Big East mailblog

Welcome to your final mailbag of the week. Keep your questions and comments coming.

Kevin R. in Washington, D.C., writes: Hey Andrea, great work on the blog. I just watched your video about the impact player for Rutgers, and I had some thoughts regarding your choice in David Osei. I agree that the offensive line is the key to RU having a successful season, but is center the most important position on the line for this team? I think left tackle is important to protect Chas Dodd's blind side, but I also believe that a good offensive guard is key for opening up holes for the running game, which should be a staple for (Frank) Cignetti's offense.

Andrea Adelson: Perhaps I should have listed all the projected starters on the offensive line? I kid, I kid. I do agree left tackle is an important spot, and Andre Civil should be improved there this season. Guard play is obviously important for the run game. But I picked Osei for a few reasons. First, the center is the one who is essentially in charge of the line, making sure the offense gets the right calls and protections. Second, Rutgers really was high on junior college transfer Dallas Hendrickson. But even before he went down with an injury, Osei was making some noise. In fact, he was one of the top performers on the line in the spring. So that explains a little bit more why I chose him.

Dan H. in Cincinnati writes: Hi Andrea, I just graduated from UC and was in an organization that handled portions of the student fee. While the athletic department isn't paid directly from the student fee, students pay a portion of their student fee for the right to go to any sporting event for free (some students do purchase the right to student season football tickets for an additional $5 per game). So indirectly, the student fee goes to the athletic department. Thanks for doing a great job with the Big East blog. Keep it up!

Adelson writes: Thank you for the clarification. UC lists student fee contributions to the actual athletic department as $0 on its financial report to the NCAA, hence the numbers in my chart.

Bearcatvol in Dalton, Ohio, writes: Andrea, In 2012, Cincinnati was scheduled to open the season against San Diego State at home in Nippert Stadium. But I just saw this article that says SDSU is now opening against Washington on opening weekend. Do you know what this means for UC's schedule and who might replace that now big hole in it?

Adelson writes: The San Diego State game will now be played on Sept. 24, 2016. And you are right -- there is a big hole in the schedule. I contacted Cincinnati, and the school said it has yet to find a replacement team. Stay tuned.

Casey in Knoxville, Tenn., writes: Hey Andrea, Big Wake Forest/Tennessee fan here...grew up in Winston-Salem, my dad played football for the Deacs....graduated from Tennessee in 2005. I don't pay too much attention to the Big East as neither Wake or Tennessee have a whole lot of history against the conference, outside of a few bowl games. That said, Wake opens at Syracuse and Tennessee's second game is at home against Cincinnati. I was trying to find some preseason rankings for the Big East, but couldn't find anything that seemed credible. Where are Syracuse and Cincinnati expected to end up this year? What are your predictions for those two games? I think Wake may have their hands full, but they have to better than 2010's Demon Deacons...they were atrocious and I don't think Jim Grobe will stand for another year like last season. As for Tennessee, I think they should win that game in Neyland Stadium vs. Cincinnati...but we are so young again that no one really knows what the Vols are going to look like. What are your thoughts?

Adelson writes: I have a few early thoughts but am going to wait a bit longer on predictions. Whimpy, right? The Wake Forest game should be an interesting one. If I am the Deacs, I game plan to try to exploit weaknesses in the middle of the defensive line and at linebacker. That means perhaps trying to pound Josh Harris up the middle. The secondary is the strongest part of the Syracuse defense, so grinding it out may be Wake's best chance at winning. On offense, Syracuse has a new running back but quite a solid offensive line and some talent at receiver. Watch for the Orange to try and get some big plays going in the pass game, because this is an area that they have worked on this summer. As for Cincinnati, this one is going to be a hard game to call for me. Tennessee has so many questions this year. I am projecting another so-so season for the Vols. Cincinnati should be much improved. The Vols are going to have to watch for a balanced, explosive offensive attack from the Bearcats, featuring one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Zach Collaros, one of the best running backs in Isaiah Pead and some solid receivers. Cincinnati had the worst defense in the Big East last year, so if Tennessee can exploit that -- especially against a shaky secondary -- the Vols will win. Note to the Vols: Make sure to avoid linebacker J.K. Schaffer.