Chat with Andrea Adelson
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, Big East blogger Andrea Adelson stops by to chat some football.
Adelson joined ESPN.com in 2010 after spending time as a college football columnist at The Orlando Sentinel. She has covered college football since her days as a University of Florida student, and lives in Orlando, Fla.
Send your questions now and join Adelson Thursday at 4 p.m. ET!
Andrea Adelson (3:59 PM)
Hello all! Let's chat.
Andrea Adelson (4:00 PM)
First, from Doug in Tampa, who sent this into the mailbag: I say that WVU is a MUST WIN game for our conference to keep gaining respect WVU is in the top 20 and playing an unranked MD team so they better win! MD is like the ultimate trap game with with LSU next week. Also being a USF fan, I'm still not sold on all the hype yet, we have 4 of 5 conference games on the road to open the season. If we will them, then I'll think this is our year. Thoughts?
Andrea Adelson (4:02 PM)
Yes, it is a must-win game for West Virginia. I talked to a few players and they said they were not looking ahead. Honestly, they can't afford to, what with the poor starts they have had to their first two games. I am just not sure how good Maryland is. Hard to tell after 1 game vs. a depleted Miami team it had to sweat out to win. As for USF, there is nothing wrong with being cautiously optimistic. I agree that we will know more once league play begins with the 3 patsies they are playing following ND.
Paul (Boston, MA)
Does Syracuse have a chance against USC this weekend? They have been ugly in their first two games. The line is 17, but I am thinking a 34 point loss. Thoughts?
Andrea Adelson (4:03 PM)
I actually have Syracuse beating the spread in my picks. USC has been pretty awful, too. I mean Minnesota almost beat the Trojans.
JAMES BASNETT (MORGANTON NC)
HAVE BEEN AWV FAN FOR 50 YRS HOW DO YOU SEE THEM FINISHING IN THE BIG EAST THIS YEAR WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE BIG EAST OF ADDING NEW SCHOOLS TO CONF. HOW MANY AND WHO WOULD TYEY BE AFTER; THANK YOU
Andrea Adelson (4:05 PM)
Expansion 2 questions into the chat?! I have not changed my pick of WVU winning the conference. ... And as for expansion, it really all depends on what Oklahoma decides. The Big East could add leftovers from there in one of the more likely scenarios I have heard. But if Oklahoma and Texas decide to hang around the Big 12, then watch out -- the Big 12 could come for Pitt, Louisville or WVU according to a report from Andy Katz last night. http://espn.go.com/college-sports/story/_/id/6970677/big-12-schools-face-economic-impact-shuffling
Simon (Charleston wv)
With WVU ranked #18, why would Maryland be favored (by 1)? Isn't that odd to have a unranked team favored over a ranked one?
Andrea Adelson (4:06 PM)
I am a little puzzled about that myself. My guess is home-field advantage and WVU not wowing people with its victories. But I was surprised to see the line.
Drew (Touchdown City WV)
Regarding the inevitable conference re-alignment: do you see a scenario where WVU is left out completely from the super conferences? I want to say no, but I get the feeling that WVU very well could be left out. Just having the best football program in the Big East (over the last 10 years) with great fan support does not guarantee you a spot in one of the super conferences. Please prove me wrong.
Andrea Adelson (4:06 PM)
I don't see it at all, Drew. How would WVU get left out exactly?
When Charlie Strong took the Cards to bowl game he could do know wrong but when the Cards lost to FIU it was because of Kragthorpe. I want to know at what point should fans expect a new coach take ownership of the team and stop complaining about what was left from old, failed staffs?
Andrea Adelson (4:09 PM)
Interesting you say that because I did not hear anything of the sort. I heard more about the team just being young. While I understand why people would like to blame him for the players he brought in, and perhaps a lack of depth that Louisville is facing -- that really has nothing to do with what is happening this year, in my opinion.
How many new types of things (plays, formations, etc.) do we see from the WVU offense that was not unveiled in the first 2 weeks?
