Posted on: September 7, 2011 3:53 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2011 3:57 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Sit around, ladies and gentlemen, as I prepare to tell you a story from my youth. You see, when I was in the sixth grade, I was my school's sixth grade spelling bee champion. Looking back on it now, it just wasn't an accomplishment that I was ready for at the time. The fame, money and women were just too much for an innocent 11-year old like me to handle.
The notoriety went to my head, and instead of preparing for the district spelling bee, I rested on my laurels. Who needs to prepare when you have the talent that I had? Unfortunately, this attitude is what led me to misspell the word "coincidence" toward the end of the district spelling be. I spelled it "coincedence," and the rest is just a blur of what could have been.
I could have been a champion that day, but instead I fell to the wayside with all the other also-rans. I'm still haunted to this day, often waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat screaming "IT'S C-I-D YOU FOOL!! C-I-D!!"
Hopefully one day I'll be able to get over it, but I can't be sure. It's just unfortunate for me that the imaginary scenario that Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician thought up is just that: imaginary. Oh the glory I could have achieved if only the BCS ran the spelling bee.
If only it had been me destroying that poor little girl's faith in humanity!
Posted on: September 7, 2011 12:25 am
Edited on: September 7, 2011 12:34 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. That makes sense, especially if you don't overthink it (who came up with such an arbitrary number? Is that a hard cutoff? Can we apply for waivers if we want it to be worth 1500 words?). Sometimes, though, a picture only needs to be worth one very long word. Like this picture, for example:
In this instance, for all twelve Big Ten members and their athletic departments' accountants, that one very long word is "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
We kid, we kid. We kid Iowa State because we care.
In all actuality, the Big 12 is on the brink of collapse, and that's theoretically going to leave a lot of programs up in the air. But odds are very good that between the SEC, Pac-12/16, and Big East, there are enough willing participants in expansion that nobody's going to get "left behind" and end up in a non-BCS conference -- not even ISU or KSU.
But for as much of an arms race as the collegiate alignment landscape is about to become, one conference that we can't quite imagine scooping up a bloc of expat Big 12 programs would be the Big Ten, which had several opportunities to push its membership past 12 last year and this year. Remember all the Big East schools that were associated with the Big Ten, only for Jim Delany to hold firm with adding just Nebraska? Think of it like this: Delany decided not to invite schools like Pitt and Syracuse, and not because he was saving a spot for Iowa State instead.
Man, though. Can you imagine? Iowa State to the Big Ten, and Jim Delany proudly bragging to reporters at the press conference that he had just bolstered all the media markets in the western half of Iowa? The stuff of cold-sweat nightmares for everyone involved in the conference, that is.
Thanks to the enterprising reader who sent that terrifying vision of a dystopian future in. It is a work of art. With any luck, Jim Delany will see it, and the fright will cause the rest of his hair to fall out and he won't have that weird long Power Donut 'do going on anymore. The Power Donut works in one length only: tastefully short but conspicuous. Otherwise you start to look like '80s Larry David or Kevin from The Office or Jon Miller and none of these are good looks whatsoever.
Posted on: September 4, 2011 2:57 am
Edited on: September 4, 2011 3:07 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
1) Connecticut finally has an answer at running back. Connecticut does not have a clear-cut answer for quarterback. That was obvious with head coach Paul Pasqualoni's use of Johnny McEntee, Michael Nebrich, and Scott McCummings during the Huskies opener against Fordham. However, the game might have answered the team's concerns about replacing 2010 Big East Player of the Year Jordan Todman. Senior transfer D.J. Shoemate was replaced last minute by redshirt freshman Lyle McCombs because Shoemate got "banged up" in practice late in the week.
The switch could end up having an effect on the Huskies season, because McCombs certainly looked like the best choice possible for starting tailback on Saturday. It was the first collegiate appearance for the Staten Island native, and he made the most of every opportunity. By the time all the damage was done McCombs racked up 141 yards on 24 carries with four touchdowns. Regardless of opponent, those are impressive numbers for anyone's NCAA debut. If McCombs can keep it up, Pasqualoni may have found a great building block for this new chapter of his seasoned career.
2) It's not always pretty, but the Orange get it done. Doug Marrone was celebrated by the Syracuse football community for returning to his alma mater and bringing them back to the postseason. The Orange's 8-win season was considered by many to be a sign of things to come for a once-storied program. However peeling back the shiny reviews of last season reveal a grimy, hard-nosed battle through the regular season. Syracuse simply found ways to win, and most of the time it was not pretty.
