West Virginia has departed and the other Big East teams couldn’t be happier. The Mountaineers would have been the clear favorite to take the conference had they remained.
Louisville returns 2011 Freshman All-American QB Teddy Bridgewater as well as Sophomore WR’s DeVante Parker and Eli Rogers who both showed tremendous ability last season; Parker with his size (6’3 205) and Rogers with his blazing speed. Taking some pressure off of the passing game will be Junior RB Dominique Brown, who Coach Charlie Strong claims is one of the “best in the country” when it comes down to falling forward and gaining positive yards. Look for Louisville (the lone Big East team in the AP Top 25) to take care of business, not only this year, but for a few more to come as Coach Strong continues to recruit extremely well and fill UL’s roster with talent from all over the country.
South Florida returns Senior QB B.J. Daniels who has had quite a hard time staying healthy during his career in Tampa. Accompanying Daniels is TE Evan Landi, who has WR athleticism and could be utilized much like Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez for the New England Patriots. With an above average defense lead by Redshirt Junior LB Devekeyan “DeDe” Lattimore, look for Coach Holtz’s Bulls to make the run at the Big East title if they can beat Louisville, or get some help from other Big East schools to potentially knock Louisville out of the hunt.
The loss of Zach Collaros in Cincinnati puts a question mark at the QB position. The Bearcats will turn to an unproven Junior in Munchie Legaux (6’5 205), who along with RB George Winn look to play spoiler to many Big East foes. With the slip up of Louisville or South Florida, the Cats have an outside chance at the Big East title.
Pittsburgh and stud RB Ray Graham look to continue the high powered rushing attack they displayed most of last season until Graham was injured. Before the injury, Graham averaged an impressive 119.8 yards per game at 5.8 yards per carry, and was among the top five RBs statistics wise. Like Daniels’ situation, if Graham stays healthy, Pitt’s offense could be in for a big year on the ground. Senior QB Tino Sunseri looks to rebound after a 10 TD-11 INT year, and who better to have returning than his favorite target WR Devin Street. The first two games will be a rough start for the Panthers as they open up September 1st versus Youngstown State, then play again five days later in Cincinnati for an early Big East match up.
Games to Watch:
Sept. 6: Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati
Oct. 13: Louisville @ Pittsburgh
Oct. 26: Cincinnati @ Louisville
Nov. 3: Connecticut @ USF
Nov. 9: Pittsburgh @ Connecticut
Nov. 23: USF @ Cincinnati
Dec. 1: Pittsburgh @ USF
Dec. 1: Cincinnati @ Connecticut
Ninja Sports Preseason All-Big East Team 2012
|WR Alec Lemon, SYR||DE Trevardo Williams, UCONN||K Ross Krautman, SYR|
|WR Devin Street, PITT||DE Ryne Giddins, USF||P Pat O’Donnell, CIN|
|TE Ryan Griffin, UCONN||DT Aaron Donald, PITT||KR Matt Brown, TEM|
|T Justin Pugh, SYR||DT Jesse Joseph, UCONN|
|T Mark Popek, USF||LB DeDe Lattimore, USF|
|G Jake Smith, UL||LB Khaseem Greene, RU|
|G Chris Jacobson, PITT||LB Preston Brown, UL|
|C Mario Benavides, UL||CB Kayvon Webster, USF|
|QB Teddy Bridgewater, UL||CB Logan Ryan, RU|
|RB Ray Graham, PITT||S Drew Frey, CIN|
|RB Matt Brown, TEM||S Jarred Holley, PITT|
Big East Offensive Player of the Year: Ray Graham, RB PITT
Big East Defensive Player of the Year: Logan Ryan, CB RU