Posted on: October 11, 2010 9:02 am
Edited on: October 11, 2010 9:06 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
1. West Virginia...And Everyone Else - There were concerns regarding West Virginia's offensive capabilities with a banged-up Noel Devine in the lineup, but after the 445 yards of total offense amassed in the Mountaineers 49-10 victory over UNLV, many of those concerns have been laid to rest. Quarterback Geno Smith completed 12 of 16 passes for 220 yards and connected with wide receiver Brad Starks for three touchdowns to lead the Mountaineers, and for the first time in eight games the offense did not commit a single turnover. While the Mountaineers have yet to play a conference game, the eye test would suggest that Bill Stewart's squad is running at a different speed than the rest of the conference at this point in the season.
2. Rutgers Might Have A QB Controversy On Their Hands - Rutgers' seemingly annual nail-biter with Connecticut revealed a new hero in Piscataway in the likes of true freshman quarterback Chas Dodd. With starting quarterback Tom Savage out with a hand injury, Dodd let if loose through the air for 322 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Savage led the offense for the most of his time at Rutgers, but has struggled so far in the 2010 season. His only touchdown came in the Scarlet Knights' 31-0 season opening victory against Norfolk State. Head coach Greg Schiano will have a difficult decision moving forward choosing between the two young signal callers.
3. (Hold Your Breath) Syracuse Is Leading The Big East - Granted, the Orange have yet to play much of anything that resembles a formidable opponent, but Syracuse is in first place nonetheless. The 4-1 Orange held strong against B.J. Daniels and the South Florida Bulls, not allowing a single offensive touchdown in their 13-9 victory. One of the reasons has been the success of the running game. Running back Delone Carter is among the league's leading rushers at 104.8 yards per game, and against South Florida he and backup junior Antwon Bailey combined for 186 yards on the ground. Syracuse may not be ready to start thinking Big East title, but they will have a very good shot to make their first postseason appearance since 1999.
Posted on: October 6, 2010 11:36 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
When West Virginia has its first ever meeting with UNLV -- which will no doubt become one of the greatest rivalries in college football history -- on Saturday it's possible it'll be doing it with one of its best offensive weapons. Noel Devine hurt his toe in the Mountaineers' loss to LSU two weeks ago, and though Devine stayed in the game, he was obviously limited, finishing the game with only 37 yards on 14 carries.
Now, even though West Virginia was off last weekend, and Devine's toe has had time to heal, there's still some question about his status against UNLV. Not even his head coach is all that sure, though he is encouraged by how Devine is treating the injury.
"He is trying to get on the mend; he has a bone bruise under his toe," West Virginia coach Bill Stewart said of Devine, who has 391 yards and two touchdowns in the first four games. "It is not turf toe, it is a bone bruise, so when he pivots, that aches. ... A bone is not like a muscle or a joint, but hopefully he will be good."
Should Devine not be able to go on Saturday the Mountaineers will rely on Shawne Alston and Daquan Hargrett, though Stewart also said that freshman Trey Johnson could enter the mix as well.
Posted on: September 30, 2010 10:48 am
Edited on: September 30, 2010 4:08 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Two days after our own Dennis Dodd passed along the reports that the Big East was targeting TCU for membership, and a day after athletic director Chris Del Conte issued an ambiguous "no comment" on the issue, it is being reported that the two sides have met and discussed a possible move that would bring the Horned Frogs to the Big East.
Del Conte has been unavailable for comment to the media while away on business in New York and Philadelphia, but the Dallas Morning News is reporting that discussions have already taken place, even within the last month.
TCU has met with Big East officials within the past 30 days to discuss the logistics of a move by TCU in either the 2011 or 2012 seasons, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
TCU joined the Mountain West Conference back in 2005, and would be anxious to make another move with the departure of Utah and arrival of Boise State after this season. The Mountain West was excited to get the Broncos with hope of getting AQ status, but those discussions have faded. Now, the Horned Frogs best option may be to revitalize a conference that many feel are on the verge of losing their AQ status.
The Big East has openly admitted to constantly evaluating options for expansion and new television deals. Bringing in TCU would open up Big East football to a whole new market, and likely would bring with it a more lucrative television deal.
Aside from the obvious geographical concerns, there are also identity issues that could be caused by adding a Texas school to the Big East. Though after adding DePaul and Marquette to the conference for basketball, it is clear the Big East has no problems reaching out to the Midwest. Several alternative conference names have been suggested, and we here at the College Football Blog are open to more. Drop your new conference name suggestions in the comments below, or tweet them to us @CBSSportsNCAAF.
