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Big East: silly season

With a month to go before media day in Providence, here are few conference items that I haven't gotten to yet.

Probably? PROBABLY?!?!?!?

The league needs higher-profile slots for its strong non-BCS teams (and Notre Dame), which now play in the Gator, Sun and Meineke Car Care Bowls. "It's probably our next top priority," Marinatto said of re-working some bowl agreements. Look for the Capital One Bowl as a possible new partner.

Goodbye, Mike Tranghese. John Marinatto says "things might not change much around here". I'm already inclined to distrust the man (see above), but he's either gloating over his status as protector of the basketball-only schools, or dangerously naive about the perilous state of Big East football.

In a follow up to the recent story about the Alamo Bowl's renegotiation prospects, the Express News has a small update on the situation, including the bit that the Big East has been in contact. We should start hearing concrete updates in a week or two on this front.

The Big East released its basketball conference schedules. The tourney format may change again. The league also just announced details of its game of the week package for the upcoming season.

Brian Kelly signed a contract extension with Cincinnati. Decent headline, doesn't mean much all that much here or there. By the way, I'm not the only one that made a connection between Cincinnati's president leaving (who fired Bob Huggins a few years back), and their basketball program bringing in Lance Stephenson. That move could have further implications down the road if their athletic department isn't facing much internal scrutiny any more.

Projected UConn starting DE Marcus Campbell is academically ineligible. That will sting, but they've shown an ability to reload on that side of the ball. The NY Times has them at #68.

The Quad also recently previewed Louisville. Athlon looked at them as well. Even with Steve Kragthorpe dragging the Cards down, with season ticket sales lagging, UL has one of the most successful athletic departments in the country.

Charges were dropped against Pittsburgh LB Adam Gunn, which means that he'll likely start for them in the middle. Incoming freshman receiver Todd Thomas may not qualify. I've written before about how I'm fan of how Pitt has been able to meld academics and athletics, but it looks like Pitt and PSU may unfortunately be following RU's lead with large looming budget cuts. Both schools are still far less dependent than Rutgers on state aid however. As the recession continues, you can expect to see similar budget cuts across the country.

George Selvie isn't happy about receiving a poor projection from the NFL's draft advisory committee last year. Another 2009 USF recruit won't enroll, one of several to this point. Brian Cook's post trying to link USF's large class and academic casualties to oversigning caused a dustup in response. (I'm not objective here, but I think that any mishaps on this topic are forgivable, as collateral damage in the fight against the greater evil of oversigning.) By signing 30 players, USF did go over the single season limit of 25, although you can do some shifting around with the numbers. However, they've taken a hit in the press with some bad academic headlines lately. I wonder whether the university as a whole isn't responding with more scrutiny, like with what happened at UVA a few years ago.

Syracuse checks in at #103 on The Quad's list. One anonymous NFL executive says that Doug Marrone is an excellent OL coach, which is expected to be their biggest concern this year. Marrone is also enlisting Cuse alumni to sell the school to recruits. It's nice to get alumni involved with the program again, but this is an area where they'll have to be careful navigating NCAA regs. Dwight Freeney thinks they're three years away, which is about where I pegged them months back with my "Marrone is following the Schiano script, to the letter" theory.

West Virginia is still waiting on three recruits to enroll, after previous reports had said that everyone would be qualified. You have to hope that Finau's situation doesn't turn into a repeat of the Terrence Kerns fiasco. Expect to see Jock Sanders on the field this fall, whether in the slot or at tailback. Eugene Smith will miss time with a foot injury. Jarrett Brown will likely start, but they might have wanted to give him reps early with an eye on starting next year. Marshall keeps pushing for a home and home series with the Mountaineers, but everyone who's not a Marshall fan rightly sees that demand as ridiculous. The programs aren't just not on the same level, they're not in the same galaxy.