- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Mail time! I asked for some of your bold predictions in the last mailbag. A few of you responded. Keep 'em coming!
Jordan in Lakeland writes: I predict USF will avoid the midseason melt down. Haven't ruled out the early season meltdown yet.
Andrea Adelson: With good reason. Nevada-Rutgers-Florida State all played in September in a span of four weeks.
Dave H in Millstone Township, N.J., writes: Hi Andrea - It's great seeing some real news every day now that camps are open! Here's my prediction for Big East champ in response to your soliciting them for a future fan prediction mailblog. Rutgers comes into the season finale against Louisville with both teams at 10-1 (Arkansas and Kentucky losses, respectively. Curses to the SEC!!) With 24 seconds left in the game, RU blocks a potentially game winning field goal and returns it 73 yards to ice the game. Pandemonium II breaks Big East television audience records and brings national recognition, and RU trounces some lame ACC team in the Orange Bowl to end the season a top 10 team. Really, it could happen. ...
Adelson: I am more concerned about your well being on this blog because you picked Kentucky to beat Louisville. Duck! Teddy Heisman is headed your way.
Joe Breyer of Greenwood, Ind., writes: Cincinnati moves to an off campus camp for their summer camp and spend 2 weeks at the High Ground Camp. This was started by Rick Minter and has continued under Brian Kelly and Butch Jones. Today, there is an article about Tennessee moving of campus. I am surprised at that given their unlimited money and on campus facilities. Do you know of any other school that goes off campus for their summer camp?
Adelson: Two in the Big East are this year. USF has been going to Vero Beach, Fla., under Skip Holtz. They are there right now. Syracuse is headed to the military base Fort Drum next week to train. UTEP trains in Soccoro, N.M. Arizona is also training at Fort Huachuca in Arizona. Those are just a few examples for you.
Joel in Union, Ky., writes: Andrea, the Big East appears to be engaged in serious TV contract talks, which would impact the league for years, all under the guidance of an interim commissioner. Is the interim a viable contender for the position, and will the interim fair well for the league? Also, there have been names mentioned as possible candidates for the job: noted media consultant Chris Bevilacqua, Big East senior associate commissioner Nick Carparelli, Big East associate commissioner Tom Odjakjian, and Pac-12 deputy commissioner Kevin Weiberg (but is said now not to be in the mix.) Can you give any insight as to who would be the best for the league?
Adelson: I do not expect interim commissioner Joe Bailey to be leading the television negotiations. Everything I have heard suggests the Big East wants a new commissioner in place by the end of August, that way he is in charge of negotiating the new TV deal. As for a favorite or front-runner, the honest truth is I do not know that there is one right now. This has been a very quiet search. Folks were tight lipped at Big East media day. Some people I talked to did not necessarily think the new commissioner needed to have a background in television, which I know is something we have speculated about in the past because of the critical nature of these upcoming negotiations. I still think the Big East needs a dynamic, energetic leader who will fight for the Big East and bring unity to the league. Is all that possible? We will find out.
John in Louisville writes: Are all the transfers from good schools good or bad for Louisville? I know some are guys that could not crack the roster at their original schools, or lost the starting spot, and one in particular seems exceptionally immature. But over the last two seasons, we have seen a coaching staff that gets the most out of its players and holds them accountable. So again, is this good, bad, or not really anything to look at too deeply?
Adelson: I imagine you are talking about Zeke Pike (Auburn), Gerald Christian (Florida), Robert Clark (Florida), Adrian Bushell (Florida/Cedar Valley CC), Jordan Whiting (Ohio State) and another who may still arrive. I really have no issue with Charlie Strong opening up his program to transfers, so long as he believes he can help these players get a fresh start. He clearly has done a good job with Bushell, even though he had some ups and downs last year with being late for team meetings. Each circumstance is different. If any of these players fail to live up to his standards, I am sure Strong will be the first to show them the door regardless of where they started their careers. One side note -- in the case of Pike, I hope he learns to grow up and fast.
Troy in Hurricane, W.Va. writes: Hey AA, I still read your blog and keep up with the Big East even though I'm a Mountaineer fan. I still love the Big East and wish all teams good luck. I think it will be a dog fight to get through the BE as it all ways is. What do you think the biggest challenge is for a team to go 12-0 and what team would be the dark horse in your eyes?
Adelson: Thanks for the love, Troy. Happy to have you checking in on us here in Big East land. I do not see a team going 12-0 this year, because I can find questions on every single team -- even the favorites. Beyond that, I do not think there are any gimme nonconference schedules. Everybody plays at least one tough nonleague game against a school from another BCS conference. But the biggest stumbling block in recent years has been league play. There are no guaranteed wins in this league, no matter what anybody may think of Temple, Syracuse or UConn going into this year. I know how much you respect Syracuse in Morgantown! So I expect upsets once again, and nobody to be able to make it through unscathed. There is just too much parity across the board. If there is one team with the best shot, then I guess it would be Louisville because I do not expect any ranked teams on the nonconference schedule. But the Cardinals do play tough games against North Carolina, at Southern Miss and at FIU, along with Kentucky.