Blog Entry

Picking the Big East

Posted on: June 23, 2009 11:51 am
Edited on: June 24, 2009 2:12 am

Sometimes you feel like the smartest person in the college football world.

Sometimes you throw darts.

Welcome to the Big East where all you need is flexible wrist. Don't worry about a bulls eye. Anywhere, you throw it, you could be a winner. Since 2003 eight different schools have claimed at least a share of the Big East title. A lot of that has to do with realignment after ACC expansion. But the conference remains perhaps the most competitive BCS conference.

Last season six of the eight teams made it to a bowl. In 2006-2007, three Big East teams had made it to the top three in the polls. With only eight teams, the league had one less NFL draft pick (27) than the Big Ten's 11 teams (28).

The demise of the Big East was greatly exaggerated. In the four years since realignment it is 3-1 in BCS bowls.

A case can be made for at least four schools being good enough to win the league this season.

Picking the Big East ...

1. Rutgers -- This dart lands in Piscataway. The Scarlet Knights will go to their first BCS game mostly because they have the league's most favorable schedule. Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, South Florida and West Virginia have to come up the Jersey Turnpike.  Even though Greg Schiano loses his quarterback (Mike Teel) and two best receivers (Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood), there is enough talent to fill in. All five starters are back on the offensive line, including 325-pound NFL prospect Anthony Davis at left tackle. Schiano gave up his play-calling duties on defense, handing them over to assistants Bob Fraser and Ed Pinkham. The pressure will be on but the Knights have time to wade into the deep end. They get Howard, Florida International and Texas Southern at home before playing their second Big East game. The momentum created by a seven-game winning streak to end '08 will carry over with 16 returning starters.

2. South Florida -- It helps to have the Big East's best offensive (quarterback Matt Grothe) and defensive (George Selvie) players. The offense gets more of a pure spread with the promotion of Mike Canales to offensive coordinator. Grothe might have to use those magic legs more than ever with only one returning starter on the offensive line. Selvie can be a freak at times off the edge. He slipped back in '08 after 14 1/2 sacks in 2007. The Bulls must learn to finish. They started 6-0 in '07 and 5-0 in '08. If they are going to get off to a similar start this season they must win at Florida State on Sept. 26.

3. Pittsburgh -- I really want to pick the Panthers to win. I really do. Dave Wannstedt might have the most talented team in the league but he will have to prove it. The loss of tailback Sean McCoy to the NFL was a killer. Early enrollee Dion Lewis has a shot at the job. If senior Bill Stull doesn't hold onto the quarterback job (nine touchdowns, 10 interceptions, there's always junior Pat Bostick. The defense will be stout again with Mick Williams at defensive tackle. Linebacker Adam Gunn returns for a sixth year of eligibility after breaking his neck in the '08 season opener. Wanny has stockpiled talent with three consecutive top 25 recruiting classes. Coming off a nine-win season, he needs to take the next step and win a bowl game in his fifth year at Pittsburgh.

4. Cincinnati -- The Bearcats were lucky enough to hold onto coach Brian Kelly. The ultimate coaching ladder climber (three jobs since 2003), recently signed an extension through 2013. If Kelly sticks around long enough, Kelly could make Cincinnati into a watered down version of Miami in the old Big East, an urban school waiting to bust out. In his second full season, Kelly produced 11 wins, a conference title and an Orange Bowl berth. Injuries forced Kelly to use five quarterbacks last season. The survivor, senior Tony Pike, is back. He'll throw to Marty Gilyard, the leading returning receiver in the league.

5. West Virginia -- Sorry, West Virginians. You lose Pat White and your prospects don't improve. White was one of the Big East's best-ever players and perhaps the best player in West Virginia history. The slippery quarterback cannot be fully replaced, but Jarrett Brown will give it a shot. The senior gets his shot to start in his final season. The 6-foot-4 Brown is more of a physical dual-threat quarterback. What Brown can't do, tailback Noel Devine can. After rushing for almost 2,000 yards in his first two seasons, this could be Devine's breakout year. A Heisman run wouldn't be surprise. The Mountaineers will have to win at least nine again to make it happen. That could be a struggle.

