Friday, July 30, 2010
Storylines for Big East media day
By Brian Bennett
I've just about run out of lists and rankings and early preview capsules. So thankfully, real football is almost here -- and so is real football talk.
The Big East holds its official 2010 kickoff event on Monday and Tuesday in Newport, R.I. If you're unfamiliar with the event, know that it's nothing like the multi-day circuses that some other leagues (cough, SEC, cough) put on in the summer. It's a much more laid back affair, which is fun because it gives the media a chance to spend time with the coaches and players in a relaxed atmosphere.
Anyway, it won't be all tea and crumpets (and lobsters). There will be some pressing issues that need to be discussed. Here are what I think some of the top storylines will be in Newport:
Expansion: Well, of course. It's the story that never dies, even though the expansion merry-go-round has come to at least a temporary stop for now. Big East officials and coaches will still be asked about what they need to do to stave off a future potential raid and whether they plan to add any teams themselves. But commissioner John Marinatto should have a more enjoyable media day experience than he might have had if the Big Ten had taken a team or two from the league this summer.
- New coaches: The Big East welcomed three new head coaches -- Butch Jones, Charlie Strong and Skip Holtz -- into the fold this year, and media day will be their first introduction to a lot of reporters around the league. Holtz in particular knows how to work a room, and I expect him to be a popular interview subject.
- Can Cincinnati keep it going?: The Bearcats have won two straight Big East titles, but now that Brian Kelly is gone there will be lots of questions about whether Jones can continue that success. And lots of questions about the team's defense.
- Is it Pitt's time?: I expect Pittsburgh to be the preseason favorite in the media poll that will be released on Tuesday morning. Yet the Panthers are still looking for their first Big East title under Dave Wannstedt, and I'm sure many will ask him and his players why they think they can get over the hump.
- Crime and punishment: There are some important lingering questions about key players who ran into trouble this offseason, including Pitt's Jabaal Sheard, Syracuse's Delone Carter and Louisville's Johnny Patrick. Not sure if we'll get any answers, but we need to ask about them.
The schedule of events looks like this. On Monday, there's a golf outing, followed by the famous Big East clambake that night. On Tuesday, Marinatto gives brief remarks. Then all eight coaches are in a room for an hour for interviews before the players enter the same room for their hour. Naturally, I'll be there and the blog will be buzzing with all the updates. (And if you haven't yet, make sure to follow the blog on Twitter).
Finally, what questions and storylines would you like to see addressed next week in Newport? Ask a good one, and maybe I'll save a lobster for you.