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Posted: Wednesday October 22, 2008 12:28PM; Updated: Wednesday October 22, 2008 4:42PM
Stewart Mandel Stewart Mandel >
COLLEGE FOOTBALL MAILBAG

Big 12 vs. SEC, Urban's NFL prospects and more (cont.)

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Kaitlin Olson
Who ever said the Mailbag Crush had to be The Bachelorette?
Paul Schefz/FX
Stewart Mandel's Mailbag
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Stewart: Now that Kaitlin Olson is getting married, should she be excused from her duties as Mailbag Crush? I motion that you proclaim Mailbag Crushes to be single women only.
-- Ian, Dallas

Wait just a second there, Ian. First of all, Kaitlin and her co-star/Always Sunny creator, Rob McElhenney, did in fact get married in late September. I'm sure most of you assumed she'd call off the wedding after meeting me in L.A., but alas, no dice.

However, there is precedent for this. Jenna Fischer was married during her stint as Crush, as was Crush-for-like-three-weeks Elizabeth Banks (who, you may have noticed, is currently co-starring in almost every movie in theaters).

Also ... Kaitlin is fine with it. I asked (among other things) in this long-awaited Crush update:

Stewart: So, Kaitlin, you're officially off the market now. Tell us what the wedding was like. Did you or any of our favorite Always Sunny actors do anything drunkenly embarrassing at the reception?

Kaitlin: I'm a married lady! I feel old. I'll have to start cheating soon. I think that should help me feel young again. The wedding was amazing! Of course there was drunkedness, but no one did anything embarrassing. The five of us slow-danced to the Sunny theme song.

Stewart: Judging by my inbox, everyone seems to be loving the new season. What are some highlights to look for the rest of the way?

Kaitlin: I'm glad people are enjoying it! I think it's been a pretty fun season so far. Let's see -- what's coming up ... Sweet Dee and Charlie decide to "walk a mile in each other's shoes." You see some amazing guest performances by Sinbad and Rob Thomas. Oh, and we do an episode set in 1776. I may or may not be a witch.

Stewart: What has gotten you more recognition lately? The Mailbag Crush (which I saw came up in another interview) or PatheticGirl43's video diaries?

Kaitlin: Are you kidding? Mailbag Crush. I can't even go to the grocery store without being surrounded by screaming men thrusting pens and footballs into my face to sign. Most of them are crying.

Stewart: Your favorite football team can't seem to keep its quarterbacks healthy. As someone who's endured her fair share of injuries lately [a broken foot last year and broken back earlier this year], do you have any advice for Oregon?

Kaitlin: Ugghh ... they are embarrassing me. My advice? Stop getting hurt! I'm allowed to do that. I am an idiot with no athletic ability and bones like breadsticks. This is your one job! Pull it together! They have to play well against ASU this week, we need a win.

Stewart: Finally, I'm sure the Mailbag audience wishes you and Rob a long and happy life together. But does this affect our Crush relationship? I can't handle anymore restraining orders.

Kaitlin: Nah. Rob relies on other peoples' opinions of me to decide whether or not I'm good enough for him. You're saving our relationship. Thank you.

With the decline of the Big East this year, is Notre Dame a lock for the Gator Bowl? They should be around 8-4 and obviously a larger draw than the second-place Big East team.
-- Ned Moraghan, Clark, N.J.

Yes, I think that's a safe assumption. The Gator Bowl is in the third year of a four-year contract where, over these final two seasons, it can take the Big East's No. 2 team one year and the Big 12's No. 4 team the other. The Irish have been unavailable the past two years, first by reaching the BCS, then by going 3-9. There are obviously a lot of quality Big 12 teams this year, and theoretically the Gator could take one of them and hope the Irish will be available again next year, but if they're of the same belief as most Notre Dame fans that the young, improving Irish will be back in BCS contention by next year, that's probably not a gamble they're willing to take. Notre Dame is too big a draw to pass up, especially since their fans figure to be extra psyched for the trip after spending last New Year's at home.

That said, Notre Dame is no lock to finish 8-4. They'll need to beat either Pittsburgh or Boston College -- both currently ranked teams -- to avoid having four losses going into the USC game. The Gator would be hard-pressed to justify taking a 7-5 Notre Dame that finished its season getting waxed by the Trojans over a 10-2 or 9-3 Big 12 team.

As the Boise State football program continues to get stronger, do you think it would ever be possible for Boise State to join the Pac-10, even if only in football? Why not let them replace Washington State? Hypothetically, how do you think Boise State would do in the Pac-10?
-- Richard, Boise

As I've said many times in this space before, the Pac-10 is not going to expand anytime soon. It loves tradition, it loves its current membership and it thumbs its nose at any potential invitee that doesn't stack up academically with its other schools. (According to the all-powerful US News & World Report rankings, Boise State is a "Tier 3" school; besides Oregon State, every other Pac-10 school is considered "Tier 1" or "Tier 2.") And while Washington State may be miserable right now, they're the only Pac-10 school besides USC to appear in multiple Rose Bowls over the past 12 years.

What Boise State does have a chance at is joining the Mountain West. The school has been openly lobbying for membership for some time, and there have been some subtle indications recently that this is becoming a more imminent possibility. That league's commissioner, Craig Thompson, recently acknowledged that his members have been informally discussing expansion possibilities for the first time since adding TCU in 2004.

The 10-year-old league has always taken a cautious approach to expansion, but at the same time it's always coveted an automatic berth to the BCS. With its success against the Pac-10 this season and accompanying increase in exposure, you've got to think the league believes that adding another nationally recognized team like Boise State would push it that much closer to mainstream acceptance. It would also be a better fit for the Broncos. They're never going to compete year-in, year-out with USC but would be an annual title contender in the Mountain West.

If Oklahoma and Texas win out, and Penn State and Alabama each lose a game, is there any BCS regulation preventing an Oklahoma-Texas rematch in the BCS championship game?
--Jason Denis, Cochrane, Alberta

Nope.

I know nobody has been paying attention to the Vols this season, but don't you think Eric Berry is putting up Heisman worthy numbers? He just broke the SEC record for career interception return yards with 10 interceptions for 397 yard, and he's only a sophomore. He's had three interceptions in his last three games for 41, 54, and 72 yards.
-- Tripp, Knoxville, Tenn.

Berry is a phenomenal player, no doubt about it, but don't you think it would be kind of a waste for a Tennessee cornerback to win the Heisman this year? He's got two seasons of eligibility left after this one. He should wait until a year when he can beat out a Michigan quarterback.

 
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