NCF Nation: Rashaad Duncan
Rutgers and NC State are mirror images heading into this afternoon's Papajohns.com Bowl, Aditi Kinkhabwala writes in the Bergen Record. Mike Teel set a good example for the players that will follow him as Scarlet Knights quarterback, Brendan Prunty says in the Star-Ledger.
• Cincinnati's defense, a unit of mix-and-match parts, has been the team's backbone all season, Bill Koch writes in the Cincinnati Enquirer. The Bearcats will end up selling 13,000 of their 17,500 allotted tickets to the FedEx Orange Bowl, Koch reports. That's not too great, but the same story says Virginia Tech has sold only 5,000. And a lot of fans no doubt have bought tickets outside of the schools because prices are so cheap in the scalpers' market.
• Pitt defensive lineman Rashaad Duncan, in talking up his own unit to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Paul Zeise, may have provided Oregon State a little bulletin board material for Wednesday's Brut Sun Bowl. Take a listen:
"[Oregon State's offensive line] is a tight unit and seem to know where they are at. But the thing I see when I watched them is that I don't think they have faced a defensive line like us. I mean, the last defensive line they played like us was Penn State and the results speak for themselves.
"Like [Southern California], for instance, they had some big [defensive linemen] guys, but they weren't as quick as us. They might have been as strong us, but they are not as quick as us. Like I said, I don't think [Oregon State] has faced anyone like us and that will be our plan, to surprise them [with athleticism]. If not, if they want to make it a fight, we'll strap it up like we do."
This might be the last time a Big East team plays in the Sun Bowl for a while.
• West Virginia cornerback Brandon Hogan's illness remains a secret, Mike Casazza writes in the Charleston Daily Mail. Bill Stewart has nothing to apologize for in his first season at the helm of the Mountaineers, Mickey Furfari says in the Times West Virginian.
Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
• Tony Pike will continue to start at quarterback even if Dustin Grutza is full healthy this week, Bill Koch writes in the Cincinnati Enquirer.
"The most important equation is who gives you the best chance to win at this time of the season," Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly said, "more than massaging anybody's hurt feelings.
"At the end of the day, we're going to play the guy who at this time of the season gives us the best chance to win."
• Defensive tackles Mick Williams and Rashaad Duncan are big keys to Pittsburgh's success, Paul Zeise writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
• Syracuse is considering playing two quarterbacks this weekend against UConn, Donnie Webb notes in the Syracuse Post-Standard. The combined numbers for Cam Dantley and Andrew Robinson last week versus Rutgers: 5-of-19 for 35 yards.
• The stirring comeback to force overtime was nice, but West Virginia showed some major deficiencies before that, Dave Hickman writes in the Charleston Gazette.
• Rutgers has won three in a row, but coach Greg Schiano is far from satisfied, Brendan Prunty writes in The Star-Ledger.
* With Rutgers and Cincinnati meeting Saturday, Josh Katzowitz of the New York Times looks back at the 2006 game in which the Bearcats won 30-11. The fortunes for both teams have changed dramatically every since.
* Rutgers running back Kordell Young, who was feared lost for the season just a week or two ago, could return and play Saturday, Tom Luicci writes in The Star-Ledger.
* South Florida coach Jim Leavitt tells Brett McMurphy of the Tampa Tribune that injured defensive linemen George Selvie and Terrell McClain shouldn't have played against Pittsburgh.
* Rashaad Duncan is the unsung hero of the Pittsburgh defense, Paul Zeise writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
*The movie "The Express" depicts a racially-charged scene in which West Virginia fans throw garbage and epithets at Ernie Davis. One problem: people from both sides say that never happened, the Charleston Daily Mail reports.