Time for your final mailbag of the week. Hope everybody has a great weekend!
Charles in New Jersey writes: Andrea, I see that the Blue Ribbon preseason rankings have WVU at second in the Big 12. Given that the majority of their Big East games last year were competitive, I am surprised that they are given soooo much respect. Yes, they trounced Clemson, but if the BE is SOOO bad, then how could a team from the BE be considered at No. 2 in the B12? Yes, WVU has been considered the top BE team, but according to many, including the press, that really should not hold much water. Your thoughts?
Andrea Adelson: I think you bring up a great point, Charles. It certainly feels as if West Virginia is getting more hype now that it is in a conference with a better national rep. But, I would like to think that the Mountaineers would be getting as much love even if they remained in the Big East. The hype was starting to grow after the Orange Bowl, a game West Virginia played as members of the Big East. West Virginia also has traditionally been the top name team in the Big East so I think this is a program that already had that national recognition. But I do think it is encouraging that West Virginia is being judged on its potential as a team and not on its past affiliation with a conference. The bottom line is that West Virginia would be a tough team to beat in any league this year, given all the offensive playmakers the Mountaineers return.
BearcatTerritory in Cincinnati writes: Just wanted to say thanks for the shout out you gave to Ken Dorsey in an earlier post saying he was underrated. I didn't know you followed the Hurricanes back in the day. I was a Hurricane fan prior to changing allegiance to the Bearcats. I'll never forget the sad image of Dorsey crumpling to his knees on his final pass against Ohio State in the national championship. I followed him throughout his NFL career as brief as it was. I don't think I've heard a truly positive comment on Dorsey since his loss to Ohio State until your comment. I'm glad you're a fan, too.
Adelson: Another Dorsey fan, hurrah! I have to say, in my 16 years covering college and pro athletes, Ken Dorsey is one of the nicest, most genuine people I have gotten the great privilege to interview. And, he was absolutely one of the most unflappable, underrated quarterbacks of the last decade. He lost two games as a starter. TWO! The first was his very first start on the road against Washington. I was there, and he nearly led an improbable comeback. His last was that game against Ohio State. In all honesty, he had no business being in that overtime after he got leveled earlier. Folks associated with Miami later told me he had no idea where he was, but he trotted out there to try and give his team a chance to win a national championship. He did not have the greatest game, but I don't blame him for that loss. There was plenty of blame to go around.
JT Goodwin in Plano, Texas, writes: Andrea, First I would like to say I'm a big fan of you and your blog. I have two questions concerning the Big East. Does Rutgers go back to the top of the league without (Greg) Schiano and will a possible breakout season by a current member of the Big East be overlooked in regard to strength of schedule with the recent defections. I guess I'm asking if a 12-0 Big East team could get "Boise" treatment?
Adelson: Thanks, JT. I appreciate the kind words. First: I think this is an absolutely critical year for Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights have the talent to contend for a Big East championship, but nobody knows what to expect out of new coach Kyle Flood. He is a little less intense than Schiano was, and I think that is a good thing. His players might not be as tight. For all Schiano accomplished, he also had a reputation for failing to win the big games, UConn last year being the latest example. Maybe Flood can change that. Second: Cincinnati got the Boise treatment back in 2009, so if there are multiple undefeated teams out there from the SEC or Big Ten or Big 12, I would expect the Big East to fall behind. If Syracuse goes undefeated with its schedule, there is an outside shot. But very, very outside.
Charlie Cooper in Westchester, N.Y., writes: Andrea, why would Brandon McManus (Temple) not be on the Groza or Guy watch list? His numbers appear to be better than anyone else in the BE.
Adelson: Great question, Charlie. My response is -- I have no idea. I had McManus on my list of people I expected to be on the Lou Groza watch list. He was the second-team MAC selection last year, when he set school season records for punting average (45.8) and extra points made (50). He should be among the best, if not the best, kicker in the Big East. But I think he fits behind Pat O'Donnell of Cincinnati in the punting category.
Jordan in Lakeland, Fla., writes: Have you been ignoring the question we have all been wondering about? Isn't it high time you finally adressed this? Who are the early odds on favorite for the Big East media days lobster eating contest?
Adelson: You are right, Jordan. This is a really serious question. I can tell you one player out of contention. Sources say Rutgers linebacker Khaseem Greene doesn't eat shellfish. Scratch him off the list. I know Syracuse usually does very well, and the Orange are bringing five along -- including three linemen! So my bet is on the SU contingent.
Dan in Philadelphia writes: AA, With the recent news of Utah putting their series with BYU on hold for 2014-15, will BYU be calling the Big East today to try and get in a conference? It seems like they are starting to get phased out.
Adelson: I am not sure BYU is calling anyone right this second. I think the BYU schedule is taking shape nicely for the next few years. The Utah series going on hiatus is more a matter of logistics with the Utes now playing nine conference games and having a home-and-home series with Michigan set those two seasons. Remember, BYU has its own TV network and a deal with ESPN so there is no rush to join a conference, especially one with an uncertain future.