Tag:Big East
Posted on: October 28, 2010 1:33 pm
 

Nevada, Fresno St. told to grab a Snickers

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Why the delicious nougaty candy-related reference to lead off this post? Because Nevada and Fresno State are, as the tagline goes, not going anywhere for a while . Their move into the Mountain West and out of the ever-wobbly WAC has been delayed by a year, until 2012, as part of the resolution of a WAC lawsuit that asked the Wolf Pack and Bulldogs to either wait it out one extra season or fork over a cool $5 million each.

That kind of money doesn't grow on non-AQ trees, so both schools will pay a meager $900,000 (though they'll also forfeit their 2011-2012 league distribtuion check , making the true price tag a bit heftier) and spend another year lining up against the remnants of the WAC. That conference and commisioner Karl Benson came out the clear losers in this latest round of west coast conference expansion, but this is a major win that will give Benson a desperately-needed extra year in which to cobble together a strategy for keeping the 48-year-old conference afloat.

Everyone else involved in the MWC-WAC-BYU expansion brouhaha, though, comes out a loser in the short-term of today's decision. Let's count the ways:

Nevada and Fresno : Not that either program will likely be looking at a BCS berth in 2011, but nonetheless that goal will be all-but-impossible playing in a watered-down, Boise State -less WAC that will rank with the Sun Belt and MAC as the FBS's worst. Maybe more practically, a MWC schedule would be substantially more appealing to ticket-holders than going another round with San Jose State and Idaho . (The proud Pack men's hoops program would have been much more likely to earn an NCAA Tournament at-large berth out of the MWC, too.)

Boise State : Speaking of the Broncos, the 2011 MWC will likely offer a better strength-of-schedule quotient than the 2011 WAC, thanks to the likes of TCU , Air Force , and a rejuvenated San Digeo State . But without the Pack and the Bulldogs (or, of course, deserters BYU or Utah ), the sad-sack bottom half of the MWC still projects to be so weak that there won't be that much difference. If the Broncos do mount another undefeated charge at the national title game, tilts against known quantities like Nevada and Fresno would have come very much in handy.

The Mountain West: The MWC keeps trying to push the rock that is automatic qualification up the hill that is the BCS , and it keeps rolling downhill. A league with Boise added to the Utah-BYU-TCU axis was a lock, but the Utes and Cougars jumped ship. A league with Nevada and Fresno adding depth to the TCU-Boise axis also stands a good shot given the Big East 's current woes, but now that league won't start play until 2012, by which time it's possible a bigger fish picks off the geographically-distant Horned Frogs. (There's already rumors about TCU being offered a spot in the Big East.)

After today, the league seems more than ever to be merely running to stand still.

Posted on: October 28, 2010 12:30 pm
 

Randy Edsall is paranoid

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Try not to sneak up on UConn head coach Randy Edsall if you see him in the next few days, because the man is a bit jumpy at the moment.  You would be too if you knew that all around you, hiding behind every corner, sitting in every parked car, there are spies.  At least, that's what Edsall thinks.

The coach found out on Wednesday that somebody was posting a detailed transcript on the internet of everything that had gone on during UConn's practice on Tuesday.

"One of our former players' parents e-mailed [program assistant Joanne Fazio]," Edsall told the Hartford Courant . "We had somebody that was giving a blow-by-blow of everything that happened in practice. We might have to practice inside all the time now."

Edsall then said that the team would be practicing inside on Wednesday due to the rain, but that the team had to remain aware of this dorm room spy, no doubt wearing a fedora and a trenchcoat, letting the entire world know about Huskies practices.

"Technology, these days … everybody wants to let everybody know everything."

Yes, well, if I were Edsall I'd probably take a different approach to this whole situation.  I'd just be happy somebody was actually watching UConn football.


