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Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Can't wait to see these things this fall

By Ivan Maisel and Mark Schlabach
ESPN.com

Three Things I Can't Wait To See This Fall In The Big East
Ivan Maisel
Mark Schlabach
1. Is West Virginia broken? Should new coach Bill Stewart fix it? Stewart has gone out to the end of the limb and taken the Mountaineer offense with him. Stewart has decided that Pat White needs to throw more and run less. It sounds like someone asking Ichiro to muscle up and bat cleanup so that he saves his legs.

2. Sometimes new coaches ease into their jobs, and sometimes new coaches are Steve Kragthorpe in Louisville last year. The only fun the Cardinals had in a 6-6 season came in the word dysfunctional. A new defensive staff led by former Michigan coordinator Ron English has arrived. Senior Hunter Cantwell takes over the offense. Six of the first seven games are at home. The first tough road test isn't until Nov. 8 at Pittsburgh. The stage is set for Louisville to rebound.

Mike Teel 3. The most obvious hole Rutgers must fill is at tailback, where Ray Rice took his 4,926 career yards to the NFL a year early. But the most important holes are the three starters on the offensive line. If two-year starting quarterback Mike Teel is to carry the load for the Scarlet Knights' offense, he has to have time; the tailback, whether he's sophomore Mason Robinson or redshirt sophomore Kordell Young, has to have holes.
Bill Stewart1. West Virginia's surprising 48-28 upset of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl was one of the warmest moments in recent college football history. Interim coach Bill Stewart was able to motivate his team to forget about its crushing 13-9 loss to Pittsburgh, which cost the Mountaineers a spot in the BCS title game, and about Rich Rodriguez, who bolted for Michigan soon thereafter. West Virginia beat the Sooners with grit, emotion and determination. Stewart, who was named Rodriguez's successor the morning after the Fiesta Bowl, now has to motivate his team every week.

2. Can Pittsburgh parlay its stunning 13-9 upset of West Virginia at the end of 2007 into a bowl appearance this coming season? Dave Wannstedt hasn't led his alma mater to the postseason during his four-year tenure, but the Panthers might be among the country's biggest surprises. If Bill Stull can produce a consistent passing game, Pittsburgh will be well balanced with LeSean McCoy running the football.

3. South Florida coach Jim Leavitt said his team was embarrassed by its 56-21 loss to Oregon in the Sun Bowl. The Bulls, who climbed as high as No. 2 in the country before falling off at the end of the 2007 season, went into the offseason with a bitter taste in their mouths. To get rid of it, the Bulls will have to be better on defense without star linebacker Ben Moffitt and cornerbacks Mike Jenkins and Trae Williams.