With only 20 letterman and over half of his defensive starters gone from that team, the gritty "find a way to win" style appears very much a part of Syracuse football. Wake Forest appeared to have Thursday's game won, and even fans in the Carrier Dome agreed and were heading for the exits as the Orange trailed by 15 points in the 4th quarter. But the fans that stayed got see Ryan Nassib and Antwon Bailey lead the Syracuse offense to 22 straight points in the final quarter + overtime to pull off the win over the visiting Demon Deacons. The Orange may have been slowly reversing the trend of their home struggles, but certainly not the one of winning ugly.
3) USF made a statement to the conference with upset of Notre Dame. Skip Holtz was forced to spend most of his time with the media this past week answering questions about playing at his alma mater and the school where his father spent 11 years as the head coach. But the story of the game ended up being mother nature, with two different delays due to storms in the area. But more than six hours after kickoff, a statement was made with South Florida's 23-20 victory over No. 16 Notre Dame. The Bulls, who have pulled off five straight 8+ win seasons, are ready to compete for a Bit East title.
The Fighting Irish had plenty of internal issues, including a mid-game quarterback switch during one of the delays, but USF showed up unintimidated and prepared. Holtz seemed excited about his defense heading into the season, and Saturday's performance legitimized his sentiments. The Bulls defense forced five Irish turnovers, and found a way to turn them into enough of a lead to secure a huge confidence-booster for a program looking to break through to the elite. Next for the Bulls will be three more non-conference games before kicking off the conference schedule with one of the most difficult challenges on the slate: a road test against Pittsburgh
4.) What the Dana Holgorsen era looks like at West Virginia. We will find this one out Sunday afternoon when the Mountaineers face in-state rival Marshall. Kickoff at 3:30 p.m., check back after the game because this is something we definitely want to learn.
Tags: Antwon Bailey, Big East, Chip Patterson, Cincinnati, Connecticut, D.J. Shoemate, Dana Holgorsen, Johnny McEntee, Jordan Todman, Louisville, Lyle McCombs, Marshall, Michael Nebrich, Notre Dame, Paul Pasqualoni, Pittsburgh, Ryan Nassib, Scott McCummings, Skip Holtz, South Florida, Syracuse, Tino Sunseri, USF, Wake Forest, West Virginia, What I Learned
Posted on: September 2, 2011 10:16 am
Edited on: September 2, 2011 10:43 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
UPDATE: Turns out, Price was cleared by doctors and held out by the coaches.
“I tried to get back in there,” said Price, who had his helmet on and was running on the sideline in hopes of returning. “The doctors said I’d be all right, but the coaches said it’s a long season and there’s no point in further hurting yourself.”
I agree with the long season part, but for a team that is hoping to return to the postseason after a two-year absence, every single win (particularly over FBS opponents) counts.
On the first evening of college football in the 2011 season, it was one of the least hyped games that ended up being arguably the most exciting. Syracuse overcame a 29-14 fourth quarter deficit, rattling off 22 straight points to beat Wake Forest in the Carrier Dome. It was an uplifting win for the Orange, who struggled mightily to get their offense going in the first half and had fans turning towards the exits early in the final period. But the ones who stuck around saw quarterback Ryan Nassib methodically pick apart the Demon Deacons' back seven until running back Antwon Bailey (25 carries, 114 yards, 2 TDs) provided the tying touchdown on a 53-yard scamper down the left sideline.
Things didn't really pickup until fourth quarter for the Orange, when Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price left the game with an injury to his left knee. Price was hit from behind as he let a pass go early in the fourth quarter. At that point in the game the sophomore completed 18 of 31 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns. He was running the spread offense like clockwork and connecting with his wide receivers in space, making a once-touted Syracuse defense look very vulnerable.
But backup quarterback Ted Stachitas could not keep up the production in Price's absence after the injury. Stachitas was held to just six completions for 37 yards and threw an interception over the middle on the first series after Syracuse tied the game at 29.
As strong as Price's play was in the first three quarters, his health appears to be tied directly to the success of the Demon Deacons' offense. The drop-off when Stachitas entered the game was noticeable, as he looked out of sync and uncomfortable making his reads in the pocket under pressure. The school has not made any official announcement on details of Price's injury, or when he is expected back in action. Wake Forest welcomes in-state rival North Carolina State next Saturday in their home opener.
