Let's take a look inside the mailbag to end the week.
Jordan in Lakeland, Fla., writes: I know the UCF-USF game is important to the Big East, but isn't the date a little bit questionable? On Black Friday, most students are still off campus, and many others would rather be shopping (I really don't see it happening in prime time). Wouldn't it be better to schedule this game for the last Saturday of the season when it has a much better chance of selling out?
Andrea Adelson: If UCF students would rather be shopping than attending this game, then the Knights have major problems. I do not see one excuse for this game to have empty seats. Not one. First of all, nearly 95 percent of the 59,000 students hail from inside the state of Florida. That means more than 56,000 students have the ability to drive to the game after spending Thanksgiving with their families. But let's say some decide not to. UCF's stadium seats 45,000. We're not talking about filling up Neyland Stadium the day after Thanksgiving (and something tells me the Vols wouldn't have a big problem with that). So surely there have to be enough students and/or people out of 2 million living in the Orlando area willing to attend the game in addition to those 90 miles away in Tampa willing to drive over. As for your shopping dilemma, I do recall stores opened on Thanksgiving Day last year and there are all sorts of online sales for those who want to purchase their holiday gifts early. And I also think stores are open really early AND really late on Black Friday. Plenty of time to shop, watch the game, then do some more shopping. On a side note, when I was a student at Florida back in the '90s, I drove five hours to Gainesville after spending Thanksgiving with my family in Miami to attend the Florida State game as a freshman. If you want to go to a game badly enough, you will find a way regardless of when it is.
Dave in Belle Mead, N.J., writes: So with the Catholic 7 taking the Big East name, becoming a basketball-only conference, does that mean Rutgers, Louisville, et al has no exit fees to pay? It doesn't seem that paying an exit fee to a league that doesn't have a football conference seems fair. Thoughts?
Adelson writes: Well, the league they are departing still exists, it will just have a new name. Recent reports suggest no fees being waived because of a name change. So it seems they are still on the hook.
Gary in Brandenburg, Ky., writes: Andrea, I am a huge Louisville fan. I have been listening to the local sports talk radio shows this week. They were talking about Louisville, their schedule, and the "unnamed league" next year. When they talk about they keep mentioning how its temporary because UL is going to the ACC the following year. The one thing they said is live with the schedule, there is an automatic BCS bid waiting at the end of the year. Now this is where I am confused. If the Catholic 7 bolt with the Big East name, does the new league actually keep the BCS tie in? I believe I heard once when the conference realignment was going on that if BE renamed the league, then they will loose the bid because it was tied to the BE name. So if the C-7 teams leave with the BE name doesn't that mean the BCS bid leaves to?
Adelson: Rest assured, Gary. I just checked in with BCS chief Bill Hancock and he says the name change does not impact the BCS tie-in status. The league formerly known as the Big East will retain its automatic spot in 2013.
Brent Fine in Chandler, Ariz., writes: Andrea, I never seem to get a response from you. Am I on your banned list? I wrote you before Louisville put out its schedule, but the same question applies. Why can't Louisville schedule at least one decent nonconference team when the rest of the teams in the "Conference Formerly Known as the Big East" seem to be able to do it? Tim Sullivan of the Courier-Journal wrote me that it's questionable whether Louisville would qualify for the championship game if it goes 12-0 with such a lousy schedule.
Adelson: Today must be your lucky day! Tim is absolutely correct. Louisville would have the worst strength of schedule among the teams expected to start the season in the preseason top 10. As for why the Cards have such a lousy nonconference schedule, your questions have vexed many of your fellow fans. While it is true that Georgia backed out of an agreement to play Louisville in 2011, it also is true that the slate the past two years has been pretty horrible. FIU? Marshall? Ohio? You can't schedule that way when you play in leagues like the Big East and the ACC and expect to be taken seriously when it comes time for national championship discussion. Athletic director Tom Jurich told the Courier-Journal the school worked hard to get a marquee opponent on the schedule for this season but couldn't get anything done. He also pointed to the fact that San Diego State and Boise State dropping off the schedule hurt, too. That is fair, but it doesn't make up for the terrible nonconference games. No doubt upgrading that part of the schedule has to be a top priority moving forward.