Monday, August 30, 2010

Depth chart for Michigan

A few surprises with some of the true freshmen, but the biggest is Greg Lloyd not sitting out the season.

OFFENSE

WR: 80 Michael Smith (Jr., 6-0, 202)
88 Gerrard Sheppard (RSo., 6-2, 209)

WR: 82 Kashif Moore (RJr., 5-9, 180)
14 Leon Kinnard (Fr., 5-9, 182)

WR: 83 Isiah Moore (RJr., 6-1, 190)
1 Dwayne Difton (So., 5-11, 173)

LT: 63 Adam Masters (RSo., 6-4, 283)
72 Jimmy Bennett (RSo., 6-8, 290)

LG: 66 Mathieu Olivier (RSr., 6-6, 294)
50 Tyler Bullock (RFr., 6-4, 301)

C: 57 Moe Petrus (RJr., 6-2, 292)
70 Gary Bardzak (RJr., 6-3, 292)

RG: 78 Zach Hurd (RSr., 6-7, 325)
69 Steve Greene (RFr., 6-4, 309)

RT: 71 Mike Ryan (RJr., 6-5, 333)
77 Kevin Friend (RFr., 6-5, 289)

TE: 94 Ryan Griffin (RSo., 6-6, 243
89 John Delahunt (RSo., 6-3, 244)

QB: 10 Zach Frazer (RSr., 6-4, 231)
4 Michael Box (RFr., 6-3, 209)

TB: 23 Jordan Todman (Jr., 5-9, 193)
44 Robbie Frey (RJr., 6-0, 203) OR
24 D.J. Shoemate (Jr., 5-11, 218)

FB: 49 Anthony Sherman (Sr., 5-11, 240)
39 Brett Manning (Sr., 5-11, 260

DEFENSE

DE: 48 Trevardo Williams (So., 6-1, 225)
96 A.J. Portee (RSo., 6-4, 237)

DT: 99 Kendall Reyes (RJr., 6-4, 298)
59 Shamar Stephen (RFr., 6-5, 300)

DT: 4 Twyon Martin (RJr., 6-2, 292)
53 Ryan Wirth (RSo., 6-2, 272)

DE: 91 Jesse Joseph (So., 6-3, 255)
98 Ted Jennings (RSo., 6-5, 247)

SLB:* 32 Scott Lutrus (RSr., 6-3, 245)
28 Jory Johnson (RSo., 6-1, 227)

MLB: 95 Greg Lloyd (Sr., 6-2, 259)
55 Jerome Williams (RSo., 5-11, 233)

WLB: 8 Lawrence Wilson (RSr., 6-1, 226)
46 Sio Moore (RSo., 6-1, 230)

CB: 5 Blidi Wreh-Wilson (RSo., 6-0, 191)
29 Taylor Mack (Fr., 5-9, 170)

S: 25 Harris Agbor (RJr., 5-11, 183)
15 Jerome Junior (RSo., 6-1, 215)

S: 19 Kijuan Dabney (Jr., 6-1, 192)
7 Mike Lang (So., 5-11, 181)

CB: 24 Dwayne Gratz (RSo., 6-0, 187)
2 Gilbert Stlouis (Fr., 5-11, 182)

* Commonly referred to as the “Husky” linebacker

SPECIALISTS

P: 86 Cole Wagner (RFr., 6-2, 198) OR
13 Chad Christen (RFr., 6-1, 203)

K: 38 Dave Teggart (RJr., 6-0, 207)
13 Chad Christen (RFr., 6-1, 203)

LS: 93 Derek Chard (Sr., 6-3, 237)
67 Adam Mueller (Fr., 6-1, 208)

H: 13 Chad Christen (RFr., 6-1, 203)
4 Michael Box (RFr., 6-3, 209)

KR: 23 Jordan Todman (Jr., 5-9, 193)
44 Robbie Frey (RJr., 6-0, 203)

PR: 21 Gary Wilburn (RJr., 5-11, 195)
31 Nick Williams (So., 5-10, 183)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Edsall named to foundation's board

UConn coach Randy Edsall has been named as an honorary members of the board of directors of Lauren’s First and Goal Foundation, it was announced Friday.

After appearing as a guest speaker at the Lauren’s First and Goal football camps, Edsall expressed interest in promoting the foundation’s mission of providing financial support for brain tumor research and cancer services, offering financial and emotional support to families living with pediatric cancer, and increasing awareness of the disease. Since 2004, the foundation has raised more than $1 million.

