Random thoughts going into the Big East media day in Newport, R.I. ...
Call it the Mountain West – East. The question is why the Big East deserves an automatic BCS bid and the Mountain West doesn’t.
I can’t think of one good reason, especially this year. The Mountain West goes three teams deep (TCU, BYU, Utah). The Big East might not have a ranked team this season. After distinguishing itself after the ACC raid, the Big East, at least this season, is the Big Least.
It’s wide open. Five teams have a legitimate shot at winning the league – West Virginia, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and South Florida.
That’s good for those schools, bad for the league as a whole. The Big East doesn’t have a big dog that will make a national splash. Every team has holes. Rutgers lost its quarterback and best receivers. Pittsburgh lost its top tackler and rusher. Pat White and the buzz is gone from West Virginia.
Greg Paulus will play quarterback for Syracuse ... at some point and it will make total sense. When the former Duke guard began shopping himself and when Syracuse bit, it seemed like a joke. I mean, what was next Mike Krzyzewski drawing up plays for David Cutcliffe?
Then I started thinking: Syracuse is its absolute bottom. It’s probably going to finish last again in the Big East. Paulus is a good athlete, although isn’t about time we quit slobbering over his high school quarterback exploits?
It comes down to a what-the-heck thing? Syracuse can’t do any worse. The Orange’s offense is terrible. Let’s see what Paulus can do.
These schools need to break through. Rutgers, South Florida and Pittsburgh.
Remember 2006 when Rutgers was on the cusp of a BCS bowl? It is 18-12 since beating Louisville that year. South Florida rose to No. 2 a couple of years ago but have developed a nasty habit for disappointing. The Bulls are undefeated in the past two Septembers, 7-8 the rest of the way.
Dave Wannstedt won nine games a year ago and his program seems ready to turn the corner but his Panthers have yet to do it. The likeable Wanny is two games above .500 in his four seasons.
Randy Edsall won’t be around much longer. Two years ago UConn shared the league title. Last season Donald Brown rushed for 2,000 yards, led the nation and left early for the NFL. UConn had as many draft picks as Alabama (four).
Those are signs of a big-time program.
Edsall, entering his 11th season, got some interest from Syracuse, his alma mater, but he can do much better. If he continues to win, he will.