Monday, July 29, 2013

New faces dominate story lines in Newport

As I walked into Fort Hale State Park in Newport, R.I. on the eve of the inaugural American Athletic Conference football media day about the only familiar site was the scene of watching the lobsters being cooked at the annual clam bake.

Looking around at the coaches, the only holdovers from last year's media day was Louisville's Charlie Strong, Kyle Flood of Rutgers and Paul Pasqualoni of UConn. The three other teams who played in the Big East a season ago feature new coaches as Tommy Tuberville now coaches Cincinnati, Willlie Taggart is the new coach at South Florida and Matt Rhule took over at Temple when Steve Addazio left to take the job at Boston College.

It really hit home how much things have changed in just one year's time seeing players and coaches from Houston, SMU, Memphis and Central Florida walking around. Tomorrow morning it will become even more of a reality when the predicted order of finish is announced. It will be interesting to see where the teams coming in from Conference USA will figure into the balloting. I am not one of the media members who gets a vote but if I did get to cast a vote, I would say that Central Florida is the best of those four teams. I might even be tempted to put UCF into the third spot behind Louisville and Cincinnati and just ahead of Rutgers. It will also be interesting to see where UConn falls in the predicted order of finish. Coming off back to back 5-7 seasons, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Huskies fall somewhere between 6-8.

As for the Huskies, they will be represented by quarterback Chandler Whitmer, offensive guard Steve Greene and defensive back Byron Jones at tomorrow's media day festivities.

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