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 24, 2010 11:40 am
Edited on: October 24, 2010 11:43 am
 

What I learned from the Big East (Oct. 23)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1. Eight teams still have a shot at BCS berth - As crazy as it sounds, the perfect storm of circumstance has brought about a wide open Big East conference race.  The first major factor has been the scheduling.  For the most part, each team backlogged their conference schedule.  So while we are at the midpoint of the regular season, six of the eight teams in the conference are only two games into league play.  Even the seemingly hapless Connecticut Huskies are a Pittsburgh upset from climbing back into the race.  Knock the Big East as much as you want, but at the wide-open race will at least make each game interesting coming down the stretch.  
  
2. Syracuse isn't flashy, but they are getting it done - After getting throttled by Pittsburgh at home, Syracuse bounced back to stun West Virginia in Morgantown.  The Orange got right back to the same kind of tough football that helped them rattle off three straight wins, with aggressive defense and a solid running game.  When Delone Carter left the game with a hip injury, backup running back Antwon Bailey stepped and delivered a season high 94 yards on the ground.  The defense kept West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith guessing all day, disguising their coverages and blitzes to force a season high three interceptions.  Syracuse hasn't put together impressive victories (particularly not scoring a point after halftime) but if they can continue to stack the W's, the Orange could find themselves bowling in 2010.

3. Tino Sunseri has arrived - After a somewhat shaky start, Sunseri has come into his own as the leader of the Panthers offense.  The rushing attack has not been what it was a year ago in Dion Lewis' breakout season, but the sophomore signal caller has stepped it up through the air in conference play.  After five touchdowns in the first five games, Sunseri has connected with his receivers for seven scores in the last two weeks.  If he can continue to find playmaking wide receiver Jon Baldwin, like he did for 139 yards against Rutgers, Pittsburgh could be a difficult team to beat down the stretch.

4. There is some hope in Tampa for South Florida - To reiterate the earlier point, South Florida's 38-30 victory over Cincinnati on Friday kept the Bulls from falling all but out of the Big East hunt.  Not only did first year head coach Skip Holtz avoid starting 0-3 in the conference, but he got the best performance of the season from quarterback B.J. Daniels.  If Daniels' performance was more than just a flash in the pan, South Florida can do a lot to make up for the rough start.

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Posted on: October 23, 2010 4:20 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2010 5:12 pm
 

Syracuse just turned the Big East upside down

Posted by Chip Patterson

And just like that, the Big East has been blown wide open.  

We figured that it could happen, just weren't all that positive that it would.  But with Syracuse's 19-14 victory, West Virginia has been knocked off their post as the Big East front runner and the conference is now up for grabs.  Syracuse forced West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith into three first half interceptions that the Orange turned into points, and the Mountaineers weren't able to climb back from the halftime deficit.  In fact, after a very exciting back and forth first half of play, neither team scored scored a point after the break.  

Syracuse dominated West Virginia on the ground, racking up 183 rushing yards on one of the best statistical defenses in the nation.  Running back Delone Carter left the game in the second quarter with a hip injury after racking up 75 yards, but backup Antwon Bailey was just as effective for the Orange.  Bailey carried 19 times for 94 yards, career high's in both categories, and Syracuse shed a new light on the Mountaineer squad that many had already penciled in for the conference title. 

Pittsburgh has now jumped into the conference lead with their 41-21 dismantling of Rutgers.  After the 2-0 Panthers stand Syracuse, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Rutgers, Connecticut and Louisville as teams with one loss.  That list will be shortened after the completion of the Huskies-Cardinals game, but the argument will still be valid for 3/4 of the conference to be considered legitimate contenders.

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Posted on: October 23, 2010 12:24 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2010 6:13 pm
 

Game day weather updates, Week 8

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. You like storms? We got storms. There's a front moving through the nation's heartland, and there's copious amounts of rain all the way from Chicago to Texas. Will this affect Missouri-Oklahoma? All times are Eastern.

