Rodriguez To UNC?

By Adam Caparell - October 30, 2006

All the talk of the college football world this week will be about West Virginia and Louisville, and rightfully so. Two undefeated, top 5 teams with national championship aspirations will face off with the loser left in the dark of title contention.

But only a few short days before the showdown in Louisville, West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez has faced questions about, of all things, his future in Morgantown.

That’s because Rodriguez’s name has been mentioned among the list of potential candidates who could replace John Bunting at North Carolina.

While Rodriguez expressed no interest in the job, he didn’t exactly shoot down the idea of leaving Morgantown for Chapel Hill Monday.

“Anytime any coaches on your staff, or yourself, gets mentioned, it’s very flattering,” Rodriguez said. “It’s not something I’ve ever viewed as a distraction. This is a great place to coach. I’ve always said this is a great place to coach. You take this job as if it's the last job you'll ever have, and I think I've always taken that approach and I'm taking it now.

“Never say never to something. I’m focused, obviously, right now on our season. After the season I’m sure I’ll sit down with our people here and discuss with my family if anything is interesting at that point,” Rodriguez said. “But right now, I’m so busy worrying about Louisville I’m not worrying about anything else.”

It’d be surprising to see Rodriguez leave West Virginia – his alma mater – and arguably the top program in the Big East for one of the ACC’s bottom rung teams.

Rodriguez reportedly received a three-year contract extension, at $1 million a year, in June, but North Carolina wasn’t paying Bunting that much and, chances are, it’s next coach won’t be making that much either.

- Count Rutgers running back Ray Rice among the millions who will be tuned into Thursday’s Louisville-West Virginia game. And make no mistake; he’ll be strictly watching the game between the Nos. 3 and 5 teams in the nation as a fan.

“We’re going to have that game on film anyway, so on Thursday I guess I’ll just watch the game and see what happens,” Rice said.

Of course, Rice and his teammates will have extra incentive to watch the action closely. The Scarlet Knights will face their toughest test of the season when they host Louisville a week later and close out their season against West Virginia on the road.

This week’s game against the Cardinals and Mountaineers will mark the beginning of a three week stretch that will feature big Big East matchups every Thursday night: WVU-Louisville this week, Louisville-Rutgers Nov. 9 and WVU-Pitt Nov. 18.

Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt agreed that Thursday nights are becoming to college football what Monday Night Football is to the NFL.

“It’s similar because there’s nothing on TV during the day,” Wannstedt said. “But it’s good anytime you can play on national TV. Besides the prime games on Saturday, if you ask the general public Thursday night has become a college night.”

But UConn coach Randy Edsall hates playing on Thursday night, or any other day not named Saturday and hasn’t been shy in the past about letting his displeasure on the subject he known.

“Personally, I’d rather play on Saturday all the time for the whole purpose of what we talk about with student-athletes,” Edsall said.

Those Wednesday and Sunday games Edsall wants no part of, but he knows it allows the conference to be showcased. UConn lost to Rutgers Sunday night, a game that was moved to accommodate ESPN’s new Sunday night college football package.

The game ended around 11:30 pm and the Huskies didn’t get back to Storrs until 3:30 am. Edsall said it’s unfair to his players who have to get up and go to class early in the morning before their afternoon full of football.

“If we really want to do what’s best for the student-athletes, there has to be a line drawn somewhere,” Edsall said.

Fantasy Update blew out Pro Football Weekly, 142-34, to move one game above .500 and into a first-place tie with PFW in the Experts League Western Division. Brady Quinn and Antonio Pittman cleaned up the points Saturday and lost its earlier meeting with PFW and has two games remaining game against sub-.500 teams in and

Posted by Adam Caparell at 04:29 PM on October 30, 2006

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