Mikeen in Denver writes: Everyone keeps picking Pitt as the sleeper to win the BE, but Pitt has a new coach just like Rutgers. Why is Pitt, who has a new coach installing an entirely new offense for the second year in a row, not hurt as much as Rutgers is hurt by having a new coach using an almost identical system to last year? Coaches aside, Rutgers is the stronger team on paper and was originally picked to win the BE before (Greg) Schiano bolted.
Andrea Adelson: If I was one of the people who had Pitt as a dark horse, I would have a much better explanation for you. In my Big East preseason media ballot, I had Rutgers finishing ahead of Pitt. I understand why there are those who think the Panthers will surprise this year. But I have way, way too many questions about this team to predict a championship in Year 1 under Paul Chryst. There is no depth on the offensive line; quarterback is shaky; who knows about Ray Graham; and the front seven is untested. Plus the scheme change as you mention. My guess on your question about the coach change is this -- Chryst is much more of "name" than Kyle Flood. In some circles, Chryst is regarded as a terrific offensive mind. He had proven results at Wisconsin. Flood, on the other hand, was elevated from offensive line coach and so therefore, I think he is much less of a known commodity from a national perspective.
Donte in Cincinnati writes: If Cincy wins another Big East title, I want some pundits heads to roll. We get no respect and most of you must not know football. I suggest some of you pundits come spend some time here during football season and see how serious football is here. We don't have high school coaches like Florida, and Texas, nor do our high school players in play in front of 50,000 fans. But we take football seriously. It's not about money or the coaches. Look back at our recent success and see how we win with our in-state prideful three-star athletes starring in underestimated roles.
Adelson: So rather than have a blogger who reports accurately on your team, and provides compelling features and analysis, you want somebody who hits a slam dunk with predictions every year? Tough crowd. I have to say, I am always fascinated by Cincinnati fans who yell way more about the "haters" than letting the results speak for themselves. I only hear from you guys when I don't pick Cincinnati to win, which is a grand total of what, three posts a year? And by the way, I did take a look at how Cincinnati wins more with less. I heard not one comment from Cincinnati fans on that post. I guess it was too positive.
Greg in East Brunswick writes:Hey Andrea, Does the recent report that the WAC will cease football operations help or hurt Boise States decision to join the Big East. I figure if they continue as a non-football conference, its a good place for the rest of Boise's sports to go. Your thoughts?
Adelson: Boise State did have an arrangement with the WAC to house all its other sports, but now it is a near certainty the Broncos will play in the Big West.
Dale in St. Louis writes: I really think Temple has a chance to be the surprise team of the Big East! Can they continue what Al Golden has started?
Adelson: I think the Owls certainly have a shot once they ease through this transition period into a new conference. There are a few news items that have boosted Temple a little bit in my estimation. Montel Harris joining the team is huge; and the disarray at Maryland and Penn State have to give the Owls hope that they can win both of those games. Temple already beat Maryland last year and nearly beat Penn State so it is not out of the realm of possibility. I think they could be bowl eligible this year, but I think it is too early to call this team a Big East championship contender given some of the questions on this team, particularly where depth is concerned.
Dan in Mine Hill, N.J., writes: Theoretically, a number of Big East teams could play for the national championship if they were to go undefeated this year. Pitt plays Virginia Tech and at Notre Dame. Cincy plays VT. USF plays Florida State. Rutgers plays at Arkansas. Temple plays at (what's left of) Penn State. Syracuse plays USC and at Missouri, at Minnesota and home vs. Northwestern (man, who made THAT schedule?) I'm not saying any of those things are going to happen, but they're all potential quality wins. Should any of those teams run the table, it should be enough to get them into the championship game, unless there's a major logjam at the top.
Adelson: Well let's not forget that Cincinnati and Pitt each play two FCS teams, and Rutgers plays nobody of consequence outside of Arkansas. I just think it is too hard to sit here and tell what is going to happen if a Big East team does go undefeated. The Big East is never in control of its own destiny. Too much has to happen in the other conferences for this to become a reality. Because we already have seen an undefeated Big East team get left out of the BCS national championship game party.