ESPN: Louisville And Rutgers Figure To Lead New Big East

I'm fairly swamped with work and calls for the dot com, so you're not going to get much quality Mike until later tonight, but that's Ok, because ESPN's Andrea Adelson said she'd be more than happy to help fill the void.

So who is "next" with West Virginia out of the picture? Cincinnati has proven it can win league championships on a consistent basis, though there are some major question marks the Bearcats have to answer this spring. Losing quarterback Zach Collaros, running back Isaiah Pead, leading tackler JK Schaffer and Big East co-Defensive Player of the Year Derek Wolfe could translate in to a "rebuilding" season.

So the spotlight has turned to the Cardinals and Scarlet Knights. There is reason to understand the optimism.

Louisville won a share of the Big East title in 2011 with a true freshman quarterback and over 20 true or redshirt freshmen contributing, making the Cardinals one of the youngest teams in all of college football. There were some moments of immaturity and some head-scratching losses, but there is no question about the potential of this team. Add in some excellent recruiting classes and a solid head coach in Charlie Strong, and you understand how the foundation has been built.

But Strong understands there is more that goes into winning championships than talent, and he perfectly summed that up after a loss to NC State in the Belk Bowl. "There's going to be a lot written about this team," he said. "Is this a team that's going to be full of themselves? Is this a team that's going to let complacency set in because there's so much coming back? This is a team that has to work hard. So much is going to be said, but what is going to be the true character of this football team?"

I'd give up oxygen for Lent before I gave up fawning over Charlie Strong.

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