Saturday, August 8, 2009


Now that media day is behind us, and training camp begins next week (or today for West Virginia) we thought it was about time to release this year’s Big East Preview. Besides, you could probably use a break from the David Ortiz circus. On then, to the 2009 Big East Football Preview.

8. Louisville Cardinals – This may come as a shock to some people, but the Cardinals find themselves on the bottom of the pile this year. The departures of quarterbacks Hunter Cantwell and Matt Simms certainly leave a hole in the offense. The much maligned Steve Kragthorpe is on the hot seat. The University of Kentucky has even passed Louisville. The pressure is great and it’s entirely possible that they whole team could fold after a few early season losses. Don’t forget, this is the team that lost to Syracuse each of the past two seasons.

7. South Florida Bulls – This team may very well have the most talent in the Big East this year, returning All-American candidates Matt Grothe and George Selvie. Unfortunately for Bulls fans, they will fall victim to the same intangibles that have plagued them in years past. Head coach Jim Leavitt is not the right man to lead a major college football program trying to get to the next level. No one will argue the success that he has realized in building a program from scratch and getting it to this level. He is not the man to lead a program of this caliber, however. He lashes out at officials and the media. His rants are getting old, and more importantly, are teaching his players how to shirk responsibility. They have been in a downward spiral since their 2007 Sun Bowl appearance and will continue to slide as long as Leavitt captains the ship.

6. Syracuse Orange – Orange fans are excited for first year head coach Doug Marrone. They should be – Estelle Getty would have been an upgrade over the dreadful Greg Robinson. They also have a difficult non-conference schedule against some tough Big 10 teams early on. They will be battle-tested before they get into the heart of the conference schedule, but alas, this is not enough to propel the Orange into the top half of the Big East Standings.

5. Pittsburgh Panthers – Pros – Another solid recruitung class, Bill Stull, Pat Bostick, etc. etc. Cons – Dave Wannestedt. Any questions?

4. Cincinnati Bearcats – Bearcats fans should be excited this year for the team that Brian Kelly has assembled. Tony Pike and Marty Gilyard and definitely playmakers who can change the game with one play. The Bearcats are building a program, but may have peaked too early last year as evidenced by their performance at the Orange Bowl last year. This year should see them slip to the middle of the pack, but still on track.

3. Connecticut Huskies – The Huskies lose four players to the NFL (highlighted by 1st Round Selection Donald Brown) but will benefit from what is shaping up to be a down year in the Big East. Randy Edsall’s squad will easily earn another bowl berth.

2. Rutgers Scarlet Knights – How do you replace QB Mike Teel and NFL 1st Round Draft Pick Kenny Britt? You do it with a solid defense, great runnings backs, capable wide receivers and one of the best offensive lines in the country. While Kenny Britt leaves a large void, incoming freshman Mohamed Sanu may be able to fill it. The QB situation is not easy to fix with 5th year senior Dom Natale expected to be given a run for his money from incoming freshman Tom Savage, neither of whom has been tested at the college level. With enough talent surrounding them however, they may just have to play well enough “not to lose”. Yep, that and the weakest schecdule the Scarlet Knights have seen in over 30 years.

1. West Virginia Mountaineers - I know. I know. Replacing Pat White with anyone is like replacing Johnny Unitas with Troy Nunes. But Jarrett Brown has shown signs of gretaness and Noel Devine should provide plenty of offensive firepower. The Mountaineers toughest test this year will be the last two games of the season – at home for the Backyard Brawl on 11/27 and a trip to Piscatway on 12/5.


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