Posted on: August 31, 2011 3:00 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2011 3:44 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Texas A&M announced Wednesday it would apply to join "another conference," a conference that even the tubeworms living without sunlight at the bottom of the Pacific could tell you* is the SEC. The Aggies will certainly-as-certainly-gets make 13 for Mike Slive's league, and since a 13-team conference with one 6-team division and one 7-team division is the college football equivalent of a table with one leg an inch too short, expect the SEC to find a 14th team sooner rather than later.
The question begged by A&M's arrival is this: why now? During Expansionpalooza 2010, Slive and the SEC seemed more than happy to stand pat with the same 12 teams and two divisions that have made them the sport's proverbial 500-pound gorilla, the elephant no one has proven capable of shoving out of the room. But come 2011, when the Aggies called griping about the changes in their neighborhood, Slive was happy to ask them to move into his.
Ask many fans and pundits, and they'll tell you the A&M invite is Slive's preemptive strike against Larry Scott and the Pac-12 and Jim Delany and the Big Ten, the two commissioners and conferences that -- the argument goes -- are poised to usher in the era of 16-team "superconferences," wresting away control of the sport ... if Slive doesn't beat them to the punch.
But adding Texas A&M isn't about what Scott and Delany might have in the future. It's about what they have right now.
Namely, it's about the television networks that those conference have or will have, and that the SEC version that Slive shortsightedly passed on when he signed the league's current deals with CBS and (more to the point where the league network is concerned) ESPN. While the Big Ten Network's revenues skyrocket and the Pac-12's TV revenues are set outdo the SEC's even before the league's network starts airing, the SEC is scheduled to earn the exact same amount in TV money in 2023 they are today ... when the league's contract is already below market value.
Whether the SEC's expansion will give them enough re-negotiation leverage to either get an SEC network off the ground -- or just keep pace with the Pac-12 in base contract value -- remains a matter of conjecture. But if any expansion choice could do it, you'd think Texas A&M would. The Aggies expand the league's "footprint" into Texas, have close ties to the major-major Houston market, have a massive alumni base, and have traditionally been a highly competitive, nationally relevant football program.
But even the Aggies might make not that much of an impact on the SEC's bottom line. Former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson told CNBC this week that "there are smart people at both ESPN and CBS and I would anticipate that they foresaw this type of contingency ... if there's any adjustment to the TV deals, I would anticipate that it would be a very modest adjustment." Pilson wouldn't even guarantee that after A&M's addition, the SEC's per-school revenue distribution would match what it is now.
That may be selling the Aggies short. But it nonetheless speaks to why even after the A&M-SEC marriage, the age of the 16-team superconference is not yet upon us. Conference expansion isn't as simple as adding a team, sitting back, and watching the bottom line swell; that team has to add enough value to offset the significant division of league profits by 13 (and then, inevitably, 14) rather than 12. There's other substantial drawbacks, too: increased travel costs, fewer games for current members against their existing rivals**, stiffer competition for the league's limited number of national broadcasts (and, you know, championships).
Which is why "superconferences" likely remain firmly in the distant -- rather than the near -- future. If it takes adding Syracuse and Rutgers for the Big Ten to get up to 16 teams, why would they bother? If the new-look Pac-16 includes the likes of Fresno State or even Boise State -- still not exactly a major-market media powerhouse -- that's not exactly going to force Slive's hand. And assuming the SEC's "gentleman's agreement" not to expand into current SEC states is still intact, who would Slive pull for teams No. 15 and 16? The current whispers are that if Virginia Tech stands by its ACC man (as they say they will), the SEC could look at N.C. State--a member that would give the SEC the Raleigh TV market but (with all due respect) wouldn't have Scott and Delany crying into their respective beers.
The one scenario that could overturn the whole apple cart is Texas deciding to listen to Scott's overtures this go-round and dragging the likes of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State with them. But given the Longhorns' already-substantial investment in the Longhorn Network, here's a guess that neither they nor ESPN is going to like sharing their rare live content with the partially Fox-owned Pac-12 Network. And if the Longhorns either stay committed to the Big 12 or go independent, the Pac-12 could add some value by snapping up the Sooners and Cowboys ... but again, are there enough schools out there to justify going to 16?
When even adding A&M to go from 12 to 13 isn't a hands-down slam-dunk for the SEC -- and given that it's a backwards-looking desperation move motivated by the need to repair an earlier mistake, not a forward-looking "gotta do it" type of decision, how can it be? -- the guess here is that no, those schools are not.
14 may indeed be the new 12, but 16 remains what 14 was when the SEC first expanded in 1992--a number major college football will probably reach at some point in the future, but one that's not more than an intriguing hypothetical in the present.
