Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Big East preseason rankings

1. Rutgers
Th Scarlet Knight finished tied for second with Pitt and West Virginia last year and they won their final six games, including the PapaJohns.com Bowl. All-time leading passer Mike Teel and receivers Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood are gone but it's not outlandish to say Rutgers still has the most talent in the conference. All five starters on the offensive line return and left tackle Anthony Davis is one of the best in college football.

Rutgers opens its season versus Cincinnati on Monday, Sept. 7 at home. Pitt, South Florida and West Virginia all play at Rutgers. That's what makes them the favorite.

2. Pitt
Media selected the Panthers as conference favorites in a preseason poll and it's understandable. The Panthers won nine games a year ago – the first time that's happened at Pitt since 1982. Four starters return on the offensive line and the defense should be the best in the Big East. Questions at quarterback and on special teams could cost the Panthers a spot in the BCS.

3. West Virginia
Wouldn't be shocked if West Virginia won the conference or turned into the league's biggest disappointment. Running back Noel Devine is the Big East's most dynamic offensive player and quarterback Jarrett Brown is a capable replacement for Pat White. The Mountaineers need playmakers on defense. Don't see many there.

4. Cincinnati
The Bearcats represented the Big East in the BCS last year, losing to Virginia Tech at the Orange Bowl and looking overmatched in the process. Quarterback Tony Pike is back and, with all apologies to South Florida's Matt Grothe, the league's best at the position. No doubt Cincinnati is improving under head coach Brian Kelly but it lost too many top players to repeat last year's performance.

5. South Florida

Sure, the Bulls have quarterback Matt Grothe and All-American defensive end George Selvie, but this team plays its best football in September. There's no reason to believe South Florida breaks the trend.

6. Connecticut
If there's a team in the second half of these rankings which could make a major move upward, it's the Huskies. All-American running back Donald Brown is with the Indianapolis Colts but senior Andre Dixon rushed for 828 yards in 2007. Trinity High School graduate Cody Endres is the Huskies' No. 2 quarterback.

7. Louisville
The Cardinals went from emerging national power – they won the Orange Bowl three years ago – to Big East stepping stone the minute current Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino left campus for the Atlanta Falcons. Head coach Steve Kragthorpe is on the hot seat.

8. Syracuse
The Big East's worst team made its biggest headline during the offseason when former Duke point guard Greg Paulus joined the Orange for one year of football. He's the starting quarterback and was once considered one of the top high school players in the country.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Captain Cocktail said...

I think it'll boil down to West Virginia and South Florida. Rutgers,,is well Rutgers and Pitt is hurting in the offensive skills positions.

September 3, 2009 at 1:52 PM  

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