Andrea Adelson (4:09 PM)
I could not hazard a guess on a number, but I am sure there will be plenty. BUT I bet he still holds some back for LSU if he can win without them.
miguel m. (louisville)
Why isn't anybody giving SU much of a chance vs the Trojans? Although the Orange havn't dominated their opponents, USC has not been very impressive either. I think the offense clicks like it did in the bowl game and SU comes away with the win.
Andrea Adelson (4:11 PM)
The offense has not been in sync all year. There have been problems with the OL and the run game, though Nassib really has looked good -- but everything has been on his shoulders. I just worry about the defense even though USC has not really lit up the scoreboard. The group is young and missing some key players.
Jody (Iraq (by way of P-burg, WV))
So AA, with a solid week of practice and a firm boot to the rear-end; how do you see WVU starting the game. I think Dana will have them completely focused & ready to go...your thoughts?
Andrea Adelson (4:12 PM)
Last year WVU got off to a really fast start vs. Maryland and that made the difference in the game. I do think WVU will be more focused so the start should be faster.
T.T. (Syracuse, NY)
A.A. It seems like if Syracuse can disrupt the Barkley to Woods connection they may have a better shot at coming out of L.A. with a W. What else must they do to keep within striking distance of the Trojans?
Andrea Adelson (4:12 PM)
Definitely have to get pressure on Matt Barkley and get the ground game going.
Pitt is 2-0 with the top rusher in the nation going against a porous d-line. It seems that if Tino can just run the offense without turnovers that Pitt should be able to win. Any idea when Tino will get to that level?
Andrea Adelson (4:14 PM)
I think we are all waiting on an answer there. He says he is just inches away, but I know there have been questions about him dating back to last season. What Pitt really needs to see out of him is getting the ball out faster and hitting on some of those deep balls. Tino told me that the first 2 teams have not loaded the box, but I bet Iowa does. They do not have to be afraid of Tino beating them deep until he can prove that he can.
Jim (Middlebourne, WV)
What are your thoughts on WVU coach Holgerson not using a big back on the one yard line during the last game? I have a hard time believing one of our big fullbacks would not have scored on at least ONE of our six unsuccessful tries.
Andrea Adelson (4:15 PM)
Great question. He said he wanted to use his bigger backs with the smaller backs when the season started but has yet to do so. I wonder if it is a rhythm thing, and wanted to get his younger players more comfortable. I will ask next time I speak with him.
Do you see iowa state giving uconn a good game/ and do you think notre dame will beat michigan state ? your thoughts
Andrea Adelson (4:16 PM)
Yes I think Iowa State will give UConn a good game. Steele Jantz appears to be the real deal. I picked ND 2 weeks in a row so I think I should quite picking the Irish. They are making me look silly.
Andrea, Were you as amazed as I was how good Darrell Scott was in his 1st 2 games back. He's averaging 5 yards per carry which is an amazing clip, and at 243 lbs moves like he is 20 lbs lighter showing shift, speed, pass catching, and tremendous footwork. To me he's the second best back in Big East right behind Graham and ahead of Pead. What are your thoughts on Scott, and would you agree he shows the most pro potential out of all the Big East backs?
Andrea Adelson (4:17 PM)
I am not going to put him ahead of Pead just yet. Did you see the 65 yard TD run Pead had to start the Tennessee game? Pead has had some really nice runs this year. I am not sure I would use the word "amazed" ... I would just say I thought it was a good start. But he has got to keep it up and show everyone he can consistently get the tough yards. Obviously with his size and speed, a lot of NFL folks are going to be looking at him.
Kris (Hollidaysburg, PA)
Andrea, if you had to guess right now, how many kickoff/punt return TD's do you think Tavon Austin will have by the end of the year? I'm guessing 5 myself. In 1.75 games, he's looked like a natural at both. Great speed and evasivness.
Andrea Adelson (4:18 PM)
I am taking the under on that. He looked good, but 5 kickoff/punt returns in a season is really, really hard to do. Especially when teams start kicking away from him.
Lee (College Park, MD)
WVU has been prone to slow starts this season (Ex Norfolk State up 12-10 at half in Morgantown)...Does a slow start on the road against the Terps doom the Mounnies?
