AE's 2011 Big East Football Preview

Yes, yes, Marquette doesn't have a football team.  We are well aware.  That doesn't mean that contributors on this blog ignore glorious, beautiful college football.  Here we present the Anonymous Eagle's 2011 Big East football preview, complete with brief overviews of each team, projected standings and projected bowl berths.

Team Summaries

1. West Virginia - After an eventful off-season, the Mountaineers have to be excited to start playing.  Dana Holgerson brings his crazy offense from Oklahoma State.  What that offense is missing at WVU is Justin Blackmon and Kendall Hunter.  Geno Smith should be a solid trigger man, but don't expect the production that OSU enjoyed last year.  The defense finished 3rd in the nation last year, but lost a lot of talent.  WVU will be in a dogfight with Pitt and USF for the Big East crown.

T2. Pittsburgh - The Wannstache is out in the Steel City, replaced by Mike Haywood who has already been replaced by Todd Graham.  That makes two massively buggled coaching searches by this guy.  Evidence: here and here.  Not that I have an ax to grind.  Todd Graham, though he's a defensive coach, brings a high powered offense from Tulsa.  Expect some growing pains with Tino Sunseri under center.  Pitt's success will once again hinge on their defense, which finished 8th in the country last year. 

T2. USF - There's been a fair amount of love for USF this off-season.  A lot of that love depends on BJ Daniels improving his 58% completion rate and 11-13 TD-INT ratio.  Another player to watch is Colorado transfer running back Darrell Scott.  He was the nation's #1 recruit a few years back but flamed out in Boulder.  Expect improvement from the former, but don't get your hopes up for the latter.

More Big East football goodness after the jump

T4. Louisville - I admit it, this prediction is probably way too high, but I have a man crush on Charlie Strong.  The Cards may rely on highly touted freshman Teddy Bridgewater at QB.   Regardless, the defense will need to be salty again after coming in at 14th in the nation last year.

T4. Cincinnati - Butch Jones' first year at Nippert was a disaster.  UC finished 119th in turnover ratio and 106th in pass efficiency defense.  The key will be the offensive line, they lose three starters after a rough 2010 campaign.  If they can give QB Zach Collaros and RB Isaiah Pead some room, UC's offense could surprise.

T6. Syracuse - Syracuse is headed in the right direction under Doug Marrone, but will take a step back after losing a boatload of seniors, particularly on the defensive front seven.  If QB Ryan Nassib can step up, they could make a play for the top half of the league.

T6. UConn - The defense will need to carry the load in Storrs this year.  UConn's offense loses all-everything running back Jordan Todman and quarterback is still a major question mark. 

8. Rutgers - This may be an overly harsh prediction, but the questions along the offensive line and a middling defense aren't good indicators.  Will Greg Schiano come under fire if Rutgers repeats their 2010 Big East face plant?

Predicted Standings

Overall

Big East

West Virginia

10-2

6-1

Pittsburgh

8-4

5-2

USF

8-4

5-2

Louisville

7-5

3-4

Cincinnati

6-6

3-4

Uconn

5-7

2-5

Syracuse

6-6

2-5

Rutgers

4-8

1-6

Bowl Projections

Sugar Bowl - West Virginia - It's always a good bet to slot the Big East champ into the BCS bowl with the last pick

Champs Sports Bowl - USF - I say folks at the Champs Sports Bowl go with the local(ish) Bulls

Belk Bowl - Pitt - Modern. Southern. Style. In case you don't know what Belk is, some great sales can be found here.

New Era Pinstripe Bowl - Syracuse - The Cuse drew nearly 40,000 to Yankee Stadium for last year's game, so...why not invite them back?

BBVA Compass Bowl - Louisville - Congrats Cards! You've earned a trip to Birmingham

Liberty Bowl - Cincinnati - The Liberty Bowl gets the last pick, and thus, picks the Bearcats

Beef O'Brady's Bowl - Sorry people of St. Petersburg, the good folks at the Anonymous Eagle project that the Big East won't have enough eligible teams to send

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