Big East releases 2012 schedule

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With departure of West Virginia to the Big 12 and addition of Temple finalized, the Big East has released its 2012 schedule much to the anticipation of a dozen of you.

(Hey, we’re proud of ya for sticking by your team)

A few things that pop out when glancing over the schedule:

This year’s non-conference slate provides plenty of opportunities, once again, for the Big East to prove its worth. Granted, Syracuse’s Sept. 8 meeting against USC at MetLife Stadium in NJ may not be much of a contest — seeing as the Trojans look to be preseason BCS championship material and all — but the Orange do get the Trojans practically in SU’s backyard.

The biggest priority for the Big East should be, as it is every year, to be competitive with the ACC. Non-conference games against Florida State, Miami, Virginia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina and North Carolina State all provide valuable opportunities.

There will be plenty of eyes on Temple this year to see how the Owls do in their first year in the Big East since being given the hoot boot in 2004. Temple gets four conference home games this year — always a plus — and the home stretch looks on paper to be favorable.

Then again, the Big East is has been unpredictable and filled with parity in recent years (the conference spins it as “wide open”; Bill Stewart called it the “black and blue league.” We’re not that gullible). Overall, the schedule looks pretty balanced, with no one team getting a real advantage over the other. However, the conference does like to back-load games that could potentially decide the conference’s BCS bid. Louisville, Rutgers, Syracuse and Cincinnati all look to be in that mix.

Anyway, without any further delay, here’s how the schedule shakes out:

CINCINNATI
Thu., Sept. 6 PITTSBURGH
Sat., Sept. 15 Delaware State
Sat., Sept. 29 vs. Virginia Tech (FedEx Field, Landover, Md.)
Sat., Oct. 6 Miami (Ohio)
Sat., Oct. 13 Fordham
Sat., Oct. 20 at Toledo
Sat., Oct. 27 at LOUISVILLE
Sat., Nov. 3 SYRACUSE
Sat., Nov. 10 at TEMPLE
Sat., Nov. 17 RUTGERS
Fri., Nov. 23 USF
Sat., Dec. 1 at CONNECTICUT

CONNECTICUT
Thu., Aug. 30 Massachusetts
Sat., Sept. 8 North Carolina State
Sat., Sept. 15 at Maryland
Sat., Sept. 22 at Western Michigan
Sat., Sept. 29 Buffalo
Sat., Oct. 6 at RUTGERS
Sat., Oct. 13 TEMPLE
Fri., Oct. 19 at SYRACUSE
Sat., Nov. 3 at USF
Fri., Nov. 9 PITTSBURGH
Sat., Nov. 24 at LOUISVILLE
Sat., Dec. 1 CINCINNATI

LOUISVILLE
Sat., Sept. 1 Kentucky
Sat., Sept. 8 Missouri State
Sat., Sept. 15 North Carolina
Sat., Sept. 22 at Florida International
Sat., Sept. 29 at Southern Mississippi
Sat., Oct. 13 at PITTSBURGH
Sat., Oct. 20 USF
Fri., Oct. 26 CINCINNATI
Sat., Nov. 3 TEMPLE
Sat., Nov. 10 at SYRACUSE
Sat., Nov. 24 CONNECTICUT
Thu., Nov. 29 at RUTGERS

PITTSBURGH
Sat., Sept. 1 Youngstown State
Thu., Sept. 6 at CINCINNATI
Sat., Sept. 15 Virginia Tech
Sat., Sept. 22 Gardner-Webb
Fri., Oct. 5 at SYRACUSE
Sat., Oct. 13 LOUISVILLE
Sat., Oct. 20 at Buffalo
Sat., Oct. 27 TEMPLE
Sat., Nov. 3 at Notre Dame
Fri., Nov. 9 at CONNECTICUT
Sat., Nov. 24 RUTGERS
Sat., Dec. 1 at USF

RUTGERS
Sat., Sept. 1 at Tulane
Sat., Sept. 8 Howard
Sat., Sept. 15 at USF (date subject to change)
Sat., Sept. 22 at Arkansas
Sat., Oct. 6 CONNECTICUT
Sat., Oct. 13 SYRACUSE
Sat., Oct. 20 at TEMPLE
Sat., Oct. 27 Kent State
Sat., Nov. 10 Army
Sat., Nov. 17 at CINCINNATI
Sat., Nov. 24 at PITTSBURGH
Thu., Nov. 29 LOUISVILLE

USF
Sat., Sept. 1 Chattanooga
Sat., Sept. 8 at Nevada
Sat., Sept. 15 RUTGERS (date subject to change)
Sat., Sept. 22 at Ball State
Sat., Sept. 29 Florida State
Sat., Oct. 6 at TEMPLE
Sat., Oct. 20 at LOUISVILLE
Sat., Oct. 27 SYRACUSE
Sat., Nov. 3 CONNECTICUT
Sat., Nov. 17 at Miami (Fla.)
Fri., Nov. 23 at CINCINNATI
Sat., Dec. 1 PITTSBURGH

SYRACUSE
Sat., Sept. 1 Northwestern
Sat., Sept. 8 Southern California (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.)
Sat., Sept. 15 Stony Brook
Sat., Sept. 22 at Minnesota
Fri., Oct. 5 PITTSBURGH
Sat., Oct. 13 at RUTGERS
Fri., Oct. 19 CONNECTICUT
Sat., Oct. 27 at USF
Sat., Nov. 3 at CINCINNATI
Sat., Nov. 10 LOUISVILLE
Sat., Nov. 17 at Missouri
Fri., Nov. 23 at TEMPLE