Andrea Adelson (4:19 PM)
I don't think it dooms them, but it will make things a lot harder. The good thing is that the offense can score quickly, and doesn't need a long drive to get on the board.
What does Pitt have to do this weekend against Iowa to win. Do you think coach Graham has held stuff back the first two weeks?
Andrea Adelson (4:20 PM)
Yes I think he has held things back. They need a big day out of Ray Graham; a much better day out of Tino; NO mistakes; better play from the linebackers on the underneath routes; and good pressure from the defensive line.
Both Iowa and Pittsburgh had a weekend that they would like to forget and will probably study for the rest of the season. Iowa lost to in-state rival Iowa State and Pittsburgh did not dominate Maine like they should have. Do you think both teams will be all fired up to prove they are not as bad as last week, or do you think this will be a game where 2 teams that did not live up to expectations face and the worse of the 2 loses?
Andrea Adelson (4:22 PM)
No I definitely think that both teams are going to be fired up. Todd Graham is really fired up about the way his team has not been able to click the way he wants. And I am pretty sure Iowa wants to forget about what happened last weekend. I think this is going to be a great game.
Brruuuuuuccceee!!! Is this the game where #11 really gets going this year? He has played his position with discipline through the two games but the stats don't show it. Don't forget he knocked O'Brien out of the game last year...
Andrea Adelson (4:23 PM)
He actually told me earlier this week he has not been playing as disciplined as he wants. He said he has been freestyling more late in games and he has to stop that. So, I will be eager to see him come out and try to make some more plays.
Josh (Rockville, MD)
Hey Andrea! I'm a big terps fan here in MD and I really think we have potential against Geno Smith and WVU. Danny O'Brian is looking like a real quality QB and our D is really stepping up as well (especially the secondary). How do you think the two teams stack up against each other?
Andrea Adelson (4:24 PM)
Thanks for venturing into "enemy territory" Josh! I was impressed with O'Brien vs. Miami. He had a really nice game. But WVU has a lockdown corner in Keith Tandy and Pat Miller is emerging at the other spot. WVU is the only Big East team that has not allowed a passing TD. I do think there are some good matchups, but I think WVU has the better players. Geno has been solid -- 6 TDs, zero INTs and has made a lot of things happen when there have been breakdowns with the OL.
Can the Big East, who potentially has a lot to lose, and the other AQ conferences do anything to stop the expansion madness and keep the Big 12 together and the SEC at 12 members? I'd like to see Marinato and the other commissioners propose a rule that says BCS AQ conferences can't raid other BCS AQ conferences and that no one can have more than 12 football members. Thoughts AA?
Andrea Adelson (4:26 PM)
IF only, Ryan. But clearly nobody has any power to do much of anything to stop expansion or realignment. It is every school/administrator for himself. Shoot, the NCAA has no power over college football, either (ahem bowls, BCS). I am sure Marinatto wishes there was something he could do, but there is not. Oklahoma is going to make a decision that impacts a lot of other teams. A&M is as good as gone, too.
If you had to hire any BE head coach to become the Head Football Coach at Andelson University, who would you chose? And no politically-correct answers.
Andrea Adelson (4:27 PM)
Right now I would pick Skip Holtz.
Ryan (Tampa )
Given the way the USF Bulls have been playing on both sides of the ball, how far into the schedule do they have to go before you personally begin to consider them as legitimate contenders on the national stage?
Andrea Adelson (4:28 PM)
I already consider them legitimate. They are up to No. 2 in my power rankings and ranked on my ESPN.com Top 25 ballot. Can't get more legit than that.
Andrea, what do you think is the bigger issue WVU needs to solve : the OL, the running game, or the lack of turnovers? ( And you can't say all three! No Cheating! )
Andrea Adelson (4:29 PM)
Darn. So "Yes" is not an acceptable answer. I am going to take the OL, Jay.
Greg (Raleigh, NC)
Let me preface this by saying that I am from WV, went to WVU, and I am a diehard WVU fan, but: Is it really all that suprising that Maryland is considered the favorite for their game against WVU? Home field advantage is huge in college football, especially when the matchup is against two decent AQ programs. Not to mention the fact that WVU's first two games have been mostly forgettable (being down to Norfolk State at halftime probably didn't help us in predictions). It seems to me that WVU just hasn't been as hyped for their first two games as their opponents were. I'm hoping that will change from here on out. So, what do you think?
