Eric in East Brunswick, N.J., writes: Andrea, What does the hiring of the new commish mean for the football/basketball school relationship? Do you think a split is coming or will he try to hold them all together?
Andrea Adelson: I can guarantee Mike Aresco will do everything in his power to hold the entire league together. The important thing to note is this is a stronger league together than it is apart, regardless of whether the football schools and basketball schools have as much in common as they used to. The bottom line is the big time TV bucks are with football, and the basketball schools have got to see that. They stand to gain much more financially as a whole entity. The Big East basketball brand is still pretty strong.
Brian '04 in Chicago writes: What are your thoughts on Asiantii Woulard from ESPN's Elite 11 QB competition? As a Bulls fan, one can't help but get amped up about the the future at QB for the Bulls. Asiantii Woulard was lights out impressive compared to the other top QB's. Big East rivals...lookout! Please share the highlights to help scare our Big East rivals and help stir up a little friendly competition. Can't wait to see him light up UCF!!!
Adelson: Brian, I can see why USF fans are getting geared up for what he can do. I do not follow recruiting as closely as my colleagues at ESPN Recruiting Nation, but I can tell you they have been just as impressed as you. Tom Luginbill ranked him the No. 1 quarterback in that Elite 11 competition. You guys know as well as I do that B.J. Daniels is gone next season, leaving a huge opening at quarterback. I know many will be clamoring for Woulard to get a shot to win the starting job.
Luke in Louisville writes: Hey Andrea, There's a lot of stuff going around about this entire Big 5 conference thing. I think it's a lot of ridiculousness. If we're worthy of being listed in a group of the elite, it comes on the field. I'm not talking about beating the ACC; I think most people acknowledge that the ACC is a step behind the legitimate big four. What I'm talking about is playing the PAC whatever number, Big Ten, SEC, and Big 12 and winning. Playing in good BCS games against the SEC or Big 12 and winning those games. The rest is just hyperbole and numbers -- the only thing that matters is success. Also, I've been thinking, and I doubt UofL and Boise State are going to end up on the same division; it seems important to split Boise State from the second most competitive team in the division in order to add power to the championship game instead of wasting it on a regular-season game. What do you think?
Adelson: Your first point is extremely well said, Luke. What the league and coaches have been telling us is that the product on the field will speak for itself. When they have an undefeated or one-loss team, they will get the opportunities to play in the big games and prove themselves. I do hope that all comes to fruition in the new model. As for the divisional alignment, I believe the league is moving away from the geographic model and more toward splitting up teams based on locations and rivalries. So Cincinnati and Louisville would be in opposite divisions; San Diego State and Boise State in opposite divisions; USF and UCF in opposite divisions, so on and so forth. What that means for Louisville and Boise State, I am not sure. You could make the same argument for wanting to split Boise State and Cincinnati, too.
Bob in Robbinsville, N.J., writes: Andrea, I tried giving you the benefit of the doubt that you respected the Big East but now there's no doubt that you don't. You'll be wishing you were covering the Big East when the Big East is beating up the ACC this year and next and ... Just remember that West Virginia didn't put up 70 points against a Big East team. It did it against the ACC CHAMPION. Every Big East team had a better game against WVU than Clemson.
Adelson: Boy, you guys have really short memories out there. Just as a refresher, Bob, you might want to check out a few of these articles. Like West Virginia beating said ACC champion; or the Big East having a better BCS record than the ACC; or all the selling points for the Big East. Enjoy!
eroc in The District writes: Dear Andrea; Another year and another top 25 list. ... The one player (on) the list is Walter Stewart , and rightfully so. However, I fear that you will miss out on five Bearcats who are most definitely top 25 players: Pat O'Donnell, Anthony McClung, Travis Kelce, Ralph David Abernathy IV, and Dan Giordano. And as I did last season, I'm calling it now: RDIV will be special teams player of the year, and Giordano will lead the league in sacks. You're welcome.
Adelson: What, no Munchie Legaux on your list? I think RDIV is an outstanding player, and is probably the preseason favorite to be special teams player of the year. McClung and Kelce have to be more consistent; O'Donnell is the best punter in the Big East, no question. But I am not sure he sees the field enough to be ranked in the Top 25. Maybe if he wins the Ray Guy Award we can talk. I think Stewart will have a better year than Giordano. But let's see at season's end!
Dave in Charlotte writes: My bold prediction is that one of the consensus "top five" (Cincinnati, Louisville, Pitt, Rutgers, USF) will finish with a losing record; and one of the "bottom three" (Syracuse, Temple, UConn) will go to a bowl game. My other prediction is that at least one of the new schools will back out of the Big East before playing a conference game.
Adelson: Keep your bold predictions coming!