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Friday, June 14, 2013
Big East mailblog

By Andrea Adelson

Did you miss me?

Ty in Cincinnati writes: UL will probably start off fairly well in the rankings where UC will probably start outside and need to win games to get some press. Given that, UC and Louisville's strength of schedules aren't projecting to be the toughest (bear with me Rutgers and UCF guy, I am not saying the AAC doesn't have quality opponents), how do you see a potential undefeated UC and undefeated UL game on Dec. 5 for all the AAC marbles panning out for the loser? We all know that a one-loss SEC still gets you an invite to the national championship. I doubt a one loss AAC team like UC or even UL or whoever really gets that kind of recognition. Is there a chance they get an at large spot in the last year of the BCS or do they fall all the way to the Belk Bowl or whichever one gets the No. 2?

Andrea Adelson: Ty, unfortunately no AAC school is going to get the benefit of the doubt in that scenario and will in all likelihood be relegated to the Russell Athletic Bowl or Belk Bowl, depending on selection. To qualify as an at-large selection, you have to finish ranked in the Top 14 of the final BCS standings. Say Louisville got up to No. 2 hypothetically. A loss to an undefeated Cincinnati team might still get Louisville a Top 14 finish. But then it's up to the bowls to pick their at-large teams. Remember leagues can only have two BCS representatives so there may be some scenarios in which an AAC could get in, but I think it is highly unlikely.

Patrick Grasso in Alexandria, Va., writes: Re: the Ian O'Connor column on Rutgers. The most embarrassing thing I read there was O'Connor's column. Talk about beating a dead horse! I know the NY/NJ media revel in being "tough" but this column seemed aimed more at impressing other local reporters than anything else. And I say that as someone who is not connected with Rutgers. Time to let this "scandal" go before ESPN looks worse than it does already.

Adelson: Thanks for your feedback, Patrick. While I cannot speak for Ian, I think he did have some good points in his argument. But having said that, I think it is time for all sides to move on. Rutgers has made a decision to stick with Julie Hermann as its athletic director. Now let's give her some time to do her job.

Bob Morpurgo in West Hartford, Conn., writes: If UConn football doesn't go 6-6 or 7-5 with a tough schedule in 2013, can they win with Paul Pasqualoni at the helm? Most locals feel they have to go after a high profile younger coach asap.

Adelson: There is no doubt that Pasqualoni is on the hot seat this season. Back-to-back losing years and no bowl games off the Fiesta Bowl have put the pressure on. I think if UConn can make it back to a bowl game, then the pressure eases up. But a third straight losing season and I definitely will have my concerns about whether or not he makes it to Year 4. As for the schedule, UConn should go no worse than 2-2 in nonconference, meaning it has to go .500 in league play to finish even for the year. There are four winnable games, perhaps five. But I have a tough time seeing this team being any better than 7-5. Is that enough to save his job? Only Warde Manuel has the answer.

Don Fein in Richmond, Va., writes: As an Alum from the University of Houston I was at first excited about joining the Big East, or now AAC, now I am thinking we have left one dumpy conference for another. I see no announcements coming for bowl tie-ins. What is going on "behind the scenes" that should give us hope?

Adelson: Creating new bowl games? The problem is that the "Group of 5" wants to play each other in bowls moving forward, so leagues like the AAC and the others are having a hard time securing tie-ins for the games they already have against conferences like the ACC and SEC. That is why the league is going to lose the Russell Athletic Bowl, Belk Bowl and New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Let's just say the future bowl lineup is going to look radically different than it does today.

Sean in Louisville writes: I know how big the UC game is going to be for Louisville and you even put it as Louisville's most important game. I am worried as a Louisville fan about slipping up to a team that we should beat at home. That happened each of Charlie Strong's first three years. In Charlie's year one, Louisville lost to USF. In year two, we lost to FIU, Marshall, and Pitt. Last year, we lost to UCONN. This year I am worried about overlooking Houston and/or UCF. How susceptible will Louisville be to a bad home loss like those from the last three years and what team do you think is mostly likely to beat Louisville in Louisville?

Adelson: Great points, Sean. I think Strong is going to have to do a heck of job guarding against complacency and overconfidence. That is what got Louisville last year against both Syracuse and UConn. He has to find a way to keep his guys motivated against competition they are going to be favored to beat every single week. That is not an easy task, hence seeing upsets in "trap-type" games every single season in college football. I think the game at Kentucky is going to be tougher than people think. Mark Stoops has lit a fire in that program in a very short time period and is going toe-to-toe with Strong in recruiting. As for toughest home tests, it has to be Rutgers and UCF in back-to-back weeks. To me, that's the toughest two-game stretch of the season.