“Coach Edsall is an outstanding leader in the coaching profession, not only due to his success on the field, but because of his desire to make a positive impact in the community where he lives and works,” said co-founded Marianne Loose in a statement.

“He has a personal connection to LFG, having served as a featured speaker at our camps and meeting with the thousands of players who attended. We are very grateful to him for helping us spread the mission of LFG.”

Loose and her husband, John, created LFG in honor of their 13-year-old daughter Lauren.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Edsall featured on ESPN.com

Randy Edsall is the headlining story right now. Here's the link:

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/preview10/columns/story?columnist=maisel_ivan&id=5497647

Todman on Doak Walker list

Junior RB Jordan Todman was named a candidate for the Doak Walker Award, presented to the nation's top running back.

He rushed for nearly 1,200 yards last season as part of a time-share with Andre Dixon in the Huskies' backfield. He was a second-team All-Big East selection in 2009.

Todman has looked good, as expected, during UConn's training camp. He will lose some carried to Robbie Fry and D.J. Shoemate, but will likely see an increase in his 235 carries from a year ago. That, combined with the Huskies' run-first approach and solid offensive line, should make Todman a viable candidate for the award.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Quotes and more from Tuesday's practice

Tight end Ryan Griffin didn't practice Tuesday, with what Randy Edsall described as "a couple bumps." He looked fine walking off the field, but it is my guess he will see limited time, including today's scrimmage. He's clearly the best TE on the team and there's no benefit in risking a prolonged injury.

Not happy with the depth at TE -- especially with Griffin banged up -- Edsall is moving LB Andrew Opoku to that position. Opoku played some TE before and at 6-4, 227 pounds, could give UConn another option. However, his play at TE is raw, so don't count on him to be a contributor at least just yet.

"You sit there and you look and you see a position you are in, and you're always trying to evaluate and kids and getting them into the best spot," Edsall said. "We're sitting there and looking at where we are from a Husky (linebacker) standpoint and when you have Jory (Johnson), you have Martin (Hyppolite), you have David Kenney there at that position, and you have Andrew there. You're sitting there saying, 'Geez, you got four guys who are athletes who can help you.' and you look at other positions where you might need help. It's one of those things that we saw. We saw, 'Hey, Andrew's battling for those spots.' But we felt maybe some of those other guys were maybe a little closer and we felt we had a need at tight end and he's played receiver/tight end type things before. So we just say, 'Hey, let's take a look at it,' because now we have a bigger, faster guy than what we had there. We have to teach him how to block a little bit, but it's going to allow us to take advantage of his abilities a little bit."

Another reason Edsall likes the move is he sees a lot of depth at LB and Opoku made the most sense in terms of shifting personnel.

Senior FB Brett Manning had someone fall on his leg during Monday's practice and was wearing a boot on Tuesday. It's not a great loss for the Huskies for two reasons -- Anthony Sherman is a beast who can be counted on like the Sun, and if they needed another FB, D.J. Shoemate could slide back there from TB since that was where he played at USC. There is also freshman Reuben Frank, someone Edsall is high on. At any rate, Manning is listed as day-to-day.

As long as Cody Endres is suspended, the Huskies are in need of a second-string QB. Initially, Edsall didn't want to make a proclamation, but just from the few media availabilities, it was clear who No. 2 is: Mike Box.

"I would say Michael has the edge, yeah," Edsall said. "You can probably tell that (Tuesday). He was doing some things with the exception of the sack in the two-minute drill, (but) he's doing some things."

There was a lot of praise for Zach Frazer's camp performance. Maybe it's because Edsall is VERY disappointed in Endres or maybe it's because EVERYONE on both sides of the ball are raving about how much Frazer has matured and developed since April.

The coach also noted that this season's freshmen may be the best incoming class he has ever had. Of note were WR Tebucky Jones, from New Britain, who Edsall said will be redshirted this season; Frank; Lyle McCombs;and the new offensive linemen (Teddy Baker, Gus Cruz, Mark Hansson, Greg McKee and Bryan Paull). On defense, he praised the new DBs and linebackers, the latter he said need to get stronger. Edsall singled out Yawin Smallwood, who he put in at MLB on Tuesday.

"To me, I think this is our best freshmen class we ever had here, top to bottom, no doubt," said Edsall.

It was also noted that the season opener at Michigan will be played before 109,901 fans -- the largest crowd in NCAA history.

