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Friday, September 30, 2011
3-point stance: Another blow for Big East

By Ivan Maisel

1. Pittsburgh’s 44-17 rout of South Florida on Thursday night may be a boon for Todd Graham’s Panthers but it is one more indignity for the reeling Big East. The No. 16 Bulls are the conference’s highest-ranked team and held some promise as the league’s rejoinder to its critics, particularly in the wake of the decision by Pittsburgh and founding member Syracuse to abandon the league. Maybe Pittsburgh will carry the flag for the Big East. But these are the same Panthers who struggled against Iowa and Notre Dame.

2. Florida quarterback John Brantley looks more comfortable in the offense of new coordinator Charlie Weis than he ever did playing in Urban Meyer’s spread attack last season. But as Todd McShay pointed out in today’s ESPNU College Football podcast, Brantley’s success has come in short, quick passes, not downfield throws. Against a fast, experienced Alabama defense, Brantley must do more than dump the ball off if the No. 12 Gators are to upset the No. 3 Crimson Tide.

3. A reader and Longhorns fan challenged my comment that TCU has supplanted Texas as the state’s most successful program. Since the beginning of 2006, TCU is 58-11; Texas is 55-15. In that time, the Horned Frogs and the Longhorns each have been to two BCS bowls; each has won one. Texas fans argue that strength of schedule should be considered. But given TCU’s momentum -- 16-1 in 2010-11 vs. Texas’ 8-7 -- it’s hard to see why the Horned Frogs shouldn’t be considered the best.