Before I begin, thank you to all you wonderful readers out there for keeping me on my toes. In my Monday column on Louisville, I had a typo calling Cincinnati and Louisville in-state rivals. I meant to write cross-state. Geography was never my strong point, but that was just a boneheaded mistake.
Now let us open up the mailbag.
John in Louisville writes: Honestly, I like Butch Jones, the man has guts and heart. On to my question: with U of L 8-0, what do you think the chances are now that they go undefeated? How negative to the national perception of the Big East would it be if they went into the Rutgers game (with both undefeated in league play) and lost?
Andrea Adelson: Considering I have Louisville playing in the Orange Bowl, I like the Cardinals' chances. But I do not think there are any guarantees, particularly with the way Louisville has played. Louisville is not a dominant team right now that can shut its opponents down, so I would like to see that develop in the final stretch before I make iron-clad guarantees about this team running the table. I think Louisville still remains vulnerable. As for the national perception, if Rutgers goes into that game with a loss, I think there is a good chance the Scarlet Knights will be ranked. I think it would be much worse for the Big East if Louisville loses to Temple or UConn, to be honest. Folks out there know Rutgers is a good team and has the home-field advantage as well.
Aaron in Cincinnati writes: All right Andrea, I have to say, my Bearcats showed a lot of heart in Friday's game, and I honestly had ZERO faith that we would score that game tying TD. But it really shouldn't have gotten to overtime. Everyone wants to talk about Munchie's three interceptions, but seem to forget about the (Travis) Kelce drop on third down when it was 24-24 with 2:30 left and the Bearcats had some decent momentum. All we had to do after that was pretty much run the clock down and get in decent field goal range (the 46-yard attempt never had a chance with that wind). Not that I don't think Munchie shouldn't bear a lot of the blame, but that drop was the turning point in my mind.
Adelson: Aaron, there is no question that was a huge play in the game. But I don't think you can pin one drop on the fortunes of the team, as painful as the play appears to have been. We can only guess as to what would have happened had he made that catch. The secondary should have never allowed Louisville to score the go-ahead touchdown. Legaux should have never thrown the ball into the end zone in overtime, either.
Jim in Freeport, Pa., writes: How does Notre Dame now being a winner affect Big East bowls, in general?
Adelson: No impact, Jim. The Big East has a guaranteed spot in a BCS game. As for the other bowls, Notre Dame already took a Big East bowl spot last year.
Adelson: It is not life threatening, Jim. He has a back injury and continuing with football could put him at risk for further damage to his spine.
Rusty in Raleigh writes: I've watched South Florida play against Florida State and Louisville this year and they seem to have as much or more talent than them, but they seem to always lose. Why can't the Bulls win?
Adelson: It is one of those great mysteries in life. The bottom line is this team just does not have a killer instinct in the fourth quarter. USF has lost all manner of heartbreakers going back two years now. They have big leads and blow them. They come back from deficits to take a late lead, only to blow them. USF pulled out a close one at Nevada early in the year, and many thought the luck was finally turning. But there has only been misery since that victory. Until the Bulls can put teams away, it feels as if they are in an endless cycle of heartache.
Lawrence Bisig in Louisville writes: If Louisville runs the table, but loses to Rutgers in the final week, and Rutgers wins the automatic bid, assuming a few more top 10 teams will go down. Could a one-loss Louisville team earn an at large bid?
Adelson: I am going to say the chances would be remote. In order to earn an at-large bid, you have to finish in the Top 14 of the final BCS standings, and then be attractive enough to be taken as a second team from your conference. Also remember there may not be many slots available. Notre Dame gets an automatic berth if it finishes in the Top 8 of the final BCS standings; and Boise State would get an automatic berth if it finishes in the Top 12. Right now, Notre Dame is No. 3 and Boise State is No. 19. Just keep an eye on them.