Let's make the first mailbag of 2013 a good one!
Zain in Tampa writes: You are so totally right-what could have been for the Big East? It's a shame that the Big East may well not exist in a few years. But I hope this provides some validation for the conference. You can call it a revenge of the Big East of sorts. Every game was competitive this year. It has to be embarrassing for the Gators that they were less competitive against the Cardinals than USF, a three-win team that is most certainly down the pecking order in Florida behind UF, Miami, and FSU. Here's to Pitt delivering one last butt-whipping for the Big East!
Andrea Adelson: I think Gators fans are hiding their heads in shame even still today. The players should be after that performance. I have a nifty did you know. According to ESPN Stats & Information, The Panthers are unbeaten in their past eight matchups against SEC opponents (6-0-2) and haven’t lost to an SEC team since Dec. 29, 1956 against Georgia Tech in the Gator Bowl.
Donald Hensley in Louisville writes: I am saddened by the demise of the Big East. I am happy the Cards are heading to the ACC; but think things could be so different. Your article about football in the Big East was right on; but the conference leadership failed them. If the Big East leaders would have made efforts to expand the conference by making overtures to some of the teams from the Big 12 two years ago when that conference seemed to be falling apart; I think things could be completely different. But it did not happen.Good article. I am a big Card fan and appreciated our time in the Big East; everything for UL improved since being in the Big East. Too bad the Big East did not keep up with the changing times.
Adelson: I think the problems started long before two years ago. Back then, the demise of the Big East also appeared evident. A lack of vision and truly embracing the rising power of football back in the 1990s had a bigger role in all of this, I believe.
John in Trenton, N.J., writes: Louisville was beaten by U Conn by three, won over Cincinnati and Rutgers by only three in the Big East. Then destroys the No. 3 Gators. Maybe the BE deserves a little more respect? SEC - LOL.
Adelson: This is your week, Big East fans. Enjoy it. And LOL all you want.
Justin in Cincinnati writes: Andrea, Happy New Year from Cincinnati. I have two questions for you. With Louisville's dominating performance in the Sugar Bowl, do you think this helps the Big East reputation, or will it only hurt us as another top Big East team is leaving? What do you think about the Big East keeping its name. I would argue that they should keep it because even though the Big East lost about all of its reputation, it still has more than a new conference would and I would also think that the remaining members would not want to help out the leaving members.
Adelson: First question -- I think it is a little bit of both, the way it was last year with West Virginia. I am not sure how much it changes the perception of the conference moving forward, because it is going to look so different next year and the year after that. But I do think the league deserves credit for hanging tough. As for your second question, I think the Big East name should go with the basketball schools and the football members should get a new name, to break free and start fresh. I think the Big East name serves as a constant reminder of what used to be. A new name will help re-branding and marketing efforts and maybe get people to stop talking about the past.
King Louis in Louisville writes: "Allstate Sugar Bowl Louisville vs. Florida, Jan. 2, 8:30 p.m., ESPN. This is not exactly the matchup many people hoped for, but Louisville got into the BCS fair and square and earned this opportunity to take on one of the best teams from the SEC. Now we will see whether the Cardinals can be competitive and potentially pull off the upset. . . The Gators are far superior on defense, particularly up front, and I think will harass Teddy Bridgewater with the same intensity as UConn, perhaps even more. While the Florida offense has looked as pretty as a broken down Chevette, I think the Gators will be able to run on Louisville. The Cards will keep it close early, but Florida will run away in the end. Florida 30, Louisville 17. Matt's pick: Florida 17, Louisville 14." Thoughts?
Adelson: My evildoer twin wrote that. I will have to find out how she got onto my computer. In all seriousness, I was wrong. Congratulations to Louisville for shocking me and just about everyone.
Tom in Philadelphia writes: Rutgers head football coach Kyle Food must be fired. He disgraced and dishonored the state of Rutgers. More importantly, he betrayed his team and ruined the dream and seared to memory the nightmare of an inexcusable loss to Virginia Tech in the Russell Athletic Bowl. A head coach must rely on all resources and reserves to earn a win. Blind loyalty and co-dependency to a lackluster quarterback is inexplicable and inexcusable. Kent State loss was cause for alarm with Gary Nova's 6 interceptions. Followed by losses to Pitt and then a horrific showing against a hobbled, yet, valiant Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. No super Nova, Gary Nova says he is still confident (no cocky) and has earned the right to be the starter. He could have and should have been benched. Greg Schiano would have had the will and found the way to get Rutgers to the BCS game and claim the Big East title. Coach Flood robbed his stout/stellar defense of the victory they so much deserved. He robbed Rutgers its' bowl streak, a bowl win, a Big East title and a BCS berth. I am ashamed of the Rutgers coach and feel embarrassed and I can no longer support the Rutgers' football team until the coach is replaced.
Adelson: Tom, take a deep breath and step away from your keyboard. Surely you are not suggesting Rutgers fire its head coach after its FIRST-EVER Big East title and Co-Big East Coach of the Year honors. I must have completely misunderstood this letter. Because, quite frankly, your idea is preposterous. While I completely agree that he did not handle the quarterback situation properly and should have benched Nova in the bowl game, you are suffering from a case of amnesia if you think it is an absolute certainty that Schiano would have done better. He blew two chances to win a Big East title in his Rutgers career, including one last season. He was notorious for changing quarterbacks on a whim, decisions that were misguided at times. And though he worked wonders for the program, he did have this reputation for choking with big games on the line. Was it a disappointing end to the season for Rutgers? Yes. Should Flood be fired? NO.