There's a lot of competition at running back, and there's no question Jordan Todman is the No. 1 guy. But with the addition of Shoemate there was speculation he would be No. 2 behind Todman. Edsall wouldn't say, but based on what we've seen and heard (including the upcoming quote from Edsall), it's looking like Robbie Frey is ready to shine.

"I wish I had a 105 Robbie Frys. Just his work ethic, his character, his love of the game, his respect of the game. He just works. He's had a good camp and has been very, very productive. He's a guy I know we can count on," Edsall said.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

8/24 Notes

By all accounts, this was the last open practice for the media, so getting a good look at these guys before Michigan was important.

There were plenty of eyes on the Huskies today as West Haven football coach Dennis McCarthy, former Detroit Lions GM Matt Millen, broadcaster Sean McDonough as well as a few scouts, including one from the Indianapolis Colts, were on hand.

I'll get into the rundown and we'll go from there.

9:10 Special teams drills followed by stretching. Leon Kinnard was out of the usual red jersey for QBs and in a blue one today. he started out with the WRs, but finished off with the QBs.

9:31 Position drills. Freshman LB Andrew Opoku practiced with the tight ends.

10:00 The offense ran plays without an opposing defense. It was basically a day off for Zach Frazer so Scott McCummings and Blaise Driscoll saw most of the snaps in this drill.

10:02 The second-string O began a 7-on-7 drill.

Mike Box was 6-for-12 and an INT. He had one ball which he threw behind his WR and another that was deflected. On another long pass, which should have been a TD, John Delahunt didn't get to the spot for the catch.

Johnny McEntee wasn't as sharp as Box, but completed more passes. Mcentee was 9 of 10.

Kinnard was 3-for-3, including a diving, one-handed catch by Tebucky Jones.

10:21 Offense and defense split up and work from the playbook with their coordinators.

10:30 11-on-11 two-minute drill starting at the offense's five-yard line.

1031 Box overthrows Mike Smith along the left sideline. It would have been a sure-fire TD had the throw been more accurate. Box rebounds with a short pass to Jordan Todman, who picked up at least 20 yards. The offense sets up Dave Teggart for what was roughly a 40-yard FG. He misses wide right.

1034 McEntee takes over and is promptly yelled at by Randy Edsall because he took a sack deep in his zone rather than throwing the ball away. The McEntee-led offense goes 3-and-out.

Kinnard follows, completes two passes to get the Huskies to around their own 30. But he, like McEntee, took a sack forcing the Huskies to use a timeout. Again, Edsall was none too pleased.

Kinnard threw an incomplete pass and was then picked off by Byron Jones.

Not much else came out of the drill except:
* a bad snap by Moe Petrus deep in the offensive zone. It went over Kinnard's head and would have been a safety or touchdown.
* Some nice runs from Robbie Frey, Jordan Todman and D.J. Shoemate.
*Kashif Moore made a terrific leaping catch in traffic on a Box pass.
*Edsall threw A.J. Portee out of practice, for what appeared to be alack of hustle.

10:54 No. 1 offense and No. 2 defense vs. No. 2 offense and No. 1 defense
Neither Zach Frazer nor Scott Lutrus practiced this morning. They were more like additional assistant coaches.

The only real highlights were a big run by Frey to get inside the five, and two plays later, Todman ran it in from three out.

Videos from today's practice

I've got two of the offensive line, one of the quarterbacks and two of the running backs. What you don't see prior to the second RBs video is Meme Wylie knocking down position coach Terry Richardson not once, but twice. It was a comical scene, but I think T-Rich was ready for some serious work.

video



video

video
video
video

Monday, August 23, 2010

Open no more

The Huskies had an open practice for the public slated for Tuesday morning. But due to the expected rainfall, it has been moved indoors and no longer open to the public.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Notes from Camp Husky

This was an early (8 a.m.) practice, especially for us sports writers. It was also an open practice. I would estimate 50 people were there. Among them, the fathers of Jimmy Bennett and Michael Box, who figured heavily in the world of UConn considering the suspension of Cody Endres. There was also a scout from the Philadelphia Eagles. NFL scouts are nothing new at college camps.

Big east officials have been with the team the past two days, part of program instituted last season. This gives the team an understanding of rules -- new and old -- and the refs a chance to get some work in before the first week of the season. The crew on hand was the same that worked the UConn-Notre Dame game last season.

