Big East mailbag

Light mailbag this week. Perhaps my insightful blogging has erased all questions in your mind. Or maybe you've just been glued to Charlie Sheen's Twitter page.

Alex from N.J. writes: Per the article on UConn losing $1.8M on the Fiesta Bowl: I want to say that is why big-time football will never come to CT, however, I find myself wondering again why the BCS exists. The article named WVU as losing $1M and Virginia Tech over $2M. Why are these schools agreeing to lose this amount of money on a game that is supposed to be the pinnacle of CFB success? It makes no sense, how great would it be if schools finally stood up for themselves and walked away from this messed up system. I can only imagine the NY/NJ media nightmare Rutgers would experience if it lost more than $1MM at a BCS game.

Brian Bennett: The big losses come from the rigged ticket deal, in which a school has to agree to buy up a huge allotment even if it can't sell them all. Then there are the travel expenses of taking a large athletic department contingent, boosters, the band, etc. Programs will say that the exposure a BCS game provides is worth any financial loss, but it's funny that you don't hear about schools going to the Final Four in basketball losing money. I'm stunned that college presidents put up with this system, especially in these economic times.

Dave from Charlotte, N.C., writes: How good can Villanova ever be in FBS? Small school with limited fan base. Northwestern and Stanford have found a way to make it work for brief periods, but to me Villanova will track very closely to Duke and Vanderbilt. I guess that's good for the Big East, because the conference is lacking that perennial cellar dweller.

Brian Bennett: Fact is, we don't know how good Villanova can be yet. We do know the Wildcats have been a highly successful FCS program, and if they decide to make the jump then they will do so with a serious commitment to winning. I can think of another private school with an enrollment about the size of Villanova's that is located in a major metro market that is doing pretty well: TCU.

Steven N. from Osaka, Japan, writes: On your postseason top 25 players of last season, there have been no USF players to make the list yet. While I can reason that you'd place BJ Daniels there eventually, I also thought we had a pretty great defense last year (22nd best scoring defense). Did none of those defensive players deserve to make the list?

Brian Bennett: Patience, Steven. One is coming up soon. The interesting thing about South Florida last year, though, was that it mostly lacked stars. The Bulls had a deep team but few individual standout performers.

Jay from Rutgers writes: The third down/change of pace/pass-catching back is becoming an increasingly crucial position in football. Who do you see as the league's premiere third down, change-of-pace, or pass-catching backs?

Brian Bennett: A guy who immediately sprung to mind was Syracuse's Antwon Bailey, but he'll be asked to be more of an every-down back this year, at least at first. Perhaps Prince-Tyson Gulley can assume that for the Orange. I would think that would be a perfect role for Louisville's Victor Anderson if Jeremy Wright is the featured back. At Cincinnati, it could be Darrin Williams. That seems like a good spot for Jordan Thomas at Rutgers is Savon Huggins is the real deal.

It's harder to say for UConn, Pitt, West Virginia and South Florida, where there are either heavy competitions for carries or young players entering the program we don't know much about just yet.