NCAAF: Big East Preview

August 3, 2010

There will be no coverage of Brett Favre on Around The Corn Sports Blog in the foreseeable future. I don’t hate Favre; it’s just that there has been too much coverage from the big time media outlets for me to get a fresh word in edgewise. The fact of the matter is, he will probably come back at some point this season, and this whole saga will be all for not.

Now, the moment you have all been waiting for: the beginning of my 2010 college football preview. I’ll begin with the Beast from the East (eh, kind of…), the Big East Conference.


Of the Power 6 conferences, the Big East is routinely thought of as the weakest link. This year will probably prove to be no different, as the perennial powers in this conference are dealing with an array of challenges including coaching changes, new players at key positions, and difficult schedules. However, in recent years parody has been a frequent visitor to the Big East conference, especially in important games late in the season. This is one of the hardest conferences to predict due to the fact that many of the teams are relatively even, and any of them could emerge as the conference champion. With that being said, it should be a fun conference to watch, even if none of them have a shot at the national championship by the end of the regular season.

Team(s) With the Best Shot at a National Championship Bid

This is a real long shot, but we’ll be able to tell early on whether or not the Panthers are truly one of the top teams in the nation. They have two tough games in September (at Utah [Sept. 2nd], Miami [Sept. 23rd]) that if nothing else will prepare them for their conference schedule. The problem that I see for Pitt in those two early season matchups is that they will be relying on an inexperienced quarterback to command the offense. Running back Dion Lewis is good, but can’t completely carry the Panthers against teams like Utah and Miami. Pitt will likely be the class of the Big East by the end of the season, but won’t be ready early on to remain in contention for a National Championship bid. Still, they’re the best chance that the Big East has to put a team in the Big Game.

Watch Out! (Team That Could Surprise)

Ever since the Scarlet Knights 2006 breakout season, they have sort of been a middle of the pack team in the Big East. This season they could finally get back to where they thought they were headed after 2006. Granted, they do have to go on the road to face some of the toughest teams in the Big East (at Pitt [10/23], at Cincinnati [11/20], at West Virginia [12/4]), so this prediction could end up being way off. However, Rutgers is one of the few teams in the Big East that has a proven starter at quarterback, and with someone to throw to as well. Quarterback Tom Savage and wide receiver Mohamed Sanu could become a feared tandem not only in the Big East, but in the entire country, which may result in Rutgers having a similar season to the one they had four years ago.

Out-Of-Conference Game To Watch
Pittsburgh vs. Miami (Fla.) (September 23rd)

Both of these teams have a lot of work to do if this is to be a marquee matchup. Pittsburgh has to take care of always tough Utah, and Miami has to pull a huge upset over Ohio State in Columbus. If by chance those two things were to happen, this would definitely be the biggest game of the week, with the winner propelling themselves into the early national title picture. Even if it doesn’t shape up to be that monumental, it still should be an entertaining game to watch.

In-Conference Game To Watch
Pittsburgh vs. West Virginia (November 26th)

The Backyard Brawl is always a must-see game, and this one should be no different. There is a good chance that the winner of this game will be the team representing the Big East in a BCS bowl, so this game will be very important to more than just these two teams. It will also be the Battle of the Backs, to see who the better running back in the Big East is; Noel Devine, or Dion Lewis.

Conference Predictions

1. Pittsburgh (9-3, [6-1])
2. West Virginia (9-3, [5-2])
3. Rutgers (8-4, [4-3])
4. Cincinnati (8-4, [4-3])
5. Connecticut (8-4, [3-4])
6. South Florida (5-7, [2-5])
7. Syracuse (4-8, [1-6])
8. Louisville (2-10, [0-7])

– K. Becks

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