Here's a rundown:

8:20 team stretching

8:31 QBs working on their drills. Leon Kinnard, who has worked in multiple positions, is a QB today.

8:36 LBs working on run defense

8:38 Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead oversees QBs, who are working on drop steps
and side-to-side shuffles before making a throw.

8:40 WRs run routes with staff presenting obstacles and serving as defenders with use of pads.

8:46 Oklahoma drill. This time its WRs vs. CBs. Joshua Alexander blew up Dwyane Difton, who was warned "you're going to get hurt" using the form he did.
8:57 QBs working with WRs

9:08 WRs vs. CBs. Mike Lang, who moved from WR to S, made a strong play when he came from behind the receiver and deflected the pass. Later on, Michael Smith hauls in a spectacular pass from I don't know with an equally impressive over-the-shoulder grab down the left sideline.

The non-football highlight came when a local "news" reporter from Fox decided that camp should stop so Randy Edsall can answer questions about the suspensions of Endres and o-lineman Erik Kuraczea. He said he didn't read SID Mike Enright's three-sentence release, which ended with the mention of no further comment. The reporter insisted he be shown respect because he's a "news reporter" and asked repeatedly if Enright "saw his report." The joy here is the guy left before Edsall would speak. So if you get a hostile twist on UConn from Fox today, you know why.

The best part was his cameraman wore a Boston College hat. Can anyone say Renee Gork?
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/17/renee-gork-fired-florida-_n_684332.html

Add to it that there were fans in the area, and this was not a cool move, Mr. Fox "news reporter".

9:20 11-on-11

9:40 7-on-7

9:48 D-Line vs. O-Line

9:59 11-on-11 and the offense starts at its 1-yard line. Dwayne Difton made a nifty catch on a 40-plus-yard pass. Ted Jennings, now a second-string defensive end, busted through the line for a monster pass deflection. Think Dikembe Mutombo.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Endres and Kuraczea suspended

Redshirt junior quarterback Cody Endres and redshirt sophomore offensive guard Erik Kuraczea have been suspended indefinitely by the team due to a violation of UConn and Division of Athletics policies, the university announced Wednesday.

There was no other comment, but I am sure we'll have more in the morning following the team's practice.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hairy situation

In years past, Edsall had forbidden his players from growing beards, much to the chagrin of several Huskies. But when the team met to start training camp, there was a change of tune from Edsall. Suddenly, the Huskies could grow a little more facial hair.

“I just want them to be clean-cut,” Edsall said. “Some guys who shave a lot get the bumps on their face and then they don’t want to. So I just say, ‘Hey, if you want a beard, that’s fine. Just keep it neat.” It’s all about them presenting an image out there. As long as they’re presentable, it’s not a Santa Claus beard or anything like that.”

Right guard Zach Hurd is excited about the change.

“Now we can have an actual physical-looking offensive line,” Hurd said. “Usually if I shave, I look like a 12-year-old boy.”

Faith and football collide

During holy month of Ramadan, Muslims are expected to fast from sunrise to sunset. This fasting, which includes absence of water, can make those hours particularly challenging.

That includes center Moe Petrus. But as Petrus explained, the Qur’an makes exceptions for physically demanding situations.

“I’m not fasting now, but if you can’t -- if you have obligations -- you can make it up later,” he said.

It isn’t as simple as forgoing the fast. In its place, Petrus will have to either fast at another time or provide charitable services beyond what he already does through the football program.

Petrus has fasted through a few in-season practices, but never through a game or on game day. This year, he said, is the first time Ramadan has fallen during training camp.

He recalled former Carolina Panther wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad used to fast during the preseason. Still, fasting during the hot summer days, especially with the team enduring two-a-days, would make for a hazardous environment.

“At this level, it would be really strenuous, really hard to not drink water, to not eat while practicing,” Petrus said. “We’re losing four, five pounds at practice as it is.”

Stepping up

Sitting on a table in the training room on Monday, Marcus Campbell tore an anterior cruciate ligament during a non-contact drill on Saturday, ending his season before it began, the defensive end pulled aside team captain Scott Lutrus and apologized for letting the team down two straight years.

Campbell, who missed last season due to academic concerns, took his latest misfortune hard. But his teammates weren’t going to let him get down.

“It’s not his fault,” Lutrus said. “He was going out there playing hard. It’s what Coach tells us, go out there and play every play like it’s your last, and I believe he did that.”

