Monday, August 8, 2011

2011 Big East Team Predictions

1. West Virginia: Yes, there are some questions surrounding the offensive line and the new-look defense. Plus, it's a new scheme for Geno Smith and company to lock down. However, if the Mountaineers play to up to potential it should be plenty enough to win the Big East.
Biggest Test(s): at home against LSU 9/24
Biggest Trap(s): at Maryland 9/17, at South Florida 12/1
Most Important Factor: The health of Smith

2. Pittsburgh: A lot rides on the success of Tino Sunseri. His numbers were pretty good in 2010, but that's not good enough to make a BCS trip. Either way, Todd Graham should be a refreshing change in Oakland...and should bring success.
Biggest Test(s): at WVU 11/25
Biggest Trap(s): at Louisville 11/12
Most Important Factor: Sunseri, Sunseri, Sunseri

3. South Florida: Some have them winning the conference. However, the Bulls are the perennial choke artist. They need to prove it at this point. Offense should be better this season, and the defense is always stout.
Biggest Test(s): at Notre Dame 9/03, at home against WVU 12/01
Biggest Trap(s): at home against Louisville 11/25
Most Important Factor: BJ Daniels staying consistent

4. Syracuse: The Orange should be right back in the mix again this season, with plenty of talent coming back. This is your prototypical dark-horse pick. If the above teams hit a snag or two don't be surprised if the Orange claim the crown.
Biggest Test(s): at home against WVU 10/21, at Pitt 12/03
Biggest Trap(s): at Tulane 10/08
Most Important Factor: Successfully replacing Delone Carter

5. Cincinnati: Expect the 'Cats to make a solid comeback this season in year two under Butch Jones. Zach Collaros could have an epic final year, but it won't be enough. Cincy just isn't a complete team.
Biggest Test(s): at home against NC State 9/22, at WVU 11/12
Biggest Trap(s): at Miami (OH) 10/01
Most Important Factor: Consistency on the defensive side

6. Louisville: The Cards will continue to improve, and should be a tough out. Charlie Strong will have some questions to answer early on, including who the starting quarterback will be. One thing's for sure: The Card Defense won't make it easy on anyone.
Biggest Test(s): at Kentucky 9/17, at UNC 10/08
Biggest Trap(s): at home against Marshall, 10/01
Most Important Factor: Offensive balance with the new gunslinger

7. Connecticut: New starting quarterback, new starting tailback, new head coach, and a partridge in a pear tree. It could be a long year in Storrs. The Huskies will sell be solid defensively, but way too many questions on the offensive side to have a chance.
Biggest Test(s): at Vanderbilt 9/10
Biggest Trap(s): at Buffalo 9/24
Most Important Factor: Finding a QB, who does more than trick throws

8. Rutgers: Once upon a time, the Scarlet Knights were the worst team in the Big East. And, it seems they may be right back there. Great receivers, not much else. Rutgers won't be terrible, but they sure as hell won't be good.
Biggest Test(s): at UNC 9/10
Biggest Trap(s): at Army 11/12
Most Important Factor: The Maturation of Chas Dodd

Individual Conference Predictions coming tomorrow.

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