Big East lunchtime links

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Fascinating story on former Cincinnati star Connor Barwin by Bill Koch in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Barwin was born deaf and had several surgeries to fix the problem, but he hadn't told anybody about it until recently.

"Somebody asked me why I never brought it up," Barwin said. "A lot of kids or people out there are born with major hearing problems and are not fortunate enough to ever recover. I didn't want people thinking, why can you hear and why can't my son hear? I remember telling my parents I didn't want to talk about it. I just didn't feel fair talking about it."

• The New York Times' countdown of every FBS team ranks Pittsburgh at No. 42.

• Speaking of Pitt, Kevin Gorman reports in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the Panthers have landed a massive (6-foot-6, 350 pounds) offensive line prospect. Dave Wannstedt appears to be going after huge linemen after getting another 6-6 guy earlier this summer.

• Preseason rankings don't mean much, but the Big East's lack of respect this summer is still a reason for concern, Bob Hertzel writes in the Times West Virginian.

• South Florida is fortunate to have an experienced backup kicker in Delbert Alvarado after the Maikon Bonani accident, Brett McMurphy writes in the Tampa Tribune.

• Mario Benavides has become the center of attention as he tries to replace Eric Wood at Louisville, Eric Crawford says in The Courier-Journal.