Big East Linkage is a news roundup feature on BECB. Feel free to send us any relevant links, stories or posts you think might be interesting to readers at bigeastcoastbias at gmail dot com.
Philosophy - In light of all of the drama surrounding the West Virginia football program right now, our good friend Aaron Torres engages in one of our favorite things - counterfactuals! Yes, Aaron goes back to the one night that brought relative ruin to three football programs: December 1, 2007. That night, West Virginia needed a win against rival Pitt to secure a place in the BCS championship game. Dave Wannstedt needed a win to stay alive as the coach of the Panthers' program. Michigan needed a coach in just a few weeks. What happened? Pitt shocked West Virginia 13-9, saving Wannstedt, making Rodriguez free to look around and ultimately become an attractive candidate for Michigan. It's a good read.
Villanova Expansion Hopes Rising from the Ashes?Yes, while most fans appear to have given up on the idea of Villanova moving up to FBS and becoming a football playing member of the Big East, there's still been no official decision made and that makes today's announcement all the more interesting. Philly.com reports that PPL Park, the proposed home of Villanova football should it move up, now has a plan to expand, in a three phase process, to 30,000 seats. This is at least a more concrete plan than Villanova reportedly presented to the conference when it was tabled as a candidate in April. Will this be enough to make Villanova a viable candidate again? Possibly. It always helps to have more details when trying to convince the Big East brass to make a decision. Our friends at VUHoops.com seem to think this is a positive sign. A 30,000 seat stadium is not much smaller than the stadiums of Cincinnati, Wake Forest, Washington State, Duke, or Boise State.
Pitt Draft Hopefuls - Pitt's Cardiac Hill reviews the draft potential of Brad Wanamaker, Gary McGhee, and Gilbert Brown. None of the three are expected to be picked in the draft, but all could find interest as free agents or perhaps overseas.
Novel Idea from Schiano. In an effort to avoid the injury that Eric LeGrand suffered, Greg Schiano proposes getting rid of the kickoff altogether. A really interesting idea with a real heart for player safety.
Pitino Speaks- Rick Pitino spoke to the media today concerning the new staff and player additions. Card Chronicle has a run down of the highlights. Of note: Chris Smith, Elisha Justice, and Kyle Kuric will all play as walk-ons this year to free up scholarships for incoming players.
Strong Blog - The Louisville Athletic Department has launched a blog devoted to Louisville football and one of the first posts is this interview with Big East Coast Bias' favorite player - Sunny Will Stein.
Ok. Ok. One note on the situation in West Virginia. Athletic Director Oliver Luck released the following statement today concerning the on-going drama in the coaching staff.
"There have been various reports, much speculation, and rumor around our football program and coaches. But I want to make it clear that I consider these to be personnel matters and while I take them very seriously, I am dealing with them internally and privately – and I will not discuss them publically.
"What I will say is that our athletic department coaches and staff are clear that their focus is on the program, the team and a successful season.
"My expectations of all our coaches and staff have not wavered; that is to run a clean and honest program with the upmost integrity and professionalism. Anything less is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."