Welcome to another live chat!! I have a few that came in through Twitter and the mailbag that I will sprinkle in throughout. Now let us get started!
Any word yet on the schedule for this year's media day(s)?
That was up on the blog this morning.http://espn.go.com/blog/bigeast/post/_/id/21512/big-east-media-day-lineup-2
AA,How do you feel ND will do vs. the Big East? I must say, the opener vs USF scares me a lot! With the WR's coming back from injury, the addition of the 2 talented RB's and a talented, veteran (tho sometimes unstable) QB, let's just say I wish we were playing a MAC team to begin the season. I also believe Skip Holtz will help them a lot, since he was a former ND coach. He will not be intimated at all. Also, the Pitt game is in Pburg and the new head coach was able to beat ND last year with far less talent when he coached Tulsa!Thoughts? Thanks, LG
Well I certainly think both teams have a chance in the game, though I am not yet ready to make my picks. I want to wait until I know more about all three teams in preseason camp. I think for USF, it is tough to open the season on the road at Notre Dame when you have three new starters on the offensive line and a quarterback that has yet to be consistent. Holtz is a heck of a coach and I think he poised to lead the Bulls to big things, but not quite sure an upset is in the offing to start the year. I think Pitt does have an advantage in that Graham beat ND last year. That game was huge for him, and Tulsa never lost after that. Pitt has more talent, but there are also questions as well. First and foremost is how Tino Sunseri adjusts to the new scheme.
Is Tyler Gabbart bipolar, or is his Dad trying to burn through any eligibility he has left by dragging him across the country to new schools every year? What the heck is up with that?On another note, I don't think he'll be missed, what with that QB out of Georgia committing.
Ha! I do not have access to Gabbert's medical history, but in reading some of the comments his father made after Louisville announced he was joining, I was a little confused. His father never mentioned Louisville by name. Let me just say that nobody on the Louisville end is talking or confirming that he is gone, so I am still waiting for an official word on this before figuring out what on earth really happened.
I don't know if you follow the comment section after you run an article, but many readers took your Big East coaching list the wrong way. I personally liked how you ranked them. But to clear the air, could you rank them again...from best to worst (and I don't think their is a bad one at this point).
I am aware that people did not actually, you know, read the post and just looked at the numbers. I did it that way because I thought it was unfair to rank coaches that have either zero or one year experience in the Big East. Call it a cop out if you want, but I do not think there is enough there for a complete down the line 1-8 ranking. I can do it when the season ends if it makes everyone happy.
Who's your darkhorse out of the BE and nationally this year? I like the Huskies due to their strength up the middle (OL, DL), salty coaching staff, solid incoming class and a weak out of conference schedule. Elsewhere Notre Dame.
Well I am not sure UConn counts as a darkhorse, considering the Huskies made a BCS game last year! I think Cincinnati or Rutgers could surprise some folks. USF is one of the favorites among Big East types, but I am not sure the Bulls are known nationally. IF they pull the upset on ND, people will certainly take notice.
This one is from The Ben Booth Show on Twitter: Now that the "mountaineer mantrip" has been confirmed to be a team walk through tailgated areas, how hyped will it get!?I am not sure there is a word to describe it. Let us just say I think this will be quite well received, don't you?
Thanks for doing such a great job with taking over duties from Brian. I'm surprised how quickly you were able to get a good grasp on the conference. Do you feel a sense of ownership or camaraderie with the Big East now that you cover them? Or will you always be a Gator through and through?
I posted this to clear up some misconceptions about my job. I have gotten several notes in the mailbag ripping me for ripping on the Big East. I am not paid by the Big East, nor do I have any ties to the league. ESPN pays me to report and have opinions, not to be a Big East booster. I am a UF graduate, but I do not root for the Gators and retain my objectivity because that is part of my job. I hope that explains things from my perspective.
Here is the question of the summer, why are you so awesome?
Ding ding ding ding ding!!! I have had a month to come up with a witty answer but all I can come up with is ... because I am required to be awesome to have this job. Lame. Give me some better answers, folks!
Even though the cards have one of the leagues best safeties in Hakeem Smith, will they be able to defend the pass at all this year with no experience at cornerback?
Great question, Miguel. No question Louisville is going to be extremely green in the secondary, moreso than any other team in the league. Some of the young guys are going to have to step up and fast. I have some faith they will be able to do this because Charlie Strong always coaches up his players and never really had a bad secondary when he was the coach at Florida.
Which team have you had the hardest team getting a gauge on so far? Even Big East powerhouse WVU has a lot of questions.
