Tim in Blacksburg writes: I just read the article about the rivalry weekend being a good thing for the ACC, and I noticed your comment with regards to Pitt-Miami being the only lackluster pairing in the bunch. I did some thinking and why not try to work out a deal with the Big Ten to continue the Pitt-Penn State rivalry and then schedule Miami-Notre Dame.
I feel like this idea could create two even better rivalry games, as well as renew two great CFB rivalries.
Andrea Adelson writes: I shall forward these thoughts to the ACC office. Now THIS would be an absolutely epic rivalry weekend. Pitt and Penn State do have their rivalry set to resume in 2016. Miami travels to Notre Dame in 2016. So perhaps for this season, the ACC schedule-makers could add these two to make it a super bonanza rivalry weekend. It can't happen every season, though, since Miami and Notre Dame won't play every year. But at least once? Totally worth it.
Brian Iannone in Due West, South Carolina writes: "I give credit to Auburn for doing what it had to do to try and win the game." REALLY???????? That's about the saddest thing I have ever read by a so-called sports reporter. … Cheating should never be tolerated. What are you gonna come out in favor of next, bounties on players heads?
Adelson writes: Well, if Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher is OK with it, then I guess he tolerates cheating, too. This is what Fisher said when asked about Auburn stealing signs during the VIZIO BCS National Championship Game. "That's part of the game. I don't have a problem with that," and "that happens, people do it, and that's our fault."
BuffaloCane in Buffalo, N.Y., writes: Andrea, there was a line in your article talking about Al Golden, in which you talked about the lack of strength and skill on defense. During the Russell Athletic Bowl, the announcers couldn't talk enough about how much talent and size that Louisville took out of the Miami area. Do you think Al Golden feels he owes his staff at least this recruiting class (which already looks to be adding a lot of that size and talent) to show the kind of changes fans want, due to his staff weathering the storm with him? Do you think that should the defense get manhandled again that both the defensive and strength/conditioning positions will get overhauled?
Adelson writes: I should think Golden and his staff know they have to be better up front. That has been a glaring problem area for a few years now, and I do believe Golden has worked to address this area of need. But beefy, physical linemen who are ready made to play immediately are extremely rare. Look at Mario Edwards over at Florida State. He was the No. 1 prospect in his class, but it has taken several years of development for him to get more consistent. And he still is not physically dominant on every play. That example is not meant to pick on Edwards but to show that developing players on the offensive and defensive lines is perhaps the toughest job any coach has to do. But Golden is going into Year 4 now. His players have to be better up front. I can't predict the future, so I don't know what happens if Miami doesn't improve. But this really is a critical year for the defensive staff.
Kevin Dondrea in Godollo, Hungary writes: I'm an Ohio State fan, born and raised in Ohio. Grew up with Urban Meyer in Ashtabula. Urban gets bashed a lot by SEC fans. I spent 3 years in Louisville during the Bobby Petrino years. So I have a little Louisville fan in me. I can understand Louisville fans being pretty mad at Bobby. I'm still pretty miffed at LeBron for screwing my Cavs and others who dined and dashed my other Cleveland teams. But when it comes to Louisville, I think they will really benefit from Coach Petrino leaving Louisville. While at Louisville, he started getting a big head. Since leaving, he has gotten knocked back down to Earth. Like Bill Belichick, he (stunk) as a coach in Cleveland -- now he's led the New England Patriots to success. Do you think Bobby Petrino can take Louisville to the next level and win a national championship?
Adelson writes: I think everybody is hoping the Petrino who is at Louisville now has been completely humbled and changed. The man can coach, and he has proven that at every stop along the way. So can he now take the next step? That is a great question. Louisville has a lot of catching up to do if it wants to knock off division counterparts Florida State and Clemson. Those two programs already have a leg up on the Cardinals. It also has to make sure it stays ahead of in-state rival Kentucky as well. The schedule gets a lot tougher with this move to the ACC, but in one respect, it is easier than the slate Petrino faced with Arkansas in the SEC West. Still, making the transition to a new staff and new conference will take some time. If Louisville does reach the next level, it may not be until a few years down the line.
Michael W. Holbrook in Syracuse writes: Hi Andrea! I'm just curious of your expertise! How long do you think until (when or if) the Syracuse Orange will become an ELITE FOOTBALL TEAM?!?!?!?
Adelson writes: It is hard to put timetables to these last two questions. I think Syracuse exceeded expectations in Year 1 in the ACC, but like Louisville, the Orange have a lot of work to do to catch up to Florida State and Clemson after getting completely blown out by both this past season. Syracuse is not yet recruiting at an elite level, and that has to be the first thing that changes. The Seminoles and Tigers are not only the best the ACC has right now, but they also have been the best at assembling outstanding recruiting classes and then developing that talent.