- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Time to open the ol' mailbag.
Nick G in Manchester, Conn., writes: Andrea, we all know about UConn's O this year and how it's been miserable. Last year, we had a pretty bad QB in Johnny McEntee and in the Western Michigan game, he threw for over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns. Do you think this could possibly be a comming out party for Chandler Whitmer against the same team??? I think he has what it takes, good arm, decent accuracy, great feet. Only issue is he tried to take to many chances. ... Your thoughts?
Andrea Adelson: I am not sure last year's game is going to have any bearing on what happens this weekend. I think the bigger problem for UConn has been its offensive line, to be honest. The unit is not playing as well as it did last season, and that has led to a pretty ineffective running game. I don't think UConn has the type of offense that can survive without the threat of the run. So again, I think the Huskies will try to get Lyle McCombs going and try to avoid getting into a shootout!
Patrick in Monterey, Calif., writes: Hey Andrea, Hope your week is going well. I watched the Louisville-NC game on ESPN 3 and have to say, even as a devoted PITT fan, the first half of that game I couldn't think of a better team, outside of maybe Alabama and Oregon, that I've seen play better football! Too bad it was only for that one half and a few minutes of the third. Anyway, my question to you is - how is it even possible that so many press type folks around the country can ignore how dominant this guy Teddy Bridgewater, his coach Mr. Charlie Strong, and the rest of that team have been? I love PITT, but I love good football better, and Louisville football, this year at least, is darn good football! They need more recognition. Don't you think?
Adelson: Any time you get a team that is not one of the national "brand" names, it takes longer for there to be instant recognition. But I actually disagree with your assessment. If you look around the Web this week, Teddy Bridgewater has received a lot of Heisman attention. He got more votes this week in the ESPN Heisman poll and is in seventh place. That means people beyond myself and Matt Fortuna are voting for him. Stewart Mandel over at SI.com also has Bridgewater on his early Heisman radar. And Louisville is ranked in the Top 20. All of that leads me to believe people are taking notice of what is developing in Louisville this season.
Ryan in Johnstown, Ohio, writes: AA-- Here is a sane, level headed approach to the 14th member problem. For the love of all things holy feature it in the mailbag. None of the target schools (AFA, BYU) are ready to take the plunge and become full members so lets make an offer similar to the Notre Dame/ACC relationship: offer BYU a contract to play 4-6 BE schools a year out of conference. These could be on a rotational basis or we could give BYU games against San Diego State and Boise State because that just makes sense. Games played at BYU could still be part of their ESPN deal. I would also see if Navy would like a similar arrangement as it would give them greater scheduling flexibility and they would have a better shot at reaching bowl eligibility than as a full member. It would also level Big East football membership at 12, which is a good thing. Throwing in access to Big East bowls would probably be a good thing for both parties.
Adelson: Perhaps commissioner Mike Aresco is reading this very mailbag right now. I actually do agree that Navy would be better served if it tries to stay quasi-independent. I have never felt greatly confident in Navy being an annual bowl team as a member of the Big East. But to your larger point, the Big East is trying to bolster itself to be sure it can survive and thrive into the future. I think you know what I am getting at. If there is another wave of realignment (that is to say if the Big 12 decides to grow), there might be designs on Big East teams. If there are, the goal is for the Big East to have more than enough members to survive.
BearCats Winning in Amelia, Ohio, wrote: I watched the Pitt/VT game to see what my Bearcats might be facing with VT. I found myself actually cheering for Pitt and seeing the Pitt team that everyone had been writing about all spring! Pitt played a great game and put it to VT. As for my Bearcats, Munchie needs to start sleeping with that football. A former Bearcat did when he couldn't hang onto the football! Butch Jones will do all he can this off week to get the team back to taking care of the ball. Munchie needs to start doing that now! I still don't understand since UC was ahead and Munchie couldn't seem to move the team, Jones didn't put in the backup quarterback and give him some work. But of course I am not the coach. Still?
Adelson: I think that was largely a function of wanting to see some consistency out of his starting offense, particularly with a big game looming following the bye. Cincinnati did not look great out there, and I am betting Jones wanted to get them as much playing time as possible because of this strange setup with two byes in the first four weeks of the season. Virginia Tech will have played four games going into next week; Cincinnati only two, one against an FCS opponent.
Greg in N.J., writes: Andrea, please illustrate how the upcoming game between Rutgers and Arkansas is a lose-lose for the Big East. An RU win would result in "it's a down Arkansas team, this doesn't mean anything" or "same ol' big east, can't beat middle of the pack power conference opponents." Your thoughts?
Adelson: I completely understand that assessment. As I wrote this week, Rutgers doesn't have as great an opportunity to make a splash with Arkansas completely unraveling. But I am trying not to take the cynical view. I do think a win would count for something, particularly since it is coming on the road. It might not be as great as beating the No. 8 team in the nation, but this would be its third road win in September. That is pretty impressive.
Michael in Louisville writes: AA says "Bridgewater is third overall on my Heisman Watch" But he is second on your list of best QBs in the Big East. OOOOOH BIG GUNS! Myself and so many others tried to save you from having to wipe that egg off of your face. Once a BJ Daniels always a BJ Daniels. QBs who have been erratic for their entire careers virtually never pull it all together just because they become a senior. But you are young and you will learn from this. Now I know you are going to say "nobody" expected Teddy Heisman to perform the way he is, and that is sort of true, but there was a lot of solid information coming out before the season started indicating this was in fact likely. We Louisville fans tried to tell you it was coming.
Adelson: You are right, Michael. I deserve to be mocked into eternity.