Questions...But No Answers

June 13, 2005

By Brian Curtis

I've had a lot of time to think lately, which for me can be a dangerous thing. I've been thinking about how hot it is in New York, why the Detroit Pistons look so bad, whether Hillary will run in 2008 and so many other pressing issues. But when it comes down to the real questions, the ones in college football and basketball, I just don't have the answers. But I'll give it a shot.


College Football:

  1. Will LSU ever find a starting quarterback? After speaking with those in the know, the new coaching staff has still not settled on a signal caller. Everyone was waiting for JaMarcus Russell to jump out in spring practice but it didn't happen. We're still waiting for his breakout year. He has great arm strength but needs to improve his decision making. If Russell doesn't cut it, there's always incoming freshmen Ryan Perrilloux, who some rated the No. 1 player in the nation coming out of high school. But can an SEC team compete for a title with a freshman QB? Tennessee learned the answer last year. Maybe we'll find an answer before the Tigers open against North Texas. Maybe not.

  1. Can Justin Zwick lead Ohio State to the Rose Bowl? After splitting time with Troy Smith in 2004, Zwick is clearly the man heading into 2005. Smith's suspension for taking money from a booster last year didn't help his cause, but he'll be right there if Zwick falters. The OSU offensive line will be better, which will help, as will a much-improved running game with Antonio Pittman. The Buckeyes' schedule, which includes a huge non-conference game early on against Texas, is not easy. Zwick must be more accurate on his throws and make better decisions in order to cut it - don't be surprised if we see the two-man QB system again.

  1. Will the Big East be as bad as many insist? Simply, no. Some critics (including myself) have jumped on the weaknesses of the Big East, but I think we're wrong to make it out as a doomsday scenario. Yes, Boston College is gone, as are Miami and Virginia Tech, but West Virginia is still strong, Pitt went to a BCS game last year and Syracuse will get better under new coach Greg Robinson. Not to menton that Louisville enters the fold and could be a Top Ten team. So, the Big East won't be good, but they won't be bad. See why there are questions?

College Basketball:


  1. Does Villanova really have a shot at a national title in 2005-2006? You bet. Don't be surprised to find them ranked in the Top Five in many preseason polls. They are loaded, with all of their top six players returning. When healthy, Jason Fraser is a stud, and I love the way Mike Nardi runs the offense. There's also Randy Foye, Allan Ray, Will Sheridan, Kyle Lowry and Curtis Sumpter. If it weren't for a bad traveling call, the Wildcats might have beaten eventual champion North Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen. This is the year for `Nova to return to the Final Four.

  1. How far will Kansas fall? Now that's a great question. Who knows? Last year's senior-laden Jayhawks squad, which featured Keith Langford, Aaron Miles and Wayne Simien, disappointed with an upset loss to Bucknell. They'll have J.R. Giddens back, but he is erratic. Bill Self has a stellar recruiting class and can expect to see freshmen getting significant minutes. Kansas could go either way: they could cherish the role of underdog and surprise many, or they could take a step back with a young team.

  1. What is the impact of Dee Brown's broken ankle? By most accounts, the All-American is headed back to Champaign, after suffering the devastating injury at the NBA pre-draft camp in Chicago. It's a shame for Brown, but I'm sure many Illini fans are secretly smiling. Be warned: Illinois, even with Brown, will not be the same. There will be no Deron Williams, no Luther Head, no Roger Powell, just to name a few. Brown's ability to dish the ball will diminish with less talent around him. He may try to do too much, and he will get double-teamed by opponents. This will be a tough season in Champaign.

Brian Curtis serves as an analyst and insider in all of CSTV's football programming and is CSTV's Senior Editor. To ask Brian a question or comment on his column, e-mail him at Read Brian's latest insiders' book, Every Week A Season, on sale now at all major bookstores and online.



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