On location in Newport, Rhode Island
First of all, it is BIG EAST media day, not Big East media day. In the BIG EAST everything must be BIG. Not B1G, but anyway, let’s move on.
The last of the BCS conferences to hold a media day session will be the Big East. They say to save the best for last, so let’s see what tricks the Big East has up their sleeves on Tuesday. With the Pac-12 introducing a system of Pac-12 networks, the SEC looking tot take the lead in grabbing a hold of control over the infractions portion of the sport, and the Big Ten welcoming Nebraska to the conference, the Big East has a tough act to follow.
But at least they have a clambake Monday evening.
After a golf outing earlier in the day, the Big East coaches, players, other school officials and media will gather at the historic Eisenhower House inside Fort Adams State Park for a traditional New England clambake. There may not be a better way to kick-start a media day event in college football. If that makes the Big East worthy of an automatic BCS berth, that is fine by me. Last year I was honored to be approached by the entire Syracuse contingent at my table. Conversing with the Doug Marone and his players over clams and lobster was a truly unique way to get to know the players and coach. Plus I got to hear some inside words of wisdom from coach to players that I thought set the tone for a bowl-trip season right in the beginning of August.
Last year some of the big speculation was whether or not the conference would be adding a new team or two any time soon. Nothing was announced or dealt with last summer, but now we know TCU will be here next year. But who else? Villanova? Central Florida? Houston? Don’t expect too much light to be shed on this topic tomorrow, although commissioner John Marinatto will surely be asked about it.
So what are some of the other big topics this year?
New coaches in the Backyard Brawl
West Virginia and Pittsburgh each had some interesting off-seasons as far as coaches are concerned, to put it nicely. Out are Dave Wannstedt and Bill Stewart and in are old rivals Todd Graham and Dana Holgorsen. These two guys, from what I have been told by Mark Ennis of Big East Coast Bias, have a history that stems back to Texas Tech and Tulsa. Bring it on!
Big East Redemption
Like the ACC, the Big East has some image problems nationally. With some great non-conference game son the slate it will be important for the Big East to score a couple of victories, especially against the power conferences. West Virginia’s game against LSU will be a big game for sure, and South Florida and Pittsburgh each play Notre Dame. And Utah makes a trip to Pittsburgh for the back-end of a home-and-home series. Can the Panthers get off on the right foot this season, as opposed to last year when they fell flat on their face?
Is West Virginia the favorite?
Last year it seemed as though whenever it looked like we had a favorite in this conference, they fell flat on their face and opened the door for someone else. This season West Virginia will be expected to start the season as the team with the target on their uniforms. Can Holgorsen handle the pressure in year one of his tenure? Or will a program like Pittsburgh takes steps to get past where they could under Wannstedt? What kind of role will Cincinnati play? And finally, can Syracuse and Louisville buidl off of somewhat surprising seasons form last year?
Here are my predictions for the Big East this season, in case you missed them back in Big East Week.
Big East Week Flash Back
Speaking of which, here are the podcasts from Big East Week on the site. Check out what we said about this conference with these three shows:
- Breaking down the Big East coaches (Guest – Scott Prather)
- Discussing NCAA rules and violations and UConn football (Guest – Aaron Torres)
- Big East Overview (Guest – Mark Ennis)
Follow my Big East media day coverage on Twitter as I work my way around the conference room talking to the coaches and players representing each of the Big East schools.
Below is a list of the players scheduled to be here for the conference media day event, according to the conference.
Players Scheduled To Attend 2011 BIG EAST Football Media Day (after the jump)
- Zach Collaros, QB
- JK Schaffer, LB
- Kendall Reyes, DT
- Moe Petrus, OL
- Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB
- Kashif Moore, WR
- Victor Anderson, RB
- Josh Chichester, TE
- Chris Philpott, K
- Greg Scruggs, LB
- Jarred Holley, DB
- Mike Shanahan, WR
- Myles Caragein, DL
- Joe Martinek, RB
- David Rowe, DB
- Jeremiah Warren, OL
- Quenton Washington, CB
- Antwon Bailey, RB
- Ryan Nassib, QB
- Chandler Jones, DE
- Mikhail Marinovich, LB
- Bruce Irvin, DE
- Geno Smith, QB
- Keith Tandy, CB