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May 15, 2008

A local Fox station in Memphis reported that Memphis and the Big East were hot and heavy in negotiations to have the Tigers join.

Ever since the Memphis Tigers got left behind in the Great Bum Rush to leave Conference USA– also known as the Big East expansion in 2003– Tiger fans have had one singular goal. To follow their old rivals from Louisville, and Cincinnati to the greener pastures of the Big East.

And here’s where it gets interesting.

Sources have confirmed to FOX13 Sports that University of Memphis officials have been in serious talks with the Big East about joining the conference.

Of course the Big East is denying this story.

…Big East spokesman John Paquette to track down these rumors that Memphis might join the Big East and he categorically denied them.

“No truth,” Paquette said by phone from Rhode Island. “I saw the clip. It’s a TV report with no named sources. No one from the University of Memphis. No on-the-record sources. We’ve been down this road. We are not talking about expansion with any institution.”

Repeat after me, there won’t be any expansion until there is a split of the conference between the football schools and the basketball only schools.

So in one of the latest too soon to be taken seriously pre-season rankings, Pitt came in at #19 by Mark Schlabach at ESPN.com.

Bill Stull, who injured his thumb in the 2007 opener and missed the rest of the season, moved ahead in the battle for the starting quarterback job. Stull came back with a stronger arm and better mobility. If the Panthers can establish a passing game to balance LeSean McCoy’s running, the offense could be pretty explosive. Linebacker Scott McKillop, the top tackler in Division I-A in 2007, leads a defense budding with confidence after upsetting West Virginia 13-9 in last season’s finale.

Which he essentially repeats in his list of things to wait and see with the Big East this season as counter point to Ivan Maisel.

Can Pittsburgh parlay its stunning 13-9 upset of West Virginia at the end of 2007 into a bowl appearance this coming season? Dave Wannstedt hasn’t led his alma mater to the postseason during his four-year tenure, but the Panthers might be among the country’s biggest surprises. If Bill Stull can produce a consistent passing game, Pittsburgh will be well balanced with LeSean McCoy running the football.

Um, it’s only 3 years so far.

In a quickie review of all the BE teams, Pitt is listed as having answers at QB (Bill Stull), the O-line (with Malecki moving to Right Guard form the D-line and Joe Thomas over to Right Tackle), and the Defensive End (well one side with Greg Romeus anyways).

The questions remain at linebacker depth, experience at QB and whether Pitt can continue the momentum.

Is there nothing else right now?

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