Wow, that is a fantastic question. There are a few. Louisville -- I think the Cardinals are going to be OK but they have 4 new starters on the OL, questions at QB, WR and in the secondary; Rutgers -- how on earth is that OL going to hold up? Because there is talent at the skill positions. Cincinnati -- Is the defense going to be good enough to allow the Bearcats to make a bowl. UConn -- defense is going to be great, but how about the offense? I realize that is half the league, but those are my 4 big wild card teams.
From USF96 on Twitter: Top 2 botm is BE considered competitive, unlike most who have top-mid-botm teams, if so why isn't that celebrated? Yes I believe the Big East is considered quite competitive. But there is a reason this is not celebrated. This is not exclusive to college football but to sports in general. Folks love to celebrate dynasties, not parity. The Lakers, the Celtics, the Yankees, Alabama, UCLA hoops -- these are iconic teams that are revered for domination. Without a dominating team, nobody really wants to give credit to a league that has 8 good teams. They want to see a league that has 5 great teams and a handful of so-so teams.
A.A your doing a great job and rocking it! For all those haters out there leave her alone, Schiano has been at Rutgers 10 seasons, no BE championships and has a losing record in that time span. This would not fly at any other D1 program. Rutgers has had talent, a soft OOC schedule and still no BE championships. Mediocre at best wouldn't you say?
Thanks, Doug. I don't mind those who criticize at all. That's part of my job. But you are not alone in your assessment of Schiano. However, I am actually not one of the people who thinks he is on the hot seat. I do think the national perception of him as a coach may have changed over the last several years, but I do give him credit for everything he has done there. This team used to be a laughingstock. OK so it went 4-8 last year but I don't think that's enough for folks to think the Scarlet Knights are going to go back to being laughingstocks. They have talent and are absolutely doing a bang up job in recruiting this year.
Which program is the hardest to get information from on players? I can't find any source who knows what's happening with Dan Mason at PITT for example.
Well I think that is because nobody knows what is going to happen with Dan Mason. The last time I talked to Todd Graham, he said he was hopeful that Mason would be able to play this season. But so much depends on rehab and whether he is going to be able to be cleared to practice. And then, how does he look? Will he be tentative on his leg? Will he be a changed player?
How do you expect RU's defense to be this year. There are questions really at all three levels, but when GS can focus on defense he tends to get quality results. Assuming he's re-focused on that side of the ball, and that seems to be the indication now that Cignetti has control of the offense, do you expect RU to find a way to another at least solid defense?
I think the potential is there, Mike. I like the position changes that GS made this spring, and I think they are going to stick. Rowe should be a stud at safety, and Greene should help solidify the young linebacking group. I also like the addition of Manny Abreu playing next to Scott Vallone. But there are questions with depth and experience across the defense.
Do you think WVU will be ok in the linebacker and Offensive Line given the recent events as of late?I know Busik was 2nd team, but we are not very deep there. The OL, I think that it would be good to get some freshman a chance at playing. 2nd question: any word on Holgerson picking an offensive coordinator. I know that he hired a recruiting coordinator, but I haven't heard about any other potential hires.3rd question: anything new on BE expansion or when they will re-negotiate their TV contact? Is there ever going to be a BE network?Thanks for all your good coverage.Gooo Eeers!
I think LB is going to be a bit trickier than OL, to be honest. WVU was preparing for life without Jenkins, if you look at the post-spring depth chart. Braun is a solid lineman who should be fine at left guard. Obviously Q Spain is going to have a lot on his shoulders, and he needs to live up to some of the hype around him coming in. But with Barclay, Madsen and Braun, I think WVU will be OK. At LB, though only Goode returns to the starting unit. Losing Busick hurts with depth, no question about it. I think LB is one of the biggest question marks on the team.Question 2: Holgorsen is remaining OC but no word yet on another coaching hire.Question 3: Nothing new on BE expansion.
Not Big East specifically, but general CFB; It's clear amidst all of the ongoing investigations around the NCAA that money is the only thing that many athletic departments understand, so how about this: Major Violations = Major Fines, and money collected goes right into the accounts of the clean programs- longer time without major violation = bigger cut of the fines.
Well that is certainly quite an interesting proposition, but I do not see that happening. The NCAA is representative of member schools, and I cannot see how member schools would ever agree to that sort of punishment.
Do you agree with ESPN the Mag that Doug Marrone is the friendliest college football coach in America? If not, who would you nominate???
