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Big East Football Q & A with Big East