Andrea Adelson (4:29 PM)
Well yes, those were the the reasons that I just mentioned for why Maryland is favored. But WVU is the ranked team!
You right wvu has not aloud a passing TD, but I think you should mention they haven't aloud a rushing TD as well.
Andrea Adelson (4:30 PM)
Tom (Trenton, NJ)
Which game this week (Big East vs. ACC) do you consider the most important for establishing positive momentum for the BE???
Andrea Adelson (4:31 PM)
Last I checked there was only one BE vs. ACC game this weekend, so do you want me to say West Virginia? WVU is already ranked so a win vs. Maryland I think should not come as a huge shock. Maryland is what, a mid-level ACC team? And the ACC is a mid-level conference? I want to say the answer is Pitt. The expectations are really high, and the Big Ten + Iowa are more respected nationally than Maryland ACC. In my opinion.
Rutgers needs a ton of help on blitz pick-up (among other things). With Martinek's move to fullback resulting in a pancake sack agains UNC and DC Jefferson not panning out at TE, who is going to step up to contribute there?
Andrea Adelson (4:32 PM)
Great question, and I think that is a big reason why Schiano is looking to shake up some things. What has happened to Jefferson is a total conundrum. I cannot figure out why he is just not living up to his potential.
Terps unis this weekend. Ugly? or Nauseating?
Andrea Adelson (4:33 PM)
I actually like the all black look better than what they wore vs. Miami. And Rett, you are one to talk being from Oregon! C'mon, man.
Do you think Pitt will use Gonzo at the 3 back and at quarterback?H2P!!!!
Andrea Adelson (4:33 PM)
I don't think they have plans to use him at QB.
pitt's kicker has missed multiple field goals, put kickoffs out of bounds, and last week missed an extra point. Do you think that Coach Graham will avoid using the kicker in field goal situations due to lack of confidence in special teams? Has he addressed this in any presser from what you've read?
Andrea Adelson (4:35 PM)
From what I have seen, he remains confident in Harper. But you are right he has not had a good start to the season. I am not sure he has other options in that department, though. Also, the team has been so inconsistent in scoring, I still think he would opt to get what should be a FG within range (40 yards or closer) rather than go for it. Unless it is short-yardage and he thinks he can get it with Graham or play action.
Andrea, do you think that if any of the big east teams that remain undefeated besides WVU were to run the table, would they have a shot at the NC game?
Andrea Adelson (4:36 PM)
Are you alluding to USF? I think any Big East team that runs the table would need help to get into the NC game.
JR (Beckley , WV)
I heard Dana H say today that he has not shown "quite a bit " of the playbook yet .....u think this has something to do with the slow starts or is it just poor play ? love ur blogs btw
Andrea Adelson (4:37 PM)
Thanks, JR. No I don't think not showing the playbook has anything to do with the slow starts. I give a pass for Week 1 -- new system, first game. I never expect a team to start fast right out of the gate. But last week, everybody basically said they did not take Norfolk State seriously; hence, they were not trying very hard at the start.
If Harrison starts catching the ball (what happened there?), does Rutgers need to be as ground and pound as once thought or do you think Dodd will be able to win some Big East games with his arm?
Andrea Adelson (4:38 PM)
Jay, you tell me what happened there. My No. 2 WR in the Big East. Anyway, it is hard for me to see RU as a ground and pound team right now. Everyone came down on me during the offseason for wondering how much better the OL would be. Well, clearly Schiano has his concerns and it is only Week 2. Perhaps getting Huggins the majority of the carries will help get him and the run game into a rhythm. But the fact that Schiano is considering shuffling people around is a concern for the run game and OL this season.