6. Connecticut -- UConn forces you to pay attention. The basketball team has a higher profile. In a league of football overachievers, it is not the first option. South Florida is in its 13th year of existence, but UConn has been in I-A only seven years. The country had to pay attention last season.  Donald Brown led the country in rushing, the Huskies blew out conference champ Cincinnati and won eight games. Coach Randy Edsall's name continued to pop up for higher profile jobs. Edsall stayed. However, Brown is gone to the NFL so don't expect another 2,000-yard season. Notre Dame transfer Zach Frazer will take over at quarterback throwing to 5-9 Kashif Moore, the team's leading receiver.

7. Louisville -- This has to be a make or break season for Steve Kragthorpe. He is 11-13 in two years. Last season crashed with a five-game losing streak. The once powerful offense is now struggling. Tailback Victor Anderson rushed for 1,000 yards but only 207 of those came in the last four games. Louisville desperately needs something good to happen. The schedule is not kind. In consecutive weeks the Cardinals play at Kentucky, at Utah, Pittsburgh, Southern Miss, at UConn and at Cincinnati.

8. Syracuse -- If Doug Marrone's work ethic could be transformed into wins, the Orange would be back in a major bowl. Cuse Nation is excited about one of their own taking over. Still, Marrone is a rookie head coach inheriting a train wreck. The new coach has embraced Syracuse traditions. Redshirt freshman Ryan Nassib was named starter in spring practice but there is the small matter of a former Duke guard in the mix. This was a good place for Greg Paulus to land. A one-year cameo could get the Cuse back on track. Before missing last season for academic reasons, Mike Williams caught 60 passes in '07 and was second-team all-Big East. The defense finished last in the conference in total defense. Look to the Jones brothers for improvement. Senior Arthur is a defensive tackle who has 31 1/2 career tackles for loss. His brother Chandler is an end who could get into the lineup as a redshirt freshman.



Since: Jun 9, 2008
Posted on: June 24, 2009 1:54 pm

Picking the Big East

Maybe youre not old enough to remmeber when we were number 2 in the country and RU had to pull out fake punts/fieldgoals to beat us?!  Still Dirty Jersey
Plus I just dont see how RU is that good after losing key guys, Teel?

Since: Mar 16, 2008
Posted on: June 24, 2009 1:51 pm

Picking the Big East

"Redshirt freshman Ryan Nassib was named starter in spring practice but there is the small matter of a former Duke guard in the mix."

Paulus played guard at Duke.  In case you missed the last four years of college basketball.

Since: Mar 27, 2007
Posted on: June 24, 2009 1:51 pm

Picking the Big East

and we have the hardest schedule in the Big East! Away at FSU home against Miami, while other BE schools playing Kentucky and FIU...please.

USF has the 2nd easiest OOC in the Big East...FSU, Miami, Western Kentucky, and 2 1-AA's? Replace FSU with Army, and this would be the equivalent of the pile of crap that is Rutgers OOC.


Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: June 24, 2009 1:47 pm

Picking the Big East

Away at FSU home against Miami, while other BE schools playing Kentucky and FIU...Yeah, like FSU and Miami have been powerhouses of late....10 years ago I would of agreed with you.  I think going to (WVU's OCS) Auburn and playing home to Colorado and East Carolina compares to your OCS, maybe tougher IMO. Plus we have to go to USF, Rutgers, and Cinnci.  WVU by far has the toughest scedule in the BE.  USF fades out every year, and why would it be any different this year?  Grothe is still there.

Since: Mar 27, 2007
Posted on: June 24, 2009 1:47 pm

Picking the Big East

heading to The Dirty Jersey school gonna need more than trick plays to beat us this time! GO BULLS!

I don't recall too many trick plays last year....

If Rutgers is laughable, how laughable is it to pick the school Rutgers beat by 30+? And at your own place at that?

Since: Jun 9, 2008
Posted on: June 24, 2009 1:40 pm

R U Kidding Me?

