Get your weekend started the right way -- with a glance into the Big East mailbag.
Wallace in Coronado, Calif., writes: What does Cincinnati have to do to earn respect? Four out of the past five years, 10-plus wins. Same goes with Big East champs, but yet again in the early Top 25, they get snubbed? When is this trend going to change for them?
Andrea Adelson: Ah yes, the monthly question asking when Cincinnati will get some respect. I am not a voter in the AP poll, so let me say that. Here is my guess as to why Cincinnati continually gets snubbed. First: 10-win seasons in the Big East and co-Big East champions do not set national hearts a flutter. Not when said championships are shared with 7-6 and 8-5 teams. Second: Cincinnati last won a marquee nonconference game ... when? Two BCS appearances, two losses. To me, those are the two perceptions the Bearcats have to fight in the minds of the voters.
Michael Schneider in Dayton, Ohio, writes: How is it that Michigan, who finished 8-5, is ranked in the Top 25 and Syracuse finished with the same record and did not even receive votes on any polls? I know their season started out kind of rough, but they had a difficult strength of schedule and finished the year very strong, including a good old fashioned butt whoopin' of Louisville, which beat up on No. 3 Florida and a strong bowl victory against an old rival. I'm not saying they were one of the top schools in the country, but it's kind of a slap in the face to the program to not get any Top 25 consideration considering how they finished the season. Also, love the blog. Keep it up. :-)
Adelson: Thank you, Michael. There is no good explanation for Michigan finishing the season ranked in the AP Top 25. None. Shame on the AP voters. I actually think it is more of a slap in the face to Cincinnati, which won 10 games. Syracuse ended the year playing some of the best football in the country. But an 8-5 record in the Big East is going to earn you zero votes every single time.
Rob Hughes in Sarasota, Fla., writes: Andrea -Excellent job - I am a Cardinal fan and can tell you that 2013 will be even better than 2012 as evidenced by the resounding victory over Florida. We could have been very competitive with Alabama and probably won. Thanks for your vote of confidence.
Adelson: Thank you, Rob. I think Louisville would have been much more competitive against Alabama than Notre Dame, that is for sure. Teddy Bridgewater would have been able to take advantage of the one weakness that team has -- in the secondary. But ultimately, I think Bama would have won. The Tide have much more talent on offense than the Gators.
James Howes in Louisville writes: I just read your comments about Teddy Bridgewater that you made prior to the Sugar Bowl game and I was astounded. Every point was right on. Your perception of this young man and his ability is really uncanny. I don't think I read anything from anyone, anywhere, nearly as accurate as your forecast of Teddy Bridgewater and the Louisville Cardinals. And yes, Teddy did have a big game, there was a huge upset, and Teddy will be on everybody's Heisman list.
Adelson: Lots of love for today, thank you! Too bad I picked Louisville to lose. Then I would have been 100 percent accurate.
Matt in Plainsboro, N.J., writes: AA, There has been a lot of talk about how Gary Nova regressed in the second half of the season. Looking back at the final games, specifically the bowl, I cannot fault Nova, only Kyle Flood. On EVERY play, Virginia Tech was in the backfield as soon as the ball was snapped. Yet Rutgers continued to run and pass out of single back sets. Not once did I see a fullback to lead block on a running play, and not once did I see the running back stay in to pass protect on a passing play. It doesn't matter if you have Joe Montana or a pee wee back there, with no time, you cannot win and the quarterback cannot be effective. This is on Flood for not adjusting to what the Virginia Tech defense was doing. Coaching and play calling allows talent to show, not the other way around.
Adelson: Well, it is on offensive coordinator Dave Brock, too. But as the head coach, Flood bears the brunt of the responsibility. The bottom line is the entire offense failed miserably in that game, and the coaching staff failed, too. The offensive line looked bad, the backs looked bad, the receivers looked bad. What's worse, Rutgers had a month to prepare and then failed to make necessary in-game adjustments. I know there are a lot of Rutgers fans already antsy, but this was his first year ever as a head coach. Let's see what Year 2 has in store.
Terry Martin in Cincinnati writes: You had a story that gave all the glory to the ACC after Louisville's bowl victory. Where is the story about Pitt's loss and who gets that glory? Be consistent. I'm sure you would put a negative slant on the game toward the Big East or ignore it totally. You lack credibility!
Adelson: I was wondering where the critics were! I guess you missed this column, Terry. And you may want to re-read that post I wrote on the ACC and Louisville. That post did not give all glory to the ACC. It merely stated the ACC wins in the Maryland-for-Louisville trade.