John (A.A. IS AWESOME)
Why is it that all the self-proclaimed experts are picking Maryland to beat WVU, is it because UM has lost the last five, or because Edsall is like 1-5 to WVU, is it because UM has played one game this season scoring just one offensive TD against a Miami team without 8 starters. Maybe I'm looking at the wrong way, maybe it's because WVU scores over 70% of the time, getting 10 touchdowns in 7 quarters, Geno throwing 7 TD's with no interceptions. Anyway, It would be cool if they experts would act like experts, it would also be nice if they understood that the fans know that politics rule in college football, and that these experts are afraid that LSU will lose to an undefeated WVU team and ruin thier expectations for the NGC, which is LSU vs OU. Experts hated it when WVU was going to BCS games and beating thier golden boy teams, and know that fear is coming back, so the haters are back as well.
Andrea Adelson (4:39 PM)
Well with that name you get your question in. I am not sure what experts you are refering to -- both me and ACC blogger HD picked WVU to win.
Do you see Pitt's struggles so far this season a product of the players not fitting Graham's scheme? What adjustments can Graham make to make Pitt a conference title contender and make a respectable showing in their grueling up coming OOC slate?
Andrea Adelson (4:43 PM)
I see it as the players not grasping the system yet. The biggest key there is Sunseri. I read an excellent blog post today from Pitt beat writer Paul Ziese in which QB coach Todd Dodge breaks down Sunseri in 3 different pass-range categories: short, intermediate and long. He is doing fine in the first two. Failing in the third. I am sure you could have guessed that, but the breakdown was still interesting to see. http://blogs.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports/pitt-redshirt-diariesAnyway, I think the team may end up relying more on Ray Graham. The problem is that the whole offense is based on timing and rhythm. If Sunseri cannot get that right, it's not as if they can scrap that and go to a pro-style set where he can take all the time off the playclock. They need to put him in positions where he can succeed. If that means not throwing the ball deep as much during games, maybe that is an answer. But they have got to get him comfortable.
Andrea Adelson (4:43 PM)
And it should be Zeise, sorry for the typo there.
DJ Shoemate (Storrs)
Do I get to play this week? Do you take the over or under on UCONN rushing for 200 yards this week?
Andrea Adelson (4:44 PM)
You tell me, DJ! Been waiting on your arrival this year. ... I am going to take the under on that, but I do think UConn will have a nice rushing day and that will help key the win. So predictable, I know.
Adam ((Alexandria, VA))
Do you think the Pitt defense will fair better against a traditional pro style offense rather than the spread style dink and dunk passing attack oriented offense they have played so far (although not quite high caliber offenses)? The pass d with the linebacker coverage seems to be the main problem along with the quick passes eliminated the pass rush from the d-line and the outside linebackers.
Andrea Adelson (4:46 PM)
I think there is a chance, though I am sure Iowa saw that on tape and will try to exploit it, which is why my matchup to watch this week was Iowa pass game vs. Pitt pass D. Iowa doesn't have bad receivers, and there are potential matchup issues there. But LB play is one area that has to be better.
Jeffery (Weirton WV)
Can Louisville turn it around this week against UK? They looked awfully awful last week.
Andrea Adelson (4:48 PM)
They did look awfully awful didn't they? I did pick UL in my upset special of the week. The one area that truly has not been good in both games is OL. I think the defense will get some of those communication problems fixed up that burned them vs. FIU. UK does not have a TY Hilton last I checked and the pass O is not great. If UL can get better play out of the OL and stop turning the ball over, the Cardinals have a great shot. Let's be honest, UK has not looked like world beaters, either.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but Holgorsen's offenses typically score more of their points as the game goes on. (He makes excellent in-game adjustments) Isn't this something we should expect throughout the year?
Andrea Adelson (4:49 PM)
Certainly, but I also think everybody wants to see them play well the entire stretch of the game, including DH.
Ritchie T (Mims,Fl)
How do you justify still picking WV to win the conference ? I mean really - down to Nolfolk St 12-10 at half time ? Needing their ones the whole game to run up the score. Add in the first game which was nothing to write home about ?
Andrea Adelson (4:49 PM)
Ritchie ... It is Week 3. I am going to give it some more time before I radically change projections.