Noon kickoffs

Purdue at No. 11 Ohio State, 12:00, Columbus, OH: Upper 50s, clear

Syracuse at No. 20 West Virginia, 12:00, Morgantown, WV: Mid 60s, mostly cloudy

No. 8 Michigan State at Northwestern, 12:00, Evanston, IL: Upper 50s, rain

Ole Miss at No. 21 Arkansas, 12:21, Fayetteville, AR: Upper 60s, cloudy (storms later)

Afternoon kickoffs

No. 10 Wisconsin at No. 12 Iowa, 3:30, Iowa City, IA: Upper 60s, chance of rain

No. 6 LSU at No. 5 Auburn, 3:30, Auburn, AL: Upper 70s, clear

No. 14 Nebraska at No. 17 Oklahoma State, 3:30, Stillwater, OK: Mid 70s, chance of storms

Evening kickoffs

No. 7 Alabama at Tennessee, 7:00, Knoxville, TN: Mid 60s, partly cloudy

No. 3 Oklahoma at No. 18 Missouri, 8:00, Columbia, MO: Mid 60s, scattered storms

Air Force at No. 4 TCU, 8:00, Fort Worth, TX: Upper 60s, scattered storms

Late night kickoffs

Washington at No. 15 Arizona, 10:15, Tucson, AZ: Upper 60s, partly cloudy


Posted on: October 20, 2010 4:36 pm
 

UConn QB suspended 2010-2011 academic year

Posted by Chip Patterson

Connecticut quarterback Cody Endres had just settled into his new first-string role after his second start of the 2010 season in the 27-24 loss to Rutgers.  Endres took over in the middle of the Buffalo game, after another unsuccessful half by Zach Frazer.  Endres helped the Huskies rattle off two straight 40+ point performances before the loss at Rutgers.  But instead of spending this week preparing to take on Louisville, head coach Randy Edsall will be forced to do yet another quarterback shuffle.  

On Wednesday, the university announced that Endres had been suspended from the football team for a violation of University policies.  The suspension will last for the entire 2010-2011 academic year, which will last through spring practice as well.  Endres' suspension is rumored to be in relation to the school's substance abuse policy, but the neither the athletic department nor Edsall offered further comment on the issue.  

What does this mean for the Huskies offense?  Frazer could reclaim his starting role, but he is the third-string quarterback according to the current depth chart.  It could mean the first career start for redshirt freshman Michael Box.  Box has only attempted five passes on his career, all during mop-up duty against Texas Southern.  

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Posted on: October 18, 2010 8:10 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2010 9:12 pm
 

Midseason Report: Big East

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Midseason Report separates the contenders from the pretenders in each conference race.  The Big East has been openly criticized for their weakness in the 2010 season, but they still hold on to a BCS Bowl berth.  Someone has to win it, ranked or not.  West Virginia has carried the banner for the conference thus far, but with a backlogged conference schedule, there is a lot of football left.

West Virginia (1-0)(5-1) - The race for the Big East is pretty much the Mountaineers' to lose at this point.  They appear to be a far superior team to their conference counterparts on both sides of the ball.  While there is some concern for running back Noel Devine's health and recent decline in production, quarterback Geno Smith has emerged as the center of the West Virginia offense.  Smith has thrown for 14 touchdowns and just two interceptions, and has done a good job spreading the receptions around the field, keeping the defense from stacking the box against Devine.  Head coach Bill Stewart said that Devine is "close to 100 percent" finally after injuring his foot against LSU.  Devine has not missed much time, but has been noticeably limited on the field.  The defense has also been a pleasant surprise for West Virginia fans in 2010.  Allowing only 12.3 points per game, the Mountaineers are rank 3rd in the nation in scoring defense.  Their greatest challenge left on the schedule is a late season matchup at Pittsburgh November 26.  But even that game looks very winnable at this point.
         
Rutgers (1-0)(4-2) - The most significant event of the Scarlet Knights' season unfortunately is also one of the saddest.  Defensive tackle Eric LeGrand still is in the hospital, paralyzed after making a special teams tackle in the 23-20 overtime win against Army.  But if you are looking for good things to take from the game, the most impressive was the performance of quarterback Chas Dodd.  Dodd appears to have the starting job locked up for now, after throwing for 251 yards and two touchdowns to help Rutgers rally back from a 17-3 third quarter deficit.  Unfortunately, the Scarlet Knights have one of the most difficult remaining schedules in the conference.  Road trips to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and West Virginia make a daunting order for Greg Schiano's squad.  
      
