Thursday, August 26, 2010
What the Big East lacks in National recognition, it makes up for in just plain fun games. Some of the late season shootouts of recent years have just been popcorn fests. And somehow the scheduling Gurus for the conference seem to make the last games for all teams with a chance to win it play against each other on the last few weekends. That appears to be the case again this year with Pitt-WVU on Thanksgiving Friday.
With Brian Kelly gone from Cincy, there should be a new wearer of the crown. The Bearcats 2 year reign will come to an end, being decided in a Back Yard Brawl while the turkey pan is still soaking in the sink. Bill Stewart will have the ‘Eers ready for the big ketchup bottle, shocking a top 15 ranked Pitt team to win the conference this year and head to the Orange Bowl for the first time in its history. Beyond those two, there’ll be a tooth and nail battle for 3rd place between Rutgers, UConn and South Florida. The Cuse will maintain their usual ways over the past several season…
UConn is everyone’s sleeper this year, and that’s nice that they’re picking someone different for a change. But, don’t bet on it. Opening weekend in the Big House may set the ball rolling in the wrong direction for the Puppies from Storrs.
There are some exciting players in the conference that will be a blast to watch throughout the year. Mohamed Sanu from Rutgers, Noel Devine from WVU, BJ Daniels from South Florida, Dion Lewis from Pitt. The unfortunate part is that beyond Daniels, the QB depth is rather thin throughout the conference, allowing some of the older defenses to wreak havoc on inexperienced signal callers. This will lead to some shocking results, crazy plays, and overall interesting games that could make tuning in on Friday nights worth the while. Although Dion Lewis is getting a ton of ink, but won’t rack up the numbers he did last year. BJ Daniels is out the first few weeks, and will put up decent numbers, but not eye popping the way the Big12 boys do. Sanu is a heck of a receiver, but no Larry Fitzgerald (but to be fair, who is…) If Stewart decides to put Devine on the goal line for kick-off returns, there’s another CJ Spiller in the works. He’ll put up 1,800 yards from scrimmage this year with 18+ touchdowns.
Onto the predicted order of finish, with records:
1. WEST VIRGINIA, 10-2, 6-1 Orange Bowl Bound. Devine will be more than fine. Stewart will grow his legend in Coal Country, and Jock Sanders will make a favorite target of Geno Smith. Never mind that all three are from warmer weather, they’ll spend New Years in their home state of Florida.
2. PITTSBURGH, 9-3, 6-1. After rolling over Utah opening weekend, and fighting Miami tough at home, they’ll be ranked high when the ‘Eers come to town right after Turkey Day, just in time to spoil the season. Dion will put up decent numbers, but not enough to carry them to Miami.
3. UCONN, 8-4, 5-2. After loosing two of the first 3, The Huskies will get back on trach to lose back-to-back games in conference to WVU and Pitt.
4. UNIV. of SOUTH FLORIDA, 7-5, 4-3. Missing BJ Daniels may not hurt that much early, with an easy win at Stony Brook and guaranteed loss to Florida. When he gets back, the team will have ridden the roller coaster, and won’t be stable by any means.
5. RUTGERS, 7-5, 3-4. Sanu will light things up, but it won’t be enough to carry the Knights to the top of the Big East.
6. CINCINNATI, 6-6, 3-4. With Brian Kelly goes the Offense. The D was bad at the end of last year, and don’t expect much more this year.
7. LOUISVILLE, 3-9, 1-6. When does basketball start? euheisel? Put Neidermeyer on it! Oh well, maybe NCIS will let Mark Harmon take a few snaps this year.
8. SYRACUSE, 2-10, 0-7. They can’t even look forward to basketball this year either… Maybe they can root for the Maple Leafs come October, eh.