Campbell will undergo surgery on Friday.

Now with Campbell shelved, the Huskies are elevating Trevardo Williams to play opposite Jesse Joseph, giving UConn a pair of true sophomores at defensive end. It also means that red shirt sophomores Ted Jennings and A.J. Portee will man the second unit, giving the Huskies a lot of youth and not much experience at the position.

“There’s no margin of error,“ said defensive tackle Kendall Reyes. “The twos and threes are expected to know everything the starters are supposed to know. If anything, the twos and threes should know it even better because when you get thrown in, the coaches don’t expect a drop off at all. You’re getting more mental reps, so you should know everything that you’re doing, exactly where you’re supposed to go.”

Campbell marks the second loss to the unit as Greg Lloyd Jr., will be red shirted and moved back to his original position of linebacker for next season. Lloyd is recovering from a knee injury. He is able to practice, but will not play.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Campbell done for the season

Defensive end Marcus Campbell, who sat out last season due to academic issues, will miss the entire 2010 season after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in practice on Saturday.

Campbell, a junior, was expected to start for UConn. He has 24 career tackles and two sacks for the Huskies. The Huskies will now likely turn to Trevardo Williams to play opposite Jesse Joseph.

He will undergo surgery later this week.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Opening Day thoughts

Monday's first day of practice was different than the previous four years, at least, in that there were zero scuffles between players. I don't put a lot of weight into some people's notion that tempers have to flare.

What I also liked was that the Huskies went right to business. The thing is, they know for a change that this could be their year. UConn has played well in recent years but this team can win the Big East outright.

There are two important areas of concern. First, without Marcus Easley, who steps up at wide receiver. The other is the development of reliable defensive backs. For the first time in a while, Randy Edsall doesn't have a few guys that he truly trusts.

How those play out over the next month will determine what the Huskies do.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Back from camp

I've just walked in from Day One of UConn football camp. Sorry there weren't live updates, but that's a new mandate of coach Randy Edsall, who seems worried about the flow of information getting out there about his team. After all, the Huskies have been known to use creativity in playcalling (see run up the middle, run to the left, run to the right).

Anyhow, here are some timestamped updates from my trusty notebook.

4:30 p.m. Offense working on running plays/blocking schemes

4:36 p.m. QBs practice drop steps/DBs work on side-to-side footwork

4:40 p.m. DBs work on their back peddle and opening up to play the ball

4:45 p.m. Defensive line hitting the sled

4:50 p.m. Corners are in 1-on-1 workouts with each other
*A side note -- I love DBs who run routes. Nothing helps them think like a WR better than playing WR.

4:52 p.m. RBs and WRs run routes and catch passes. Leon Kinnard makes a beautiful catch on an out route pass from Zach Frazer. I didn't see who was covering Kinnard, but he beat two men to the spot and pulled away.

5:10 p.m. 11-on-11 drills

6:03 p.m. Red zone drills

Highlights:
Dwayne Difton, who looks bigger, makes a diving catch in the end zone off of a Cody Endres.

New Husky D.J. Shoemate tiptoes down the line abouyt seven yards for the score

Isiah Moore grabs a tough pass in traffic in the back of the end zone

Shoemate plows up the middle for a score

Tebucky Jones catches Michael Box's high pass in the corner of the end zone thanks to Jones outjumping the defense. It was a spectacular catch.

I'll come back later with more thoughts on today's practice.

Day 1

The Huskies open practice this afternoon, starting what should be an exciting season. There's a lot of hype surrounding UConn, with some polls having them in the Top 25 and others just on the outside.

UConn has a favorable schedule, especially early on. A win in the opener at Michigan would put the Huskies on track for a big season.

However, you will have to wait a while to get updates on today's practice -- or any practice, for that matter. UConn has banned live blogging, Facebook and Twitter updates.

I will have updates afterward.

Wilson added to another watch list

Senior linebacker Lawrence Wilson was added to the Bednarik award, given to the nation's best defensive player.

Wilson, a native of Tuscaloosa, Ala., led the Huskies with 140 tackles last season en route to an All-Big East first team selection. He also had five sacks and 11 tackles for a loss.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

What the SNY deal really means

If you heard me this morning on Sports Talk with Bill and Mike on 104.7 FM, you know why the TV deal between UConn and SNY is so important.

If you didn't, here it is:

When all Hades was breaking loose this summer with schools talking relocating to different conferences and such, one of the sticking point to what made Rutgers so appealing to the Big Ten was its place in the New York City market.