*Trust me, I asked them. They added they were sick of hearing about expansion and scandal and just wanted the season to start.
**In the particular case of A&M and the SEC, this doesn't apply to LSU and Arkansas; the Tigers and Razorbacks have more history with A&M than they do many of their current SEC brethren.
Tags: Big 12, Big Ten, Big Ten Network, Boise State, ESPN, Fox, Fresno State, Jerry Hinnen, Jim Delany, Larry Scott, Longhorn Network, Mike Slive, N.C. State, Neal Pilson, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Pac-12, Pac-12 Network, Pac-12 Network, Rutgers, SEC, SEC expansion, Syracuse, Texas, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech
Posted on: August 29, 2011 3:58 pm
Edited on: August 29, 2011 4:05 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Injured safety Phillip Thomas, one of the leaders of the Syracuse defense is finally getting back to 100 percent and should be ready to play when the Orange open their season against Wake Forest on Thursday.
Thomas told the Syracuse Post-Standard he has been able to practice with no pain after breaking his jaw during practice earlier this month. He has been with the team in a non-contact role for the last couple weeks, helping in a mentor role to underclassmen like Jeremi Wilkes and Durell Eskridge.
"Right now, I'm back in a helmet and I'm doing pretty good," Thomas said. "I'm about 95 percent."
Thomas was the third-leading tackler on the defense last year, behind graduated all-conference linebackers Derrell Smith and Doug Hogue, and will be looked to as a defensive leader along with fellow safety Shamarko Thomas. Head coach Doug Marrone confirmed that he expected both players to start against Wake Forest during the Big East coaches teleconference on Monday.
Opening the season against an ACC team in the Carrier Dome will give Syracuse a chance to reverse some disappointing trends against the conference. Since 1996 the Orange are 1-12 against ACC opponents, and winless (0-8) in the Carrier Dome.
Posted on: August 18, 2011 6:33 pm
Edited on: August 20, 2011 8:58 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
The Big East gets criticized often on the national level for being the one of the weaker BCS conferences, but with new coaches and high-octane offenses 2011 could be a bounce back year for the league. I join Adam Aizer to sort through the many story lines in the Big East and try to make sense of a league that has had 5 different teams win a share of the conference championship since 2005.
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Tags: Adam Aizer, Big East, Big East Podcast, Big East Preview, Big East Preview Podcast, Brandon Irvin, Butch Jones, Charlie Strong, Chip Patterson, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Dana Holgorsen, Doug Marrone, Geno Smith, Greg Schiano, Kendall Reyes, Louisville, Paul Pasqualoni, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Sio Moore, Skip Holtz, South Florida, Syracuse, Tavon Austin, Todd Graham, USF, West Virginia
Posted on: August 17, 2011 2:30 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 2:42 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
As part of CBSSports.com's season preview, we offer this blogger's selections for the Preseason All-Big East Team.
Zach Collaros, Sr., Cincinnati - Even with a questionable knee and even more questionable offensive line, Colarros led the Big East in in passing yards (2,902 yards) last season. The talented quarterback who first broke out as a backup to Tony Pike enters the season looking to bounce back from last year's dismal 4-8 record. The senior signal-caller is armed with a stable of skill position players (you will find many of them below on this team) and looking to return the Bearcats to the postseason after missing a bowl for the first time since 2005. He was a unanimous All-Big East first team selection a year ago and still remains atop this list until someone shows him up.
Also watch for: One person with plenty of potential to show him up is West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. Smith has been a popular choice by some outlets for all-conference teams because of his unique skill set and how well it matches Dana Holgorsen's offensive system. Smith, who threw for 24 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions in 2010, will be the point guard of the Mountaineer attack - making quick decisions to get the ball in the hands of the playmakers. Pittsburgh's Tino Sunseri should also benefit from moving back into the shotgun with Todd Graham, and BJ Daniels is one to watch down at South Florida.
Ray Graham, Jr., Pittsburgh - Under Todd Graham's watch, Tulsa had one of the most prolific offenses in football. The Golden Hurricanes ran 1006 offensive plays in 2010, ranking them seventh nationally. More than half of those (537) were rushing plays, which means you can expect Graham will get his fair share of touches. The high-octane system Pittsburgh plans to run is based on speed rather than a pass-first spread. Graham is just the type of strong and shifty back that fits this offense perfectly.
