Welcome to your midweek mailblog. For all you West Virginia fans who have asked, you can delete me from your life forever and add David Ubben. I hear he has made a few friends already.
And yes, it seems I forgot Pitt-Kentucky in the BBVA Compass Bowl in my Big East-SEC post. Thanks for letting me know.
Now on to some questions.
John in Louisville writes: AA, I am curious after your latest blog about "With WVU gone," is it your opinion that if WVU had stayed they would have won the conference, despite UofL beating them last year? I realize both teams are returning a lot of players but I think UofL and RU would still be in the mix if WVU had stayed or not.
Adelson: John, I think it is reasonable to assume that a preseason Top 15 team in West Virginia would be the favorite to win the Big East. I realize Louisville beat West Virginia last year, but the Mountaineers put up 70 on Clemson in the Orange Bowl and return every key player on offense. To your other point, I have maintained since the end of the season that West Virginia, Louisville and Rutgers, would have been the three teams in the mix for the championship had the Mountaineers stayed.
Josh in Newport, Ky., writes: Andrea, Props on the blog, you are doing a great job with true unbiased reporting. Do you think that the Cincinnati Bearcats are getting an unfair shake this year? I know what your response will be and based on what the team is losing and the "knowns" about the team, I would agree. However, since the BK era and now, the team has really worked with the "next man in philosophy." I see Cincinnati at worst 6-1 in the Big East because Rutgers and USF will both be at home this year and the only true road test being UofL. Let me know your thoughts and remember hypotheticals are great!!!
Adelson: Hypotheticals are all I have for right now, until we have actual games to watch. Just don't hold them against me! The next man in philosophy works to a point. If Cincinnati was bringing back IsaiahPead, for example, I might feel better about things. But to lose the co-Big East Defensive Player of the Year; Big East Offensive Player of the Year; a guy with 100-plus tackles three straight years; oh, and the starting quarterback, raises red flags. I think Cincinnati goes bowling for sure; I just don't know about winning another Big East championship with such an inexperienced team.
Dan in Fairfield County writes: ANDREA.... are you forgetting that TENNESSEE has a home and home series with UCONN? With Tennessee going to UConn in 2015 and then UConn making the return trip to Tennessee. I know that's far out there, but how about some kudos for the Huskies scheduling.
Adelson: Kudos, UConn! Dan, you bring up a good point. I should have looked at all future schedules and included them as well. Looks like that is the only SEC series I missed for the five Big East schools that will remain in the league.
Anthony in Arlington, Va., writes: Hey AA, How does the Big East expansion effect bowl ties? Also what about 2012 bowl schedule? Aside from the BCS game there is the Champs Sports Bowl, (Notre Dame can't go again for a little while) Belk Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl, and Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl. That's six bowls for (currently) seven teams, and I highly doubt the Big East will have six teams become bowl eligible. Who would the remaining bowls go to?
Adelson: The bowl tie-ins are sure to change following the end of the 2013 season, the formal conclusion to the current BCS cycle. The current ties remain in place for the next two seasons despite realignment. If the Big East cannot fill all its slots, then the bowls would take either a school from a conference that has a backup agreement, or an at-large team, the way the Beef O'Brady's Bowl did this year.
Michael in Louisville writes: Andrea, do you think the main reason Boise State joined the Big East was because they thought it was the easiest of the AQ conferences and that they could just run over everybody in it? Do you like the fact that this was the main reason? It was definitely not because of location. Do you think they will dominate the conference, or do you think schools with improving programs like Louisville and Cincy will still be able to beat them?
Adelson: I think Boise State joined the Big East is because it is the only conference offering an invitation. It has nothing to do with competition and everything to do with more access to dollars and the BCS. The Big 12 never offered, and neither did the Pac-12, which is why the geography is off kilter. I think Boise State will certainly be one of the favorites in the league, but I don't think it's going to be a runaway. Louisville and Cincinnati laying nice foundations, and so is Rutgers.
Sam in St. Pete writes: When looking at expansion, it seems USF gets the short end of the stick in all scenarios. They can't move to a more desirable conference for competition and geography. ACC already has two schools from Florida, and the SEC would not be happy with another Florida school to compete with for recruits. If the Big East expansion doesn't work and schools start leaving again, do you see USF having to move back into a Conference USA or is there an outside chance with SEC or do they have to travel out west for the Big 12 maybe.
Adelson: I really do not see many options for USF. It probably all depends on what turn the next round of expansion takes. There is the possibility of the 16-team super conference model, so then you have to wonder which conferences will be eliminated, and who ends up getting a spot at the table. I don't see the ACC or SEC as viable options. The Big 12 might end up getting swallowed by the Pac-12 if Texas and Oklahoma finally go through with a switch there. Many have tried to link USF to the Big 12 in order for the conference to get into Florida, but I am not buying that for right now.