Almost Laughable that Rutgers will win the BE, I think they get upset by FIU early and dreams get crushed. Like Dodd said the Big East is wide open every year. Obivsouly im going with the BULLS to win it all, Grothe is a senior and has proven to be dangerous with arm and legs, Selvie is going to have a lot more help on the D-line and not be doubled team every down, Mike ford needs to have his break-out year already lookin like a stud after dropping weight and gaining even more speed, offensive should have a new look and not be so flat when it matters, and we have the hardest schedule in the Big East! Away at FSU home against Miami, while other BE schools playing Kentucky and FIU...please. This year we finally have bye weeks before our Thursday night games which we are infamous for losing (not this year) 7-0 heading to The Dirty Jersey school gonna need more than trick plays to beat us this time! GO BULLS!

Since: Mar 27, 2007
Posted on: June 24, 2009 1:34 pm

Picking the Big East

They were forgettable in the 3 games I saw last year; but then again I watched Rutgers lose to Fresno St., UNC, and WVU. I guess they did better when they played Army, Syracuse, Louisville, USF and Morgan State. LMAO.

No. Actually Morgan State completely shut down Rutgers rush offense. More then any team in the BE did...

Assuming Morgan State's run defense isn't better then WVU's, Cincy's, UNC, and Pitt, maybe Rutgers got better running the ball once they settled on an O-Line, and the QB play improved?

Regardless, I think it comes down to Pitt, WVU, and Rutgers this year. Right now, that's probably the order I'd rank them.

Since: Jun 14, 2009
Posted on: June 24, 2009 1:33 pm

Picking the Big East

Remember how a few years ago Kentucky fans were bashing Louisville for going to the GMAC Bowl every year.  But while we were in probation, you guys were going bowling, and we weren't.  Then one season you screwed around and won the Orange Bowl.  So now, Kentucky has a 2 game winning streak over Louisville, has won 3 straight bowl games, and is winning every major recruiting battle agianst Louisville.  And Louisville is hating on us for going to smaller bowls.  But at least we're playing and winning bowl games.  I look for Kentucky to again blow Louisville out, and proceed to win 8 or 9 games and go to the Outback or Chick Fil A Bowl.  Plus every team in the SEC except Miss St, Vandy, and maybe Auburn could probably win the Big East this season.

Go Cats
The Streak Ends This Year

Baahhhaaahaaa!  So, Kentucky is going to win 8 or 9 games, huh?  Well, I would like you to tell me who the 8 or 9 wins will be against?  The MAX that I think they could win is 7 games.  That assumes that you beat Miamia(Oh), Louisville, Auburn, LA Monroe, Miss State, Eastern Kentucky, and Vandy.  Of those games, I think you lose AT LEAST one of them . . . maybe more.  I see Kentucky going 6-6 this season.  Winning 8 or 9 games is really unrealistic in my opinion.  Obviously, you see it differently.  So, show me the 8 or 9 wins on the Wildcats' schedule.  I am curious as to what you will say.  This is how I see it playing out:

vs. Miami (Oh)  in Cincy . . . Redhawks are in a rebuilding process, should be a . . .  W
vs. LOUISVILLE . . . Cardinals are also rebuilding and since the game is in Lexington, Cats should be 2-0 . . .  W
vs FLORIDA . . . do I even need to say anything here, Florida wins in a blowout . . . L
vs. ALABAMA . . . I think this is a close game, but Bama prevails . . . L 
@ S. Carolina . . . Carolina is going to be improved and I think they win in Columbia . . . L
@ Auburn . . . this game will be a toss up, but Auburn's defense wins in the plains . . . L
vs. LA MONROE. . . get back on the winning track, but it will be closer than most think . . . W
vs. MISS STATE . . . gotta give ya the edge here, State will be down for a while . . . W
vs. EASTERN KENTUCKY . . . continue the winning streak . . . W
@ VANDY . . . this game will be a toss-up, I'll take the Cats on the road, but could go either way . . . W
@ Georgie . . . Dawgs win between the hedges and they win big . . . L
vs. Tennessee . . . Lane Kiffin sucks, but he is good enough to beat UK . . . L

Since: Oct 4, 2006
Posted on: June 24, 2009 1:33 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Mar 27, 2007
Posted on: June 24, 2009 1:23 pm

Picking the Big East

No way should they have a BCS tie in.  They should be forced to play the WAC or ACC winner for a BCS spot since those conferences are weak too.

Wow...some of you Big 10 fans have gotten real bitter since the Big 10 started sucking.

Anytime you want to compare the BCS record of the BE and B10 and see who the real frauds are, feel free.

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