Isaiah Pead, Sr., Cincinnati - Pead rushed for 1,029 yards and six touchdowns in 2010, and is the conference's top returning rusher. Even though the Bearcats have some questions to answer on the offensive line, there are enough weapons on the field for Pead to get some space to operate. After being a part of back-to-back conference title teams, Pead will want to finish his career by bouncing back from 2010's 4-win season.
Also watch for: Louisville running back Victor Anderson broke out as a freshman in 2008 before being slowed by injuries the past two seasons. If he can repeat the types of performances that won him Big East Rookie of the Year, it would be a huge boost to a Cardinals team with questions on offense. Connecticut running back D.J. Shoemate is another one to watch, as he will try to step out from Jordan Todman's long shadow in Storrs.
Tavon Austin, Jr., West Virginia - Austin's move to wide receiver is one that will benefit the talented playmaker in Dana Holgorsen's offensive scheme. He is a weapon that West Virginia plans to use in multiple ways, and will not be lacking in touches or targets in 2011. Spreading the field will give Austin several chances to take advantage of one-on-one coverage, and I imagine he will take advantage.
DJ Woods, Sr., Cincinnati - Woods won't be able to take advantage of lining up opposite 1,000 yard receiver Armon Binns anymore, but if JUCO transfer Kenbrell Thompkins pans out he will certainly get plenty of opportunities to at least match 2010's numbers (57 catches for 898 yards and 8 touchdowns).
Also watch for:Syracuse returns Van Chew, Marcus Sales, and Alec Lemon, but they all need to show more consistency before laying claim to all-conference honors. Rutgers wideout Mohamed Sanu has also gotten a lot of attention, and could be a threat if Chas Dodd is given enough time to throw.
C Moe Petrus, Sr., Connecticut - Petrus helped pave the way for All-Big East running back Jordan Todman a year ago, and now his role is more important than ever. With a new running back and new quarterback, the senior lineman much anchor the unit to give the Huskies a chance at recapturing the momentum that led to a Fiesta Bowl bid in 2010.
OG Justin Pugh, Jr., Syracuse - Pugh started all 13 games for the Orange last season, and is one of four returning starters along the offensive line. A second team All-Big East selection, Pugh is expected to repeat his strong performance protecting Ryan Nassib.
OG Chaz Hine, Sr., South Florida - With only two returning starters on the offensive line, Hine's experience (25 starts) makes him an the most valuable piece of the Bulls offensive line.
OT Don Barclay, Sr., West Virginia - With 27 career starts, the 305-pound left tackle has been a leader along the offensive line in the transition under Dana Holgorsen. Holgorsen has been concerned with the depth along the offensive line, but repeatedly compliments Barclay's bounce back from spring injuries.
OT Lucas Nix, Sr., Pittsburgh - While new head coach Todd Graham continues to hold competition along the Panthers' offensive line, it seems that one of the only positions set in stone is Nix at right tackle.
Also watch for: Connecticut's All-Big East first team tackle Mike Ryan could easily have a spot on this list, as could West Virginia center Joe Madsen.
Ryan Griffin, Jr., Connecticut - The Huskies did not throw the ball much in 2010, but Griffin was the third leading receiver with 31 receptions for 245 yards and a touchdown. Tight end is not a particularly strong position in this conference with all the odd schemes, but whichever unproven quarterback is under center for Connecticut will likely rely on Griffin to get out of tight spots.
Also watch for:Syracuse tight end Nick Provo has been getting some praise heading into the season, and I'm interested to see how Pittsburgh H-back Hubie Graham gets used in the new Panthers offense..
DE Bruce Irvin, Sr., West Virginia - Irvin was a monster pass rusher in 2010, finishing second in the nation with 14.0 sacks on the season - in a reserve role. Now the talented end is in the starting lineup and should create havoc for offensive lines, particularly playing opposite Julian Miller.
DE Brandon Lindsey, Sr., Pittsburgh - Lindsey has also proven himself as a dangerous threat getting into offensive backfields. After picking up 10 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss a season ago, defensive coordinator Keith Patterson says they will use Lindsey in some 3-4 looks as a "Panther linebacker." The flexibility of the down linebacker will allow the senior to get loose and try to use his instincts to make big stops.
DT Chas Alecxhi, Sr., Pittsburgh - Replacing Big East Defensive Player of the Year Jabaal Sheard is no easy task, but his 2010 teammate Alecxhi is ready to try and become the fourth straight Panther to be named to the same honor.
DT Kendall Reyes, Sr., Connecticut - Reyes is the anchor in the middle for one of the better defensive lines in the conference. He was an All-Big East first team selection a year ago, totaling 7.5 tackles for loss charging up the middle.
