Fluctuating programs abound in the changed Big East.
The college football winds of change have swept rapidly through the Big East's ranks, sweeping top teams off to other conferences and depositing fresh new teams to compete. The East Coast's major conference now stretches from the Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico, and The Rivalry couldn't be happier. Although Miami (FL), the last National Champion from the Big East, is gone, the new teams are intriguing and located close to the best recruiting spots in America.
Will UCONN, the returning co-champ, continue its ascent to Big East power? Will Pat White help West Virgina run all over George Selvie and the best defenders the Big East has to offer? The Rivalry doesn't have a great feel for how the Big East will shake up this year, but is intrigued nonetheless.
Esquire Rating: 5/5
Can the Mountaineers forget their historic choke to win the Big East?
WVU and its high flying option spread were one win away from a BCS title game birth when…Pat White’s thumb and LeSean McCoy happened. The 13-9 loss to Pitt ended BCS title hopes but the subsequent 48-28 thumping of
But the year is 2008 and Rodriguez has departed WVU for
Must Win: @UCONN (11/22). The UCONN student paper occasionally prints a graphic that says”…and West Virginia scores again,” an ongoing joke referring to the 66 points WVU scored on UCONN in their 2007 match up. If WVU grabs another victory versus the Huskies, a Big East title is easily attainable.
Rivalry Comment: The state’s reaction to Rich Rod leaving for
Predicted Finish: 10-2 (6-1)
Warning: Bulls may be charging.
The Bulls were #2 in the nation at one time in 2007…before blowing 3 games in a row and getting blown out by the Oregon Ducks, sans Dennis Dixon. George Selvie and a surprisingly athletic QB Matt Grothe led USF onto the national stage and 2008 looks to be more of the same.
USF lost its monster DB’s to the NFL, but fortunately the Big East is not a league dominated by passing offenses. Selvie is an All-American and completely dominated games in 2007; he will be double teamed constantly this year. Thanks to a weaker Big East, USF can contend for a BCS bid.
Must Win: @CINCINNATI (11/30).
Rivalry Comment: The Rivalry wanted to give the Bulls a 4/5 rating, but couldn’t pull the trigger. Maybe it’s the lack of tradition; maybe it’s the late season swoon of 2007.
Predicted Finish: 9-3 (5-2 conference)
Esquire Rating: 3/5
D1 Newbies to Big East Champs.
Residents of the state of
The 2007 Huskies boasted one of the top 20 defensive teams in the nation, putting on impressive displays against top teams like
Must Win: @LOUISVILLE (9/26). UCONN could be sitting at 7-0 versus
Rivalry Comment: The Rivalry thinks UCONN needs new jerseys. The home jerseys are a blue mess and the away jerseys are a mishmash of lines and stripes. Is the Rivalry’s new calling fashion?
Ugly jerseys be damned though; UCONN’s football program has the 3rd best graduation rate of any D1 team that played in a bowl last year. (Courtesy of the
Predicted Finish: 9-3 (5-2)
Esquire Rating: 3/5
No Mauk, no problem?
Spending four years at Miami (OH) allowed me to see
With Mauk’s attempt for another year of eligibility denied and a killer 2008 schedule that includes
Rivalry Comment: The Rivalry believes
Predicted Finish: 8-5 (4-3)
The 2008 squad won't have Ray Rice or the best defensive players from 2007. They will however have Mike Teel, a veteran QB who has played huge games against the best teams of the Big East. Rutgers has such an easy non conference schedule makes them a shoe-in for bowl eligibility, but they don't have the firepower or experience to be a 10 win team.Must Win: @ CINCINNATI. This is a killer match up; two teams with solid defenses and questions on offense.
Rivalry Comment: In the last three years,
On a different note, Rutgers puts on one hell of a night match up in
Predicted Finish: 7-5 (3-4)
LeSean McCoy: the next Reggie Bush...But can he do enough to save Wannstedt’s job?
The first time I watched McCoy, he was running over and through the East Lansing Spartans. After watching him lean inside and then cut so violently outside that a defender fell over, I decided I needed to look him up. Apparently some coaches should have looked him up too; McCoy ran for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2007 while the Panthers created good vibes around Coach Wannstedt.
Unfortunately, 2007 might be the last year where Wannstedt can win 5 games and call the season a success.
Must Win: @SOUTH
Predicted Finish: 6-6 (3-4)
Paging Bobby Petrino, paging Bobby Petrino; please report to the
So how will the Louisville Cardinals of 2008 respond? Hunter Caldwell is being called the top prospect of the 2009 NFL draft class even though he threw all of 14 passes. And
The Rivalry loves the Cardinals and knows that
Rivalry Comment: The Big East’s powers are in constant fluctuation; 2 years ago, the powers were
Predicted Finish: 5-7 (2-5)
Greg Robinson just hasn’t taken steps here to mix things up. The
Can the new
Must Win: @NORTHWESTERN (8/30). The Wildcats at home are a tough match up for the
Predicted Finish: 2-10 (0-7)