Big East mailbag

Hopefully I'll be munching on a pierogi somewhere by the time you read this. Which is to say, I'm in Pittsburgh today checking out the Panthers. Plenty to come on that, but for now here are some responses to your e-mails:

Robert G. from Louisville writes: Terrific story on Charlie Strong. Now for the big question. How does Louisville keep him if/when he becomes successful? As is the dilemma for all Big East schools and their fan base, it becomes quite discouraging as coaches are given opportunities to show their skills, lay down some stats to fill their résumés and leave at the first opportunity (i.e. Bobby Petrino, Rich Rodriguez, Brian Kelly). It's tough on a fan to root your team to success knowing it will only lead to future change.

Brian Bennett: There's little doubt in my mind that Strong will get Louisville rolling again. And there's also little doubt that some big-time programs, probably from the SEC, will come calling when he does so. Who knows how long Urban Meyer will last at Strong's former employer in Gainesville, for example.

But there are two things to consider here: One is that Strong may feel so loyal and grateful to Louisville for offering him his first head coaching job that he'll want to stick around a while. Secondly, any coach who does great work is going to be targeted for other jobs, except at the very highest levels (and then even those guys will be talked about for NFL jobs). That's the nature of the business, but it's a tradeoff worth signing up for. I ask you this: would you rather have the perpetually job-seeking Bobby Petrino and his 41-9 record or Steve Kragthorpe pledging to stay forever and then going 15-21? I think we all know the answer to that.

Anthony M. from The 513 writes: It's assumed that Zach Collaros is the best quarterback in the Big East. But between the graduations of Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, and Dan LeFevour, and the suspension of Jeremiah Masoli, is it possible that he is the best QB in the country?

Brian Bennett: I appreciate your enthusiasm there, Anthony, but slow down just a bit. Collaros has had four starts in his career. They were very good ones, of course, some record-breaking ones, but it's still just four starts. Let the guy prove himself a little bit more before we start throwing those kinds of labels around. I do think, though, he should have an excellent year for Butch Jones.

George from Raleigh, N.C., writes: One thing you learned from last year is not to pick a team to win the conference without an experienced quarterback, no matter how good the offensive line should be. Looking at the experience level this year in the conference at QB, which is pretty minimal, how would you go about judging which team might have the strongest case for Big East champs?

Brian Bennett: Actually, I don't think quarterback inexperience cost Rutgers last year. Tom Savage played pretty well, all things considered. It was that offensive line, which performed woefully under expectations, and a lack of playmakers that really did the Scarlet Knights in.

I may very well pick another team with a first-time starting quarterback -- Pitt -- to win the Big East. The one thing I'll do differently this time around is trust my eyes and ears instead of getting caught up in scheduling advantages and returning starter numbers. Cincinnati and Pitt looked absolutely terrific in practice last year, while reports from Rutgers were mixed at best. That's why I'm anxious to see the Panthers up close this week, as well as West Virginia on Wednesday.

Chan from Boston writes: I was wondering what it would take to get UConn and Boston College to play? Obviously BC will not schedule the game because "BC has nothing to gain by playing UConn," according to the high-horse BC guys. What would it take for the two schools to get into the Meineke Car Care Bowl? It seems this would be the only way. Also do you think this could happen this year and would BC accept?

Brian Bennett: It's probably going to take significant changes in the administration at both schools and perhaps some time, because that series ain't happening for a while. They could conceivably meet in Charlotte, but I don't think that will happen because Boston College has a notoriously small traveling fan base and UConn isn't exactly known for bringing hordes of fans either. The soon-to-be-renamed Meineke game has a lot of seats to fill and would not want that matchup.

Josh from Harrisburg, Pa., writes: Fun Fact -- Pat White played 41 of 58 snaps, or 70.6%, on offense for WVU in the 2007 Backyard Brawl (13-9). You can explain to the WVU fan that you did not drop the ball. Pitt held the ball for all but three plays in the third quarter, which was a big reason that White didn't miss plays. Perhaps they would have gotten more plays if he had been able to play in the third, but the fact remains he played a large majority of the game.

Brian Bennett: I don't want to minimize White's injury in that game, but as I said, I don't think West Virginia was winning that night regardless. And the game sure wasn't going to change because of White's passing ability.