Well, Pac-12 blogger Ted Miller says it is Mike Riley of Oregon State. I will tell you that there are plenty of other guys in the Big East who should be nominated, including Butch Jones, Todd Graham and Skip Holtz. They went out of their way to make me feel comfortable and help me out during the Big East spring meetings and I am thankful for that.
With Cincinnati returning everyone on a bad defense is that encouraging or really bad?
I am trying to figure that out myself, Kevin, which is a big reason why I think Cincy is such a huge wild card. Do you want guys who were not very good coming back, or does another year of experience make them better?
any chance a UConn player wins a postseason award this year?
I think C Moe Petrus would probably be the most likely candidate. Kendall Reyes should get some attention as well.
Lets say, hypothetically (big emphasis on that word, big big), that because of basketball the Big East gets a mega TV deal which covers the football side of things too. Do you think, given the money, the Big East could lure away a team from the Big12 or the ACC, say Kansas or Maryland ( big named schools but not mega big ala Texas or Oklahoma)?
No. I don't think the Big East is going to get more $$ than the other 5 conferences, and I don't think that is going to be enough to lure a Kansas or Maryland. Football makes the TV contracts run, not hoops.
Should WVU be worried about stopping the run? They have an undersized dline as well as undersized lb unit.
The WVU was one of the best in the league last year but there are big question marks this season, no question about it. However, Jeff Casteel has proven to be a good coordinator. I am more worried about the LB than I am about the DL with Irvin and Miller back.
As fans, we get very excited when we hear USC or Michigan players are transferring in UL. Many of these players have never suited up the Cards. Despite his recruiting, does Charlie Strong deserve any criticism for this or do we give him a pass?
I don't think he should be criticized for that. Wouldn't you rather have a transfer leave the team before they play and contribute nothing? There usually is a reason these guys leave their schools in the first place.
Yes, the Big East was a downfall last year but does the Big East need to do to get the respect they deserve?
Win important out of conference games and have more than one team ranked in the Top 25 for starters.
Andrea, I noticed that you had UConn pretty highly ranked among your positional rankings especially the defense....I know that they're QB situation is kind of a mess, but then again when wasn't it?...I guess I'm saying whose to say UConn can't be better than last year due to the fact that all the returning players have that much more experience and our QB can only be better than last year?
Another great question, Ryan. UConn fans were quite upset with my ranking of the team because I explained I had concerns about QB, WR and RB. They said that QB was a major concern last year too and the team went to a BCS game. I do think the defense could be the best in the league. But to me there is a big difference. I am not sure UConn has another Jordan Todman year this year. He is the big reason why the team made it to a BCS game.
The "talk" at UNC Charlotte is that if the Big East doesn't have 12 teams by 2017, they are going to be a strong candidate given the "city" mentality of the conference and they already have a decent basketball program. Big talk for a school that doesn't have football yet, but if USF and UConn could do it....thoughts?
2017? My word. I think we need to see what the Big East does before 2012 to even think about expanding to 12 teams. Who knows what the landscape is going to look like in 2017.
Greg Schiano has been one of the most underachieving coaches in the Big East. He had one good season, and maybe another decent season. How does his name come up in coaching vacancy talks? I honestly do not understand it...
It has not come up in a while, Mike, which is why I had him down in my rankings yesterday.
Are Collaros, Pead and Woods one of the scariest offneses in the Big East?
One of being your operative phrase there. I think there is potential at WVU with Smith-Austin-Bailey and Pitt with Sunseri-Graham-Shanahan-Street. But UC definitely should be one of the top offenses, no question about it.
Sorry about misunderstanding last week comparing you to BB. It was only in fun. Do you think Zach Callaros will progress or regress this year?
I am sorry for misunderstanding, John. I think Collaros will progress this year. Hard to see any regression with the players he has coming back and another year as the starter.
well guys who weren't very good with no experience didn't work out well.
But were they bad because they had no experience or just plain bad?
What is your opinion on the ideal number of teams in the BE football conference (or any conference for the matter)? Absent having 12 teams to qualify for a conference championship (which I do not think is necessarily a great idea except for $$$), nine teams sets up nice for scheduling (4 home conf., 4 away conf., and 4 OOC).
I do not think 12 is a good number for the Big East in football. It works for other conferences, but not this one because of the hoops situation and lack of quality teams that would enhance the league and a future TV deal. Nine or 10 I think is all the league should be at this point.
With 2012 recruiting really underway at this point, where would you say are the best states for Big East teams feasibly to pick up quality talent?