Posted on: September 28, 2010 8:10 pm
Posted by College Football Blog staff
CBS's Dennis Dodd passed along a report today that the Big East is showing some interest in TCU, of all schools. It's hardly a geographic fit, though Dodd rightly points out that DFW isn't exactly convenient for the Mountain West either.
But while we were dismayed in years past to see the Big Ten (and then the Big Twelve) keep their conference names the same despite their changing their membership numbers, at least then we understood; there's some precedent for using numbers as your brand name, after all. It happens.
Redefining the cardinal directions, however, is where we draw the line. If the Big East takes in TCU, then it can't be called the Big East anymore. We rolled our eyes when they moved west in 2005, but at least DePaul and Marquette are still east of the Mississippi. TCU, however, is a deal-breaker. Fortunately for the conference brass, however, we've compiled several more agreeable alternative names.
Posted on: September 20, 2010 7:26 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The Big East is an automatic BCS-qualifying conference, and as one of the six "power" conference, they are afforded a certain amount of respect. Thus, we owe it to the conference and its members to begin this entry with a compliment. So here it goes: The Big East is three games over .500 against all competition this year.
And that's about it. Because even that lackluster 12-9 record among the eight Big East teams is misleading. For one, every single team is 1-0 against FCS competition. So, good news, Big East: if the conference as a whole were to be relegated tomorrow (unlikely as that may be), they'd be very good all of a sudden. Against the FBS, though, not so much; the Big East is 4-9 overall, which includes a 3-3 record against teams that aren't even in automatic-qualifier conferences. For example, Connecticut lost to Temple last week. By 14 points.
That brings us to the meat of the Big East's resume, and that's play against quality competition. It almost couldn't possibly be worse. The conference is 1-8 against BCS conference teams. Only West Virginia -- who beat a truly miserable Maryland team last Saturday -- has such a win under its belt. That, friends, is poor performance nonpareil.
If that's all going to change in the Big East's favor at all this season, it's going to have to be this weekend; Miami visits Pitt on Thursday, Oklahoma travels to Cincinnati, West Virginia is at LSU, and Rutgers hosts North Carolina. Four difficult -- but winnable -- games against high-profile competition. Among the four listed games, WhatIfSports.com only gives Pitt better than even odds to come away with a victory, so don't be terribly surprised if the conference can't break even against its "real" competition this weekend.
If there's one saving grace to all of this, it's that a conference is usually judged by its highest achievers. The SEC has always been able to rest its laurels on the members who would run through the conference undefeated, for example, because those teams almost always win their national championship games that await. Nobody would demean a conference that could produce a 14-0 Alabama team if that Crimson Tide runs through 14-0 Texas as happened last year, after all. So, West Virginia now has a similar opportunity. While we're not positive that even an undefeated Mountaineers team is guaranteed a BCS Championship berth, they will certainly face high competition during bowl season when that time comes (even if they drop a game between now and then). Win that matchup, and people will pay less and less attention to the cupcakes littering the Mountaineers' conference path.
Posted on: September 10, 2010 2:24 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The Philadelphia Daily News reported today that the Big East has asked Villanova about moving their football program to the FBS and the Big East. The conference offered no comment, but we're clearly at a "waiting for the officials to write up a statement" point in the process right now; the Big East certainly didn't deny their interest, and anonymous conference sources confirmed the invitation. If Nova wants it, it's there.
The logic here is understandable: currently, the only FBS college football program in Philadelphia is Temple, who is just terrible at football; if Villanova can bring their winning ways to the Big East, they've got a giant media market they can deliver to the conference. The Big East can probably make the invitation with a reasonable amount of confidence, having already seen such a switch work with UConn.
But if Villanova football wants to move up to the Big East, it won't be as easy as just filling out some paperwork and moving more athletic department money to the football program. They need a new stadium. Villanova Stadium only holds 12,500 fans, and FBS stadium rules require an average of 15,000 paid fans and capacity for at least 30,000. Is it really in the best interests of a school with fewer than 10,000 total students to invest the eight or nine figures in a new football stadium? That's the question Nova has to answer, and we're guessing they'll say "are you kidding yes of course build build build." Few universities get this type of opportunity to increase their visibility so suddenly--and even fewer turn the opportunity down.