Happy Friday, everybody. Let's get to some mail, starting with some reaction to this week's all-decade material:
Bob from Stamford, Conn., writes: How do you not have Michael Vick on top players of the decade? The national title run was 1999, but he returned the following season and ended up picked number one in the NFL draft. While I like dogs, I am not sure there is any rational explanation for not putting him in the top 10 otherwise.
Brian Bennett: The time period we were looking at ran from 2000 to 2009, so Vick only had one year to be considered. And his 2000 season wasn't as good as 1999; he completed just 54.2 percent of his passes for fewer than 1,5000 yards, with nine touchdowns and seven interceptions, while running for 636 yards and nine scores. While he was an electric player, having those stats in his one year of eligibility just isn't enough, in my eyes.
Ryan from Florida writes: You've got to mention Steve Slaton in your Big East players of the decade. You didn't even mention him in honorable mention. What's up with that?
Brian Bennett: Slaton is on my All Half-Decade Team that I revealed today. For the Top 10, the competition was just too stiff at running back. You've got Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, Donald Brown, Clinton Portis, just to name a few. Slaton was a great player, no doubt, but he falls just outside of my Top 10.
Bill A. from Presto, Penn., writes: Re: All-Decade team: I believe Steve Slaton should have been included in the honorable mention list. Also note that Darrelle Revis played/started three years while a few others on your team played/started only two this decade. Revis started 11 games in his first year while being named freshman All-American, and made All- Big East his next two years, and obviously played well enough to warrant the 14th overall pick in NFL draft.
Brian Bennett: Revis is another guy who made my half-decade team and was strongly considered for the top 10 overall. But who would you take off the Top 10 for Revis? Though no fault of his own, Revis's case is hurt a little by the fact that the teams he played for weren't very good.
Chris from Blacksburg, Va., writes: You need to go back and watch tapes of the 1999 and 2000 Big East seasons!
Brian Bennett: OK, Chris, I'll get right on that, though you'll have to explain to me what 1999 has to do with all-decade lists spanning from 2000 to 20009.
Eric from Edison, N.J., writes: You say many of Rutgers wins over the last five years came over soft competition? This year Rutgers had a soft schedule, but over the last five years? Come on! They had no softer schedule than anyone else in the Big East over that time period. ... I realize you are biased against Rutgers, but lets not give false info based on selective memory.
Brian Bennett: You're right, I'm so biased against Rutgers that I sit around thinking of ways to make their schedule look bad. Or it could be that these are the best Scarlet Knights' nonconference regular-season victories since 2005:
Navy (four times); North Carolina and Illinois in 2006 (North Carolina went 3-9 that year; the Illini finished 2-10); and this year's win over a 2-10 Maryland team. That's it, that's the list.
So yeah, I think it's fair to say their wins haven't come against the strongest competition of late. Give Rutgers credit for upgrading its schedule in the future, but there just aren't a lot of impressive nonconference accomplishments from the recent past.
Nick from Morgantown, W. Va., writes: There are a lot of recruits decommitting given the current coaching carousel (particularly so close to signing day). Is it time to teach recruits a life lesson by having reprocussions for decommitting? For example, instead of a buyout clause a recruit would lose his ability to redshirt.
Brian Bennett: I couldn't disagree more. If coaches can leave whenever they want, recruits should be able to change their minds as well. Once a player gets on campus, he can't transfer to another FBS school without sitting out a year. So as a recruit, you'd better make the right choice, and I can't blame you one bit for exploring other options when the coach who'd been wooing you bolts for another job.
Adam J. from N.J. writes: In talking about recruiting needs for Rutgers, I was curious why quarterback wasn't among the positions they need to add to. They ended the year with four QBs, of which two graduate. That leaves a true sophomore starter, a three-year sophomore backup, and a QB converted to TE. Even with Chas Dodd, hopefully, signing next month, don't you think they are at least one more QB light on the depth chart?
Brian Bennett: You make a good point, Adam. A quick look at the position would tell you that Rutgers is set with Tom Savage as the starter for the next three years. But we've seen how rare it is for a quarterback to make it through an entire year without missing some time because of injury. There aren't any experienced backups right now behind Savage. The next-best quarterback is probably Mohamed Sanu in the Wildcat or D.C. Jefferson, who needs to concentrate at tight end. So Rutgers needs to add a quarterback or two. But in some ways, that seems like a tough sell for recruits, who know that they're going to be stuck behind Savage for the next three years no matter what.