Welcome to your second Big East mailbag of the week. Thanks to all for writing in. For those who keep asking, my picture has been changed on the college football blog network section. If you are still seeing Brian, clear out your old cache files and then Voila! I shall appear.
Here we go.
Ryan in Zanesville, Ohio, writes: At the end of this week's chat you brought up finding a rival for TCU. USF lacks a true rival, too (unless UCF gets in the league) so I think they should have a Thanksgiving weekend matchup. They should have an epic rivalry trophy, too: The Bull Frog -- A green and purple bullfrog sculpture with a set of horns from a Texas longhorn affixed to its head. This would honor the mascots of both schools as USF is the Bulls and incorporates horns in their logo and TCU is the Horned Frogs and the longhorn is a Texas icon.
Andrea Adelson: This would go down as an instant classic, along with the Old Oaken Bucket, the Fremont Cannon and the Golden Egg Trophy. Although TCU would take issue with longhorns being used. How about regular horns instead?
Victor in NYC writes: With Syracuse's o-line mostly intact and with the emergence of the passing game (see Pinstripe Bowl), can Antwon Bailey be the Big East player of the Year?
Andrea Adelson: There are a lot of players I would rank ahead of him for that award, including two other running backs in Isaiah Pead and Ray Graham and quarterbacks Geno Smith, Zach Collaros. Now having said that, I think Bailey has a chance for a good year. The question is whether or not he will have a complimentary player, the way he complimented Delone Carter last season.
Bob Woolley in Delray Beach, Fla., writes: Do you get the sense that the current state of the Rutgers football program is on the verge of sliding backwards and is closer to becoming a bottom feeder once again? Also it seems Coach (Greg) Schiano has a reputation lately of being very stubborn to a fault, and may be very difficult to work for. To me if your coaches leave quicker than your players, you are going to have major problems.
Andrea Adelson: I think this is a critical year. I am willing to chalk up what happened last season to a variety of factors: no identity on offense and a tragedy that affected the entire team. Rutgers has plenty of talent at the skill positions and on defense to be competitive this season. I think the hiring of Frank Cignetti was a good move. With that hire, Schiano basically admitted he needed to get back to the old way of doing business. So I am not going to buy the stubborn argument. He is going back to what he knows best and that is a pro-style offense. If losing seasons become a trend, then you have an argument. But not just yet.
Dan Leon in Louisville writes: Since stadium size has been an issue for Villanova in terms of moving up to FBS, and I know the Wildcats are pushing for PPL Park as a home, but has playing home games at Citizens Bank Park been considered?
Andrea Adelson: No. PPL Park would appear to be the best option.
Jerry in Indianapolis writes: I have a conference and a football question for you. First question pertains to the conference as a whole and their future TV deal. I would like to have somebody from the Big East offices explain how the Big East can continue to give money to schools that bring nothing in return. I'm speaking of four basketball schools -- DePaul, Providence, Seton Hall, and to a lesser degree -- Marquette. To continue to give these schools a slice of the pie (albeit a smaller one) does not help maximize the other teams' potential TV cash. Second question is a Pittsburgh recruitment question. While a lot of schools are getting verbals commitments, Pittsburgh has not gotten one verbal. When is Graham going to work his charm and get some recruits?
Andrea Adelson: Two of those basketball schools you mentioned, Providence and Seton Hall, are founding members of the Big East. So I think it is going to be pretty difficult to give them the heave ho. Let's not forget this is a league that prides itself on its basketball heritage. I know there are those who believe the league should dump four basketball schools so it can get up to 12 for football, but I am not sure I see that happening. The tug of basketball is strong. Now, if the league has a plan to expand to 12 that would guarantee Pac-12 type money to each school, perhaps that might change the equation. But I am not sure there are three teams the Big East can add to get each school $20 million a piece on a new TV deal. Are people going to tune in to watch East Carolina vs. USF? As for Pittsburgh, I would not worry too much about having zero commitments yet. The Panthers are in the running for several ESPNU150 players and are trying to make inroads into the state of Texas. More on that next week.