- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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It's time for the season -- that means we scale down to one mailbag a week to get you much more game-related previews and content on the blog. We will jump back up to two in the offseason.
So make your questions count!
Adam in Philly writes: AA, If Louisville loses this week to Kentucky, will Coach [Charlie] Strong blame the loss on the release of Madden 13? I don't think there is another Call of Duty scheduled to come out this season so I think this is the only video game that can be blamed for a loss this year.
Andrea Adelson: Hardy har har, Adam! I do not think Strong will ever live those comments down, although I guess he had the last laugh because the Cardinals still won a share of the Big East. Of course, with a win in that game against Pitt, they would have gone to the Orange Bowl, but no sense in looking back. If Louisville loses this game, Strong is going to have some major explaining to do.
John in Cape Coral, Fla., writes:Here is some interesting company: FSU, Miami, Texas, Nebraska, Ohio State, USC, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, LSU and South Carolina. These are 12 of the 13 teams that have gone undefeated against non-BCS competition since 2005. The other team? USF. Now you have your stat of the week. Your welcome.
Adelson: Where is the stat showing all the Big East victories that translated into championships? Right.
Ryan in Indianapolis writes: Andrea, Thanks for your work on the blog. As this season approaches, my Bearcats have many question marks. Most importantly, will there be continual offensive improvement? If you don't score a lot of points in the Big East, you won't be a serious contender. Last year the receivers struggled, Isaiah Pead and Zach Collaros kept them scoring early and often. Fortunately. I can sleep at night knowing I don't need to watch D.J. Woods try to catch the ball this year. This year, the receivers have a huge role to support Munchie Legaux. Munchie needs confidence and that's where it'll come with this offense. Drew Freyneeds to show his experience and make teams pay from the safety position. No reason this guy can be a nice draft pick coming out next year! Go Cats!
Adelson: I think you hit one of the questions firmly, Ryan, and that is looking at offensive improvement. Cincinnati transformed itself into a running team last season behind the strength of Pead. Coach Butch Jones already has said the Bearcats might pass the ball more this year, but a lot of that will depend on how far Legaux has come in his development as a passer, and how many gains these receivers (Kenbrell Thompkins, Anthony McClung, Alex Chisum) have made in the offseason. To me, those are bigger question marks than the run game. I think Cincinnati will be fine with a rotation of George Winn, Jameel Poteat and Ralph David Abernathy IV. Legaux will provide some running ability as well. But it is in the passing game where Legaux and his receivers have to prove themselves this season.
Jesse in Wolcott, Conn., writes:With kickoff ever so close (I'm shaking with excitement) I was wondering, with a win this weekend, is there any team that could join Louisville in the top 25? Or will it take a couple wins for any team to crack the rankings?
Adelson: I am sure you will be glued to your TV tonight to watch the Huskies debut, Jesse! In looking at the teams receiving votes in both polls -- Cincinnati, USF and Rutgers -- I do not think any other Big East team will be ranked after Week 1. Cincinnati is off; USF plays Chattanooga and Rutgers plays Tulane. It could be a while before a second Big East team makes its way into the rankings.
Alex in Cusetown writes: Why is Syracuse seventh? I know their o-line is bad without Justin Pugh, but Ryan Nassibcan take the pressure. The linebacking core is the strongest its been in this century, and their secondary has a good mix of young talent and experienced players.
Adelson: There were times Nassib could not take the pressure last season when the offensive line broke down, so I disagree with your statement there. I do think this linebacking group is going to be great, and I really like Shamarko Thomas at safety. But there are so many other questions, particularly up front with both lines. I am not the one sounding alarm bells about the offensive line. Doug Marrone has done the same this preseason. There are some question marks about the running back rotation as well. As you saw in my bowl projections, I think Syracuse goes at least .500 this year, but there are so many unknowns about a team that ended up with a miserable finish to the year I think the power rankings position is valid.
Donald in Tampa writes: I think USF will win the conference out right, and if they win more than 10 games, they going undefeated. I've looked at all the teams in the Big East, and none of them have the experience, leadership, and speed that USF has. Oh yea, I can't forget talent. I don't see how people just downgrade the transfers USF has gotten from other schools. It's like when they sign at USF, everyone says. "Well, he wasn't that good anyway" and turn their noses up. But with all that being said, I feel if USF plays to their capabilities no team they play this year should be able to touch them because their team is loaded. And that includes FSU and Miami.
Adelson: Well, we have heard for years now about the superior talent and speed USF has, and the Bulls have no rings to show for it. I do not think USF is clearly head and shoulders above everybody else in the league; however, what could set the Bulls apart is the senior leadership. That might be the huge intangible that gets them to the top this year. As for Florida State, have you seen that defensive front? Come on, now. I get being a fan, but FSU is the more talented and better team. However, I think USF will have a great shot at beating Miami and would not be surprised if this team won 10 games.
Glenn in Philadelphia writes: I hear how Temple will struggle with depth but if they stay healthy there is no one on their schedule who you can say they can't beat. I think the D will be very good with Anthony Robey and Justin Gildea, along with their front seven. Having a receiver playmaker is something they will need to take pressure off of Montel Harris.
Adelson: But there is also no one on their schedule of FBS opponents that you can mark down as an automatic win, either. Temple has talent, and it is not the team that it was when it left the Big East. I totally get that. I think Temple will be close to bowl eligibility and can definitely have an impact on the Big East race. But I also think this is going to be a transition year and Temple will take its share of lumps.