety of the players and help eliminate "flopping" to slow down offenses. Football is not soccer. What do you think?
Adelson:I agree in theory. But what if the player legitimately gets a cramp, or a stinger or kicked somewhere that is ... none too pleasant. Let us say it happens on the first play of a drive at the 20, and your team starts marching down the field. But your best player, who just cramped up, has to sit out the entire series. The bottom line is this -- How do you distinguish between the floppers and those who genuinely get hurt but are able to return after a few plays? For those wondering, a player must miss just one play before being allowed to return.