Florida, naturally. But in talking to some of the ESPN recruiting folks, they say New Jersey has one of the best classes it has had in years. Rutgers is doing well in that state. Ohio could be an area as well, what with Ohio State going in the tank. And teams like Pitt and West Virginia are making pipelines into Texas -- that should become another hotbed with TCU coming into the league.
Two questions: First, who do you expect to get more touches, Victor Anderson or Jeremy Wright? And second, who on Louisville do you think is primed for a breakout year?
The first part depends on whether Anderson can stay healthy but my first inclination is to go with him. Second -- Chichester without a doubt.
Wonderful work thus far! Do you believe that MAC teams would be candidates for a big east expansion or even conference USA?
Not Big East. Only way CUSA expands is if it loses teams to the Big East. In that case, I think Louisiana Tech would be a natural choice.
How important is Nick Williams to UCONN this year? Last year it seemed like he was at times the only thing not named Todman that could score for them. And how scary is it for a team when their only proven scoring commodity is a special teams player?
Well he obviously is important, but I think Shoemate is more important for the reason I mentioned earlier. If he can duplicate the success Todman had, then any uncertainty at QB could be negated.
Great job thus far AA!! Do u believe that Dana holgorsen's offense will be able to torch opposing defenses in year one?
Thanks, Tyshiek. He has torched opposing defenses in Year 1 at Oklahoma State and Houston, right? I think the WVU offense will have an excellent year.
When doing your first power rankings did you take the schedules of each team into account at all? I was just wondering because obviously UConn has a pretty easy non-con schedule at the beginning of the year (which will only help build confidence for our young inexperienced QB whoever that may be) and we also get 4 Big East home games this year, and as any knowledgeable Big East football fan will tell you we are a much different team at The Rent than on the road.
I actually did not look at the schedules because I was going for the literal definition of "power" -- just judging the team based on talent and potential. I will re-evaluate with some projections that include the schedule as we get closer to the season.
Hi Andrea! Good blogging so far today. Is there any way we can write your superiors to lobby for you to go to one game over another?
I wish there was. I get assigned the games the week of, so I can be sure to be at the biggest game of the week.
Can you make "all-time teams" and compare among the league sometime... For example, Syracuse could have Jim Brown at Tailback, Mcnabb (or MacPherson) at QB, Marvin Harrison at wr etc... Verse Pitts Marino, Dorsett, Larry Fitz... I think that would be fun
Wow, Sean, that is quite the proposition! Can I say I will try my best to make some time to do it. I might not get to it for a while, but I will keep it on my "to-do" list. Maybe fans can write in with their suggestions and we can do something where I have my list and the fans have theirs.
Andrea, i know this isn't a BE question but, don't you think it's unfair that Notre Dame continues to get special treatment from the NCAA? I mean they have their own chair at the BCS meetings; they have their own network etc... whats your thoughts?
My thought is -- what is fair about the BCS?? It is not fair to anybody but the power conferences/teams that run the world. Notre Dame has power and influence, hence a seat at the table.
Andrea, why do people want the BE to expand any more? They have 18 basketball teams, and although I know the $$$ is brought in because of football, going to 20+ teams in all other sports seems like a bad idea.
Do you think any Big Easts will be rank this year?
West Virginia at the very least will start the season ranked.
Do you read any meaning behind who the coaches send to the Big East Media Day? Are those players that the coaches think will have an impact this year, or are they just guys who are very charismatic and show a good face for the team?
It depends on the coach. There are those who favor their seniors, believing it to be a reward for their hard work over the years. There are others who perhaps like to shield players that are expected to be potential stars. There are others who do bring their best representatives, regardless of position. So there is no one answer to your question.
Does TCU coming in next year do we have a reasonable chance to see anyone in the BE in the national championship anytime soon?
I think a lot of that depends on what happens with the other conferences and teams across the country. A Big East team is going to have to go undefeated for that to happen. I do not see a one-loss BE team getting in without some major help.
Given the situation at CB, who do you expect for Charlie Strong to defer to? Upperclassmen like Jordan Paschal or younger players like Titus Teague and Charles Gaines?
I think it all depends on who is the best player during camp. He is going to put his best players on the team, regardless of age.
You really didn't answer the question about the "hypothetical" TV contract. He didn't ask if they could get the money, but if they did, is the Big East's reputation that bad that given the money, could they lure a team like a Maryland or Kansas, or at least that's how I interpreted it.
Well I still say the answer is no because I don't think in this hypothetical world the Big East is getting more $ in a TV deal than the other conferences.
