Read the mailbag. Then have a great weekend.
Steve in Seattle writes: With Bobby Petrino out at Arkansas, I think it'll be three straight years that Rutgers will be playing a team after it fired its head coach. I was able to find out Jim Leavitt in '10, Butch Davis in '11, and now Petrino. Could be four if you count Greg Robinson before the '09 season. Thoughts?
Andrea Adelson: Let's check and see how Rutgers fared in those three instances you mentioned -- loss to USF; loss to North Carolina; loss to Syracuse. Well, if you are a Rutgers fan, then maybe you don't want to see how Rutgers fared in those instances! More to your question -- Arkansas is still going to have a terrific team no matter who the head coach is, and will still be favored to win the game. Is Arkansas in disarray right now? Absolutely. Will they be at a disadvantage without Petrino? That probably depends on the situation. Plenty of interim head coaches have kept the ship running properly, when the talent was in place to do so.
Eric in Miami writes: If it's all about football, is there any possibility that Pitt & Syracuse would be allowed to leave in July of 2012 in all sports except football? And then have the football programs released in January of 2013?
Adelson: I am not sure I understand why either school would want to do that, or why the Big East would want to do that.
Tony E. in St. Petersburg, Fla., writes: So I must admit, one thing as a Mountaineer, I for one have grown to love the Big East regardless of our departure. I have great respect to all the programs and I think as long as the Big East can manage to hold onto USF, Rutgers, Cincy, and Louisville the league can become what it was 8-10 years ago before the ACC raided it. However, with the departure of WVU, do you think the league can accomplish a new prestige it had within the next 4-5 years? I understand the arrival of Boise State is big and the way Louisville and Rutgers recruit could really turn the league around, but with WVU being the face of the Big East for so long... does that hurt them in anyway? Also who takes the honors of being the best tailgating school now that we're gone, because my vote goes to USF!
Adelson: Thanks for visiting your old friends here at the Big East blog. I appreciate the continued support. Your question is one that will be an interesting one to see develop in the coming years. I actually have a video debate with Christian Fauria coming up soon on the blog on this very topic. There is no question the Big East takes a hit from a national perspective without West Virginia, the team many have come to identify with the Big East. I don't know that the league can recover its image after the second realignment decimation. I wonder if the Big East will always be looked at as the league that could not keep is major programs all together because of mismanagement and a misplaced sense of priorities (ahem, basketball!). Boise State absolutely helps, but this league is in desperate need of one team or two to just run away with the conference year after year. I think the Big East will always be a competitive league. But people want to see a dominant league. It is hard to envision that happening in its future configuration. Furthermore, we have no idea if this league is going to have the same members in four to five years.
Thomas Lewis in Manchester, N.H., writes: Which scenario would you find more remarkable - (1) WVU winning the Big XII conference in 2012 (which I completely believe IS possible); (2) Pitt/Syracuse playing in (I won't go as far as to say winning it) the ACC Championship game in 2013 or (3) Boise State winning the Big East championship in 2013? Curious to hear your thoughts on this as I don't think any of the three is impossible.
Adelson: Thomas, throwing me a fastball down the middle with the last question of the week. It is really much easier to judge what happens in 2012 than 2013. I am not trying to cop out of an answer here. But there are really so many questions about Boise State going into this year, questions that are going to determine the future course of this team. Namely, we have no idea who the starting quarterback is going to be this year, if he will be any good, and if he will be starting in 2013. That is huge when trying to judge one program against another. I do not think option 2 is going to happen, though Pitt would have a better chance than Syracuse. I think West Virginia is an absolute candidate to win the Big 12. I have said that for months. Boise State should be in the mix for the Big East title, but I don't think the Broncos are waltzing in and winning it without a fight. Louisville should be pretty strong in 2013, if Teddy Bridgewater continues to develop. Cincinnati could be really good, too, depending on some of its young talent as well.