Guess what?

That's gone. It now belongs to the Huskies.

Here are the details from the press release:

►Comprehensive UConn Huskies Football Season Preview Show

►Randy Edsall's Weekly Press Conference

►In-Depth Post-Game Shows [Following all SNY-televised UConn football games]

►UConn Huskies Season-in-Review/Bowl Preview Special

►UConn's "Football Signing Day" Press Conference

►Re-airs of every UConn Huskies Football Game [subject to availability]

►Huskies Power Hour: A 60-minute cut-down version of that week's game.

► SNY Spotlight with Head Coach Randy Edsall. SNY Spotlight is an exclusive signature series - created by SNY's Original Entertainment Division - that features in-depth interviews with New York's most influential leaders in sports and entertainment


It's not just football. It's men's basketball and a little bit of women's, which is a shame.

►Comprehensive UConn Huskies Men's basketball Season Preview Show

►In-Depth Pre-Game Shows Prior to Select SNY-Televised UConn Basketball Games

►UConn Huskies Season-in-Review Special

►Re-airs of Every UConn Huskies basketball Game Shown on SNY

► SNY Spotlight with Men's Head Basketball Coach Jim Calhoun and Women's Head Basketball Coach Geno Auriemma

This has two effects.

The first is, as mentioned earlier, the Big East has a school not named Rutgers, embedded in NYCs TV market. If schools start looking to move again, and they will, the Big East suddenly looks more appealing. Now, don't be too shocked to see Rutgers pop up on YES, but if you are a school looking to make the jump up to the Big East or from another large conference to the Big East, the exposure on SNY is a nice perk.

The second is that should the Big East fail at securing its future, UConn is now positioned itself to jump ship if the right opportunity strikes. So if the Big Ten or even the ACC came calling, UConn has a major bargaining chip.

On a side note to the SNY deal, the rest of Connecticut should be receiving the network on Comcast before the season opener at Michigan.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

More from Big East Media Day

The big topic in the conference and really, in the nation, this summer has been the talk of conferences expanding. These so-called super conferences would have put the likes of the Big East in jeopardy.

The temporary dust settled and the big piece in all the talk -- Notre Dame -- chose to remain an independent for the time being. Had the Irish moved it would have led to a chain reaction that very likely would have doomed the Big East.

Because these rumors will pick up again and at some point in time become inevitable, the Big East has spent time and money to study what is in its best interests.

The eight football coaches were instructed to not discuss the conference shuffle matter while in Bridgeport, but listening to commissioner John Marinatto talking you get the feel there will be big changes.

The Big East brought in former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue as a consultant. It will also announce a new TV partnership -- different than what's in place -- with SNY next week at Rentschler Field.

But the one thing unsaid that I got the impression will happen is expansion.

This is the course many of the conference's fans want to see as do many of the coaches because it gives a balanced schedule.

Let's look at the possibilities, at least in my opinion, and in no particular order.

1. Notre Dame
This makes the most sense and secures both the conference's future, increased revenue, greater national exposure and higher bowl quality.

But...

This is NEVER going to happen. The Irish would prefer to remain an independent, and if it were to join a conference, the Big Ten (12) makes the most sense.

2. Central Florida
UCF is the most likely because it gives South Florida an in-state rival and improves the Big East's visibility in a football hotbed.

3. East Carolina
This is a strong, southern program that fits the bill for the teams that entered the last time the Big East shuffled its deck.

4. Temple
Are they still mad?

It is an up-and-coming program as long as Al Golden remains there. It's in a major city, which gives the Big East schools in the New York and Philadelphia markets.

5. Memphis
Not a great football program, but the basketball program would have the conference in the news for all the wrong reasons.

6. Any school left hanging by a future purge.
It's called westward expansion.

Happenings from Big East Media Day

Greetings from Newport!

An odd thing happened today -- the Huskies were respected. In the past, UConn was generally dismissed by the voting media, but this year was different. UConn finished fourth in the poll, its highest finish ever.

Here are the results with first-place votes in parenthesis:
1. Pittsburgh (22) 190
2. Cincinnati 142
West Virginia (1) 142
4. UConn (1) 131
5. Rutgers 99
6. South Florida 79
7. Syracuse 41
8. Louisville 40

Usually the Huskies say things such as they are insulted and have a chip on their shoulder. But this year it was more about living up to the expectations and exceeding them.