This is obviously your first year doing the big east. So, I will let you know that we hate the ACC more than any other conference. They have poached our teams and they are over rated. So I think the West Virgina vs. Maryland is the biggest game this week. If we lose it would SUCK!!! West Virgina has been the poster boy for the be since 2005. Not to mention they stole there coach from us. So you are wrong about Pitt vs. Iowa St. Want to change your game of the week video?
Andrea Adelson (4:50 PM)
Not really. Game of the week means what I think will be the best, most competitive game. I don't think Md-WVU fits that category.
Who's been the best pass catching tight end in the Big East this year?
Andrea Adelson (4:51 PM)
Jeffery (Weirton WV)
Is the WVU vs USF game in December going to be the de-facto championship game for the Big East?
Andrea Adelson (4:51 PM)
Could be. I have been saying that for a while now, much to the dismay of a lot of fans.
How come BJ has looked like one of the best quarterbacks in the country so far? I and a lot of Bull fans did not see that coming. Nobody could have seen coming him setting a top 5 passing record in any of his 1st games going into the season.
Andrea Adelson (4:54 PM)
OK I think we need to step back for a sec there. BJ has looked good ... but those yards came vs. Ball State. If memory serves, USF had 1 offensive TD drive vs. ND, right? That being said, he does look better than last year, more comfortable and confident and has limited his mistakes. Maybe you guys did not see it coming, but I did have him as one of my preseason Top 25 Big East players -- something USF fans ripped me for a few weeks ago.
Johnny B (North Bergen, NJ)
AA: What University has the most fans on this board, what University has the least during your week in week out working on this stage?
Andrea Adelson (4:55 PM)
Most: WVU. Least: Cincinnati. I rarely get questions about Cincinnati. Not one today, by the way.
Andrea, do you ever ask a head coach a tough question when you know the question is likely to aggravate the coach, and for him to be less likely to respond to you in the future? I would guess that a question surrounding the coaching abilities and schemes of a coach for the Cincinnati defense might be the type of question I am speaking of???
Andrea Adelson (4:56 PM)
A Cincinnati question! Speak of the devil. So what you are saying is you want me to ask Butch Jones why on earth Tim Banks is coordinating the defense, right?
Matt (Louisville, KY)
Will Louisville ever develop a true offense? The first two games the majority of the offense is Stein scrambling for his life and hoping the receivers can make a play to get open or catch a jumpball. 95% seems related to the O-line and I don't think Mario alone can make that big of a difference.
Andrea Adelson (4:58 PM)
You might be right about that, Matt. But I have to think Mario coming back will help a little. Because he is their best, most experienced player. This is a team that relies so much on the run but cannot run right now, and a lot of that is because of the OL. I think UL is going to continue to try to establish Vic and Wright ... but you cannot really blame them for holding Bridgewater back. They would be much worse off with a true freshman playing QB when got no help from the OL.
Is USF the best team in Florida this year?? We all know the Gators are over rated this year and will lose atleast 3 (blown out by lsu and fsu)
Andrea Adelson (4:59 PM)
Last I checked, Florida State was still in Florida, right?
AA, I swear I'll look the other way when you replace Harrison at no. 2 with Sanu.It's ok, you can go back and edit it, I won't tell ;-)
Andrea Adelson (5:00 PM)
Ha! OK thanks, Jay. You are the best.
Andrea Adelson (the future)
I'm contacting you from the future to warn you of the calamity ahead. The landscape of college football is an utter mess---the SEC, Big 10, and Pac 16 and the Longhorns run this money centered cartel. The Big East remains marginalized even after adding Big 12 orphans. WVU and Pitt have left for better conferences. Travel is a nightmare in this nonsensical league. Please don't let this happen--stop the insanity!
Andrea Adelson (5:00 PM)
Future Andrea ... What can we do to stop the madness????? Don't you have the answer like Marty McFly?
JR (Beckley WV)
i personally think this weekends games with big east teams are huge for RESPECT...we have got to win some of these non-conference games against AQ conf and on the road would even be better ...
Andrea Adelson (5:01 PM)
Andrea Adelson (5:01 PM)
OK guys and gals, thanks for joining me today. See you again next week and enjoy the games.