Big East mailblog: Lots o' love

You love me! You really love me! Well, for this week, anyway.

I will let Dave in Crescent Springs, Ky., speak for all of those who wrote in with such kind words about my column on the state of the Big East earlier this week. ...

Dave writes: Good afternoon Andrea, I just want to thank you for your great coverage of the Big East as well as for your article pointing out the facts pertaining to Big East football. Big East football gets trashed by everyone even though it stacks up pretty well against the other five "power" conferences. The Big East has always been at least equal to the ACC in football. If it wasn't, then why has the ACC raided the Big East twice in less than a decade? And they can have Pitt and Syracuse. Neither of those two have exactly been world beaters the last 15 years or so. Anyway, thanks again for your outstanding coverage. I really enjoyed your latest article about how the Big East is still 'alive and kicking.'

Andrea Adelson: It had to be said, and I thank you all for your overwhelming response.

Rob in Atlanta writes: Do you think Rutgers can break or go as high as the Top 10 in the polls? If not, where do you see them ending up this season?

Adelson: It is so hard to predict where teams are going to end up, because it is largely predicated on what happens ahead of them. I cannot predict what will happen with the 21 teams ranked ahead of Rutgers at this point. If Rutgers can start 9-0, then certainly this team will be in a great poll position for its final three-game stretch. But it's too hard to say what will happen with everyone else.

Jeff Lowman in Vine Grove, Ky., writes: Your article on Big East football was outstanding. What are your thoughts on Charlie Strong staying in Louisville? Yesterday on the Rome show he said he is not leaving. He asked players to come play for him and this university, so he's not going to leave them. "I'm not cut like that" was his remark. I want to believe him, but didn't Brian Kelly tell Cincinnati fans the same thing four years ago? Then there's Bobby Petrino....GO CARDS! GO ANDREA, my new favorite sports writer.

Adelson: Coaches are always put into tough positions when they are asked those questions. No coach is ever going to say, "Yeah, I'd go after that job!" Every coach will reaffirm his commitment to his school. When they leave, they get called to the carpet for it. Strong is not in the same category as Petrino, who was actively meeting with other schools while still coaching at Louisville. So bite your tongue for saying that. I do believe Strong feels an intense sense of loyalty to Louisville and Tom Jurich for giving him his first head coaching opportunity. I believed everything he said in that interview. Does that mean he is staying? I cannot sit here and predict the future. But I do think the Cards have a shot at hanging onto him for a good, long while.

Dr. Bob in Union, Ky., writes: Were you surprised that UC was not ranked in the AP Top 25 after their win over Virginia Tech? I know the Big East gets little to no respect from the media, but UC gets even less. Last I checked, we are Big East champs 3 of the last 4 years.

Adelson: I was very surprised, Bob. In fact, I sent an email to the Big East communications office Saturday night asking for the last time three Big East teams were ranked, fully expecting to write that story Sunday morning.

Anthony in Arlington, Va., writes: Why is everyone so high on Cincinnati right now? Looking at their wins, I am not impressed. They beat a Pitt team that had just come off a loss to an FCS school, they looked terrible against their own FCS opponent Delaware State, and they needed a Hail Mary against a mediocre Virginia Tech team. So why is everyone so impressed?

Adelson: First of all, Cincinnati is 3-0, and not many people predicted that at the start of the season. Second of all, the defense has been pretty terrific in all three games. Third of all, it has been great to see the emergence of guys like Ralph David Abernathy IV and Kenbrell Thompkins and Damon Julian for that matter. Cincinnati led for big chunks of that game, too, so it's not as if the Hail Mary at the end erased a terrible performance.

George in New Jersey writes: Were Skip Holtz and his coaches USF's own worse enemy with two highly questionable coaching decisions against Florida State? 1) With about a minute to go in the half and in their own end of the field, USF ran a passing play only to have it intercepted and Florida State kicked a field goal. 2) Later in the second half, with the outcome still in doubt, USF ran a passing play with their back up QB when he came in on an emergency basis for B.J. Daniels who had to leave the field for one play. That resulted in a Florida State fumble recovery for a touchdown. USF was never the same after that play. Do you agree that the offensive coordinator or head coach, or both made unnecessarily risky and very costly mistakes?

Adelson: I thought the play with Matt Floyd in the game was much more questionable than the first play you mentioned. I have no problem with USF trying to get into field goal range with a pass there. With 1:09 to go and the ball at the 30, it is reasonable to conclude your team can run a 2-minute drill to get down to the FSU 30. The second one, though, made absolutely no sense. I don't know about you, but I would not have my quarterback coming in off the sideline cold attempt to throw a pass right out of the gate. I understand it was third and long, but the more prudent decision would have been to just hand off and punt.

Jay in Rutgers writes: I'm getting married Friday and then me, the new wife, and my groomsmen are going to the Rutgers/UConn game on Saturday. This may be the best weekend ever, especially if it ends with the Knights going 5-0!

Adelson: Best wishes for a happy life and happy weekend, my friend!