Also watch for:Reyes' Connecticut teammate Jesse Joseph and West Virginia's Julian Miller could easily pull in these same honors. Cincinnati's Derek Wolfe is one below the radar name to keep an eye on.
Sio Moore, Jr., Connecticut - Moore got his first chance in the starting lineup in 2010 and made the most of it, finishing fifth in the Big East with 110 tackles. He is the only returning starter of the group, but should get plenty of playmaking opportunities behind a solid defensive line.
JK Schaeffer, Sr., Cincinnati - After finishing his second straight season with at least 100 tackles, Schaeffer was named to the All-Big East second team in 2010. Unfortunately the personal success was overlooked by a Bearcats defense that ranked near the bottom of the conference in many categories. Schaeffer has been outspoken in regards to the unit's improvement, and will likely be making a statement for the team on the field.
DeDe Lattimore, Soph., South Florida - Lattimore finished second on the team in tackles as a freshman, earning him some attention on the national level. The Bulls have some holes to fill on the defensive line, but Lattimore and fellow linebacker Sam Barrington have Skip Holtz feeling good about the back seven.
Also watch for: Syracuse linebacker Marquis Spruill has a tall order moving to middle linebacker and replacing Derrell Smith and Doug Hogue. If he is able to lead the new unit to a successful season, he will certainly be deserving of some postseason honors.
CB Keith Tandy, Sr., West Virginia - In addition to being an All-Big East first team selection in 2010, Tandy led the conference in interceptions and recorded 11 pass break ups. With many starters missing from last year's dominating defense, Tandy will be one of the few "sure things" at the start of the season.
CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Jr., Connecticut - In addition to being a great playmaker and the team's third third leading returning tackler, Wreh-Wilson will benefit from playing alongside three other returning starters in the secondary. With few blatant weaknesses, it will be hard to avoid the cornerback and he'll get plenty of chances to have an impact on the field.
S Hakeem Smith, Soph., Louisville - Louisville is faced with the challenge of replacing two talented cornerbacks in the secondary. Luckily, there is a proven underclassman ready to step up in Smith. He was the 2010 Big East Defensive Rookie of the Year and finished 10th in the conference in tackles. He ball-hawking safety will be a key component in maintaining a defense that ranked among the best in the nation a year ago.
S Jarred Holley, Jr., Pittsburgh - Holley finished one pick behind Tandy in the Big East last year, and was named to the All-Big East second team. With the Panthers' front seven applying pressure on the quarterback, it will be Holley's job to make them pay after mental mistakes.
Also watch for: Syracuse safety Phillip Thomas will be a crucial part of the Orange's back seven once he recovers from a broken jaw and South Florida cornerback Quinton Washington is the third leading tackler on the Bulls' defense.
K Ross Krautman, Soph., Syracuse
P Cole Wagner, Soph., Connecticut
KR/PR Lindsey Lamar, Jr., South Florida
Also watch for: Connecticut's Dave Teggart and South Florida's Maikon Bonani both had impressive seasons in 2010 and should be just as consistent this year. But no one in the conference compared to Krautman's 18 for 19 (94.7%, a Big East single-season record) performance, including a 48 yard field goal in a 13-10 win at Rutgers.
As always, let us know what you the think about the selections in the comment section below. Also be sure to click on over to the Conference Preview for more coverage on the Big East
Tags: Alec Lemon, All-Big East Team, Big East, BJ Daniels, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Brandon Lindsey, Bruce Irvin, Chas Alecxhi, Chaz Hine, Chip Patterson, Cincinnati, Cole Wagner, Connecticut, D.J. Shoemate, Dave Teggart, DeDe Lattimore, Derek Wolfe, DJ Woods, Don Barclay, Geno Smith, Hakeem Smith, Hubie Graham, Isaiah Pead, Jarred Holley, Jesse Joseph, JK Schaeffer, Joe Madsen, Julian Miller, Justin Pugh, Keith Tandy, Kendall Reyes, Lindsey Lamar, Louisville, Lucas Nix, Maikon Bonani, Marcus Sales, Marquis Spruill, Mike Ryan, Moe Petrus, Mohamed Sanu, Nick Provo, Phillip Thomas, Pittsburgh, Preseason All-Big East Team, Quinton Washington, Ray Graham, Ross Krautman, Rutgers, Ryan Griffin, Sio Moore, South Florida, Syracuse, Tavon Austin, Tino Sunseri, Todd Graham, Van Chew, Victor Anderson, West Virginia, Zach Collaros