Thursday, September 03, 2009


Yet another BCS conference that fails to impress. The Big East lost a boatload of talent to the NFL last year, turning good teams into solid teams, solid teams into bad teams, and bad teams into crappy teams. Fun fact: the Big East has ZERO teams ranked in the pre-season Top 25. Cincinatti was 29th, followed by Pitt at 30th, then WVU, and Rutgers. The Mountain West has three teams in the Top 25.

The Bearcats surprised everyone with an 11-3 record and their first BCS appearance. QB-WR combo Tony Pike and Mardy Gilyard return. The defense only returns one starter, but compared to how much talent the rest of the conference lost, Cincinnati's not doing too bad. Cincinnati will get the BCS berth from the Big East, essentially by default. Their offense will be explosive, their defense vulnerable, but who the hell else will challenge them?

Key Games:
9/19 @ Oregon State
10/15 @ South Florida
11/13 vs. West Virginia
12/5 @ Pittsburgh

10-3, Big East Champion, BCS Bowl loss

The electrifying and overrated Pat White is gone. But RB Noel Devine remains. Devine rushed for 1,289 yards last year, and should finally emerge from White's shadow. Jarrett Brown will replace White (these names remind me of Reservoir Dogs) under center. Well WVU is never under center, so he'll replace White in the gun. Not surprisingly, Brown spent a lot of time as a slot receiver and runningback in 2008. The Mountaineers have some holes on defense and in their O-line, they also have to travel to Ohio to play Cincinnati. That's why they'll finish 2nd.

Key Games:
9/19 @ Auburn
10/30 @ South Florida
11/13 @ Cincinnati
11/27 vs. Pittsburgh

8-5, loss in Sun Bowl

Matt Grothe starts for his 4th and final year at USF. He's a gunslinger, barely throwing more TDs than INTs, but he's South Florida's biggest and only offensive threat. He's lead the team in rushing all 3 years he's been there, which is really due to a lack of good RBs than anything else. The Bulls need to find replacements on their offensive line to protect Grothe, or they'll struggle to attain bowl eligibility. Yet this is the Big East, so that means they'll be good enough to finish 3rd. Both Cincinnati and West Virginia have to travel down to Tampa, and play USF at night, which is a very tall task. I think the Bulls will steal one of those games.

Key Games:
10/15 vs. Cincinnati
10/24 @ Pittsburgh
10/30 vs. West Virginia
11/12 @ Rutgers
11/21 vs. Louisville

8-5, loss in Gator Bowl

I'll give credit to most Big East teams for scheduling halfway decent non-conference opponents. All except Rutgers, that is. Howard, Florida International, Texas Southern, Maryland, Army. These cupcakes and RU's proximity to New York will propel them to an undeserved spot in the Top 25. But they are solid, returning all 5 on their O-line (as well as 4 backups), and pretty much their entire RB corps. They also face most of the top Big East teams at home.

Key Games:
9/7 vs. Cincinnati
10/16 vs. Pittsburgh
11/12 vs. South Florida
12/5 vs. West Virginia

8-5, Meineke Bowl win

The Panthers are good at linebacker, D-Line and WR. That's pretty much it. The QB spot is still wide open, with no clear candidates separating from the pack. They lost some good talent to the NFL on the defensive side of things. They'll muddle around the Big East and romp on the crappy teams. But they'll struggle in every game against average talent or better.

Key Games:
10/24 vs. South Florida
11/14 vs. Notre Dame
11/27 @ West Virginia
12/5 vs. Cincinnati

7-6, International Bowl win

And the rest in alphabetical order...

UConn was a pleasant surprise last year, starting the season 5-0, and finishing 8-5. But they lost a lot of talent to the Draft, including RB Donald Brown in the 1st round to the Colts. They have a decent D, but their offense will struggle without Brown.

RB Victor Anderson rushed for 1,047 yards his freshman year, but he's the lone bright spot on a very ugly Louisville squad. Their QB situation is one of the biggest messes in college football. They have a transfer from NC State, a JuCo transfer, and a redshirt freshman all competing for the position, with none good enough to win the spot yet. UL will be seeing a lot of L's this year.

As if you needed more reason to hate Syracuse, hometown zero Greg Paulus transferred from Duke to play football for the Orange. So now Cuse has their own natural lameness, but also the lameness of Duke. The Orange has a new coach, and allegedly have a new direction, but they still suck.

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