John Michael in Jackson, Tenn., is back!
He writes: Look at what kind of offenses UC has played against. Also, I'm not saying what Vandy should have done. But, ever since Jordan Rodgers has come in, it has been a different team. Here's a stat for you: UC has the No. 152 SOS in the country. For your info, I did watch Cincinnati. They were stomped by a UT team with Zach Collaros.
Andrea Adelson: You are right, Cincinnati got stomped in Week 2. But just as Vanderbilt got better as the season went on, so did Cincinnati. This is a team that still won a share of the Big East championship without its starting quarterback. How many other teams would have been able to do that? We each have our set of stats and arguments to make, and I appreciate having this debate. We'll see which team wins on Saturday.
Rich in Brooklyn, N.Y., writes: Hey Andrea. Hope you had a great holiday! Maybe I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, but it never seemed to me as if Tom Savage ever really wanted to leave Rutgers. Even throughout the season, he constantly updated his Twitter with replies to current players, rooted for them to win the conference, and even defended Mark Harrison when he was having issues with drops. Could it be that he simply got some bad advice from his parents/other influences? If so, I'd personally welcome him back in a heartbeat. What are your thoughts?
Adelson: I cannot speak for Savage and why he came to the decision he made, or who helped him arrive at that decision. But I am not sure his communication via Twitter with and about his teammates means he never wanted to leave. To me, it seems as if the situation forced his hand. He lost his starting job, and even though Frank Cignetti was coming in with a style more suited for Savage, there are no guarantees Savage would have won the starting job. Had he stayed, would it have been Dodd and Savage being pulled for one another instead of Dodd and Gary Nova? Greg Schiano has not been the best at managing his quarterbacks, so clearly Savage thought leaving was in his best interest. But he always maintained he loved Schiano, and his teammates. I am a little surprised to see he might want to come back, if only because he will be in a similar situation to the one he left last year. I realize neither Dodd nor Nova has done much to generate a prolific offense, but you know Savage would just be a part of another quarterback derby. He is reportedly seeking a hardship waiver to be eligible in 2012, but nobody knows whether that will be granted. But let's just say best case, Savage transfers and can play immediately. He wins the starting job. He has a bad game, and Schiano goes to the bench again. Is he prepared to go through all that one more time?
Dave in Charlotte, N.C., writes: I don't have a question, but I want to point out one thing missing in the Todd Graham circus. In his six years of coaching, he has had three 10-win seasons, and three .500 seasons. Reporters and fans keep focusing on the loyalty issue with Graham. But I think they should be asking why ASU chose a guy who hasn't lived up to his own hype.
Adelson: Actually one of those seasons you refer to was under .500 (Tulsa went 5-7 in 2009). I think it is obvious why Arizona State chose him -- the Sun Devils struck out on their top three candidates, and decided they were buying into the high-octane message he was selling.
Patrick Reinert in Atlanta writes: Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you Andrea! I have a few questions for ya but firstly just want to thank you for your Big East blog and all of your analysis this year. I know we were pretty rough on you to start the season (I'm guilty of it too, I guess because of the transition out of a Brian Bennett comfort zone) but you really stuck through it and proved that you definitely know your stuff and are not afraid to be unbiased despite the outrage from a lot of fans. So once again, thanks! My questions are A) Whether or not you think that Louisville to the Big 12 is a virtual lock at some point in the near future (plus Cincy I hope, if a move to the Big 12 realizes)?? And B) Do you see Louisville being a comfortable top 10-top 15 football team again within the next 3 to 4 years?
Adelson: Happy holidays to you and all the readers out there, and thanks for your kind words, Patrick. I can only hope I am not the Jay Fiedler to Brian Bennett's Dan Marino. As for your questions: A) I don't think anything is a virtual lock when it comes to realignment. A year ago would you have said it was a virtual lock for TCU and West Virginia to be in the Big 12? There is so much uncertainty and really the schools are at the mercy of the conferences. We have no idea whether the Big 12 will want to move beyond 10 teams. If that does happen, I do think Louisville is at the top of the list. Not sure on Cincinnati. B) I think everything is in place for Louisville to become a Top 15 program BUT I have a few questions that need to be answered. How does this team grow and mature? How does this team handle being a favorite and not an underdog? How many more strides can this team make in recruiting? Is Charlie Strong a Louisville lifer? Plenty of unknowns for the Cardinals moving forward.