1. West Virginia: Although the Mountaineers were not the highest scoring team
in the Big East, their defense is what will thrive this football team to the top
of the conference. They were ranked 3rd in points against with 13.5 and yards
against with 261. Teams had no rushing attack against the Mountaineers,
which caused the ball to be in the air a lot giving the secondary multiple
possibilities for interceptions. On offense, Geno Smith is only entering
his junior year and is ready to take on that leadership role. Smith had an
impressive 2,700 yards last season with 24 touchdowns and only seven
interceptions. . West Virginia will easily take the Big East and move their way
up in the AP rankings.
2. Pittsburg: The Panthers are another team that impressed many on defense.
They were not too far behind West Virginia on the defensive rankings and
were first in the Big East with only 10 points against. The Panthers do have
a shot to top the Big East Conference, but they will have to put up points to
do that. Pittsburg was dead last in the Big East and barely broke the top 100
in all of FBS when it came to scoring. Tino Sunseri got that sophomore slump
out of his system last year and will hopefully be ready to take control of that
Panther offense. Besides West Virginia and Notre Dame, the Panthers have
an easy schedule and all they need is a few West Virginia mistakes to take
control of the East.
3. USF: South Florida has been a team that has worked it’s way out of the
shadows the past couple of seasons and will continue to flirt with the top of
the Big East. Unlike Pittsburg and West Virginia, the Bulls lack experience
on defense, but were second in scoring in the Big East. B.J. Daniels is also
entering his junior year and worked out most of his kinks during the 2010
season. Daniels will look to decrease his interception numbers from last year
(13 in 2010) and increase his touchdown numbers (11 in 2010). The Bulls
are still a work in progress, but it will not be long until they become one of
the Elite in the Big East.
4. Syracuse: If the Orange could just find that key weapon on offense then they
can easily be the team to beat in the East. Unfortunately, they don’t and need
to find other ways to win. Syracuse defense was very productive last year
and kept them in the running for many games, but as we all know, it is very
difficult to win games when you cannot score. The Orange was 97th in all of
NCAA in total offense and 139th in total points scored. Those numbers are not
acceptable for a team who has the potential to be the best.
5. Louisville: For a team who smelled a BCS Championship just a few years
back, they have taken a turn for the worst. The Cardinals have not been a
threat in the Big East for a while now and have made no effort in the past to
make any improvements to their team. Their defense has been horrific, they
haven’t had an offensive leader since Brian Brohm and the overall coaching
has been sub-par. The Cardinals lost their leading rusher in Bilal Powell to
the Jets and sophomore Jeremy Wight is far from ready to take that role. If it
weren’t for the Big East being one of the weakest conferences in NCAA FBS,
the Cardinals would be close if not dead last.
6. Cincinnati: With a 4-8 record last year, you would think that the Bearcats
played some tough teams last year. Unfortunately for them, they played
a bunch of nobodies with the exception of Oklahoma. For all you Bearcat
fans, you may want to dust off the blindfolds for another horrific season.
Zach Collaros is now going into his senior year at the quarterback position,
and will try to get his interception rate down from last year. Running Back
Isaiah Pead is also returning to the field for his senior year and will look to
get his team from being the worst in the East. The Bearcats schedule did
not get any easier from last year and will struggle. This team had some high
hopes in 2010 and epically failed to live up to standards, expect the same
disappointment in 2011.
7. Connecticut: U Conn may want to just skip football and head right into
basketball season. This team has no potential at all to be a contender in the
East and will be lucky to win a game (only win may be against Rutgers).
U Conn may have one of if not the weakest schedule in the NCAA FBS.
Unfortunately, the Huskies were ranked 96th in total offense and 146th in
points scored in 2010 and no real improvements have been made. You
know you are in trouble when your quarterback had less total yards then
your running back. I know I have been harsh to this conference, but for a
conference that is so weak, it’s hard to believe that all of these teams can’t
contend for the conference title.
8. Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights used to be a Big East threat just a measly four
years ago, now they are the biggest disappointment in NJ since the airing
Jersey Shore. If you are a Big East fan, you must really hate me by now so
here is some enlightenment. This team is going to be a lot better in the near
future compared other teams in the Big East. Chas Dodd is only a sophomore
and he made some nice improvements last season as a freshmen. Rutgers
knew Dodd would be a project and it will pay off, it is just going to take time.
I do feel it will not be long before the Knights are back on top in the East, but
for now, just root for improvement… and no more scary injuries.