Do you see a possibility where a school like Syracuse, Uconn or Rutgers ends up in the Big 10 or ACC (because of proximity to the New York area market that broadcasters theoretically want to get their hands on)?
I think that all depends on whether those conferences want to go to 16 teams. I remember speculating last season just for fun about this. Let's see it was Pitt, Syracuse and Rutgers who were somewhat attractive to the Big Ten, along with Missouri. Pitt/WVU could end up in the ACC, too, right? The answer is I don't know.
What is the highest you think WVU will be in the rankings
To start the season? I think Top 15.
Just a shout out from good ole Nebraska! LOL. Good chat!
Hey gal! Come back on Monday at 3 p.m.!
Do you really think WVU is the fav for this season? They have been in the news almost daily with alot of negativity esp since the coach in waiting was announced, than the NCAA probation, armed robbery, ect.. Throw in the fact that DH likes to throw the ball I dont see Geno being a 30 pass attempt player a game. I think WVU struggles this season due to Offensive personal and the D that u mentioned above.
I think WVU is one of the favorites absolutely. The defense has question marks, you are right, but I think the offense has a lot of potential. I was looking back at some of the stats for DH offenses in the past, and he usually has multiple receivers with 90-plus catches. One year (I can't remember it now) he had 3 at Texas Tech.
With the Big East being arguably the least respected conference in the BCS, wouldn't it help them to try to create a "super conference" with the Big 12? The two conferences could just merge into two "divisions" playing the same teams they play each year right now anyway, but covering more media area. Am I crazy?
What happens with hoops?
whats the highest you think wvu will make it up in the rankings
I cannot predict that. I think a lot depends on the LSU game, for starters.
Does the way that GT got hammered today make WVU's handling of their NCAA case look better and better? Is the NCAA sending a message about cooperation?
There is no question WVU did an exemplary job in handling its NCAA case. I think the school got the best possible outcome and should not suffer much because of the sanctions.
In your opinion who do you think is the best overall team in the BE
I had WVU No. 1 in my power rankings last month, and will re-do them as we get closer. So stay tuned.
I'm sure you get more questions on the chat than you can answer, how do you choose which ones to answer? Do you do that, or is there an editor picking the questions you answer? I've always wondered about that...
Great question. I am the one who picks the questions. I usually pick the ones that are the best questions, to be honest. I try to avoid an overabundance of expansion questions because that topic has been beaten to death. And I am not afraid to post questions where somebody questions what I have written. I would have posted one like that today, but the person used a word not appropriate for ESPN.com. So keep it clean, folks! I do read every question and sometimes they serve as an inspiration for a blog post.
Andrea, Let me give you a college football lesson. Despite generally sucking up the field for 20 years ND still has more NC titles than anybody else( AP). They have won every decade except the last twenty years and arguably should ahve won another in 1993 when they rewarded Bobby Bowden for a lifetime achievent award (only time in history where two had one loss a piece and a NC was awarded to the team that loss to the other team) One of the greatest college football coaches of all time Bear Bryant who played and coached under Red Thomas who played under Rockne. When you win NC in the 20's, 30, 40, 50's, 60. 70's and 80's that is a dynasty. Alabama is a great football program but it has less NC titles recognized by the national public and and a less of a winning % than ND. Please get the facts right about dynastys
OK so you are mad I did not mention ND as a dynasty? This is a chat where I have about a minute to respond!
Any chance Louisville or UC could end up in the big 12 in the future with BYU going independent and the big 12 not wanting any more texas schools?
I wish I had a crystal ball so I could give you guys some real answers to a few of these questions. I am not sure that either one would be a fit for the Big 12, to be honest.
You said Rutgers can surprise people but you picked the to finish last? Which is it?
That was a power ranking, not my preseason ballot. At this point, I think Rutgers is last because of how it finished last year and with questions on the OL; HOWEVER, I also think there is a chance for the team to surprise.
True or false, Pitts will at least be in the top 25 throughout the season?
Not to start the season, IMO.
Whatever questions arent mine she answers. She throws me a bone every once in a while to keep me on my toes. That's how she filters them.
Simmer down now, Jay! I know I have answered some of yours today!
Andrea, I've heard this rumor from 2 people now how are usually pretty in the know. The rumor they have heard is that the ACC is going to go after Pitt and WVU soon.. have you heard anything like this?
I have heard it through message boards and such. I just do not think that is happening at this point in time.
OK folks, that wraps it for today. Join me again next week!