The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

October 6, 2011

Big East drops the ball, again

By Dave Morrison
Sports Editor

— Not to get up on a soapbox — or continue with the rumor and innuendo that is conference expansion, all of which now has about as much intrigue as a bowl of spoiled milk, and smells about as good  — but the Big East has got to be kidding.

Certainly they jest.

West Virginia freshman Dustin Garrison was not the offensive player of the week?

And Pitt’s Ray Graham was?

Surely, the Big East has a real sense of humor. Or the conference that keeps on losing has once again dropped the ball.

The latter sounds about right, because there isn’t a whole lot of jocularity in the Big East Conference offices these days.

Not after the ACC plucked away Pitt and Syracuse, two more Big East teams, right under the nose of Commissioner John Marinatto.

This conference on life support could watch 20 episodes of “Seinfeld” back-to-back and not crack a smile.

You’d think that the conference would have a little bit of attitude when it comes to the ship jumpers.

If the Big East really wanted to stick it to the man, it very easily could have named Garrison the offensive player of the week.

Then again, who could argue? I think Garrison earned the honor.

Given a chance to do the right thing and make it known that those leaving aren’t going to be given anything, the Big East struck out. Twice.

Garrison got WVU’s once moribund running game off and, well, running, last week when he ran for 291 yards and two touchdowns in the Mountaineers’ 55-10 win over Bowling Green.

That mark tied Kerry Marbury for second most in a game, behind only Kay-Jay Harris.

It was also the freshman record, breaking Pat White’s 220 (Garrison did that in the first half).

It is also the most by a FBS running back this season.

All of which means nothing to the Big East.

Look, Graham put up 226 yards and a couple of scores in the Panthers’ win over South Florida Thursday. I’m not denying that. It was a conference win, and it wasn’t against Bowling Green, as was Garrison’s record-breaking performance Saturday.

But the fact of the matter remains: Pitt is out, ACC-bound after paying a chump-change $5 million buyout and, supposedly, waiting the two or so years it is contractually obligated to do before departing the conference (as if that will happen).

Like I said, I don’t even think that it would have been sticking it to Pitt necessarily, though Panther fans could have cried foul after Graham did his work against South Florida.

 Garrison earned the honor on the field for all the record-setting reasons I mentioned, all for which he made the Big East Honor Roll. Whoop-tee-do.

I doubt if Garrison even cares.

And you know WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen cares even less. He’s too busy game-planning for UConn and chewing out half of the fan base for not showing up at last week’s Bowling Green game.

In the long run, who earned a Big East honor last week will matter very little.

But once again, given the chance to make a statement, the Big East dropped the ball.

Why am I not surprised?

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