Cincinnati (1-0)(3-3) -  The Bearcats have shown flashes of greatness in 2010, they have just failed to carry it for an entire game.  However with a schedule full of conference foes, the slate might as well be clean for Cincinnati.  Quarterback Zach Collaros continues to sling the ball all over the field, with four straight games of at least 200 yards and three touchdowns.  His most recent five touchdown outing helped the Bearcats lock up that first road conference victory.  They still will have to face the other three teams on this list of contenders, but only have to leave home to travel to Morgantown.  Their failure to put a complete game does not give me confidence they will take the conference, but it does not make the feat impossible. 

Pittsburgh (1-0)(3-3) - Pittsburgh's season has been painfully inconsistent.  Not only have they failed to string together back-to-back wins, but their "Jekyll and Hyde" routine has kept them from climbing back into the national scene.  Ever since the season opening loss at Utah it has been a season of head scratching for Panther fans.  The good news is there are six conference games left on the schedule, and regardless of overall record they are currently tied for first.  Additionally, they also picked up their victory on the road, leaving only one significant test away from home: a season finale showdown with Cincinnati.  Both teams will be fighting for postseason postion (or maybe eligibility) and should the Panthers string some wins together and upset the Mountaineers, could have conference title implications.  Having said that, I'm not holding my breath on the Panthers running the table. 


Posted on: October 16, 2010 10:04 pm
Edited on: October 16, 2010 10:08 pm
 

What I learned from the Big East (Oct. 16)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1.) West Virginia's defense is playing a big part in West Virginia's success - West Virginia has largely been thought of as an offensive threat, especially with Noel Devine and Geno Smith in the backfield, but West Virginia fans should be thanking their defense for the 5-1 start.  West Virginia's defensive unit shut down B.J. Daniels and the South Florida Bulls, keeping them out of the end zone for the entirety of their 20-6 win.  The Mountaineers are only giving up an average of 12.3 points per game, best in the conference and making them one of the best defenses nationally.  When Smith or Devine have been inconsistent, the defense has been able to carry the Mountaineers.

2.) Syracuse is not ready to be considered a contender - Last week, I mistakenly suggested that Syracuse might be ready to climb out of the incredibly deep hole and make things interesting in the Big East.  After a three game winning streak, including knocking off South Florida in Tampa, the Orange looked like they were ready to make a statement against Pittsburgh.  The only statement made in Pittsburgh was that Syracuse's success mostly had to do with the caliber of their opponents, and they might not be ready to be considered a contender in the Big East.  Syracuse's defense looked porous against a Pittsburgh squad that has been far from impressive.  
 
3.) Chas Dodd is the man (for now) at Rutgers - When Tom Savage went down in the second quarter against Tulane, Chas Dodd saw an opportunity to repeat history at Rutgers.  When Savage was a freshman, he earned the starting job early in the season and won over fans orchestrating memorable wins like the last-minute touchdown to defeat Connecticut.  Two weeks later Dodd is 2-0 as a starter, after leading the Scarlet Knights to a close win over Connecticut and a 23-20 victory of Army in overtime.  Dodd threw for 251 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead Rutgers, who had to overcome a 17-3 second quarter deficit before finally locking up the win in overtime.  The starting job appears to be Dodd's, at least for now.
  
4.) Anyone could win the Big East (still)- West Virginia appears to be the best team in the conference, but with most teams backlogging their schedule with conference games, there is a lot of Big East football left to play.  West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Rutgers all could be considered legitimate contenders, and with a few upsets Syracuse and Louisville could be added to that conversation as well.  No one team looks supremely dominant, but all teams have shown flashes of greatness at some point.  West Virginia is the favorite, but they will have to finish their season playing Pittsburgh and Rutgers back-to-back, so nothing is certain.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com