TEMPLE
Fri., Aug. 31 Villanova
Sat., Sept. 8 Maryland
Sat., Sept. 22 at Penn State
Sat., Oct. 6 USF
Sat., Oct. 13 at CONNECTICUT
Sat., Oct. 20 RUTGERS
Sat., Oct. 27 at PITTSBURGH
Sat., Nov. 3 at LOUISVILLE
Sat., Nov. 10 CINCINNATI
Sat., Nov. 17 at Army
Fri., Nov. 23 SYRACUSE

Duke starting safety Jeremy McDuffie out indefinitely after surgery on fractured thumb

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What we do know is that Duke will be without its starting piece of its defense.  What we don’t know is for how long.

The football program announced Wednesday that Jeremy McDuffie underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a fractured right thumb.  The junior sustained the injury during a recent Blue Devils practice.

As a result of the injury and subsequent surgery, McDuffie will be sidelined indefinitely.

McDuffie transitioned from cornerback to safety this past spring. Entering summer camp, the defensive back had been listed as a starter for the Blue Devils.  The past two seasons, McDuffie had played in 24 games.

Duke opens the 2017 season Sept. 2 against NC Central.  They will kick off ACC play three weeks later on the road against North Carolina.

Albeit with a disclaimer, Jim Mora doesn’t see Josh Rosen leaving UCLA early for NFL

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Most expect Josh Rosen to be one of the first quarterbacks selected when the next NFL draft rolls around.  Rosen’s coach, though, doesn’t see the outspoken junior being a part of the pool of available draftees.

“My firm belief is that he will not leave,” UCLA head coach Jim Mora told Yahoo SportsPete Thamel over the weekend. “I don’t think he’ll leave. …

“I want a disclaimer, I have an option to change my opinion. But as we sit here right now, I can really honestly say I don’t think he’s going to leave.”

Mora’s proclamation comes less than two weeks before the Bruins kick off the 2017 season and around five months before draft-eligible early entrants have to officially file their paperwork with the NFL.

Rosen flashed brilliance as a true freshman in 2015, passing for nearly 3,700 yards and 23 touchdowns.  His sophomore campaign was marred by a nerve issue in his throwing shoulder that sidelined him for the final six games of the season.  Rosen has resoundingly rebounded from that health issue, and will head into the 2017 season 100-percent healthy.

Whether he enters the 2018 season 100-percent Bruin remains, his head coach’s confidence notwithstanding, highly unlikely or even doubtful, especially given his recent comments that football and school don’t mix.

Report: Call to escort service coincided with a Hugh Freeze recruiting trip

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Not surprisingly, more details are surfacing in Hugh Freeze‘s unceremonious exit from Oxford.

Freeze resigned as the head football coach at Ole Miss last month in part because of Jan. 19 phone call to an escort service that was initially deemed to be a misdial.  According to the Wall Street Journal, that call came a few hours after a university plane landed in Tampa, Fla., as part of a five-day, 13-stop recruiting trip.  On that plane was Freeze as well as other members of the Rebels football staff.

The discovery of the link between the call and recruiting trip came after a review of phone records and other documents.

After Freeze’s “resignation,” Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork described an unspecified pattern of personal misconduct that led to the coach’s departure.  Bjork somewhat expounded on that pattern to the Journal.

Although school officials had previously declined to characterize the alleged misconduct, Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork said in response to questions from the Journal about Freeze’s travel that the university’s investigation uncovered “calls of a similar nature” over the course of several years, often matching up with travel logs showing the coach’s use of the school plane. The school said it examined his travel logs from peak recruiting times—often November, December and January—when Freeze would travel out of state, using the school plane and other public resources.

“When we say pattern, we are describing other phone numbers that when you Google them pull up similar type websites, services, however you would describe them,” Bjork said. “We took action swiftly.

Speculation of late has there being more, potentially much more, to Freeze’s forced resignation.  Only time will tell how much more will ultimately come out — especially if another former Ole Miss head coach’s lawsuit, kicked out of federal court for lack of jurisdiction, is revived in the state of Mississippi as expected.

Reports: ankle injury likely to keep WR Michael Pittman out of USC’s opener

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In his college football preview Bible, the great Phil Steele had Michael Pittman listed as one of three starting wide receivers for USC.  With the start of a new season a little more than two weeks away, Pittman doesn’t appear set to make that magazine projection come to fruition.

According to multiple reports, Pittman suffered an ankle injury during practice Tuesday and was taken off the field via a cart after having a boot placed on his left foot.  While X-rays taken post-practice showed no break or fracture, the sophomore has been diagnosed with the dreaded high-ankle sprain.

As a result, the Los Angeles Daily News writes that “[i]t seems unlikely he would be able to play against Western Michigan.” Rivals.com tweeted that the injury “[p]robably keeps him out of season opener.”

At least for now, the football program has yet to officially rule Pittman out for the opener.

Pittman was a four-star 2016 recruit, rated as the No. 9 receiver in the country.  As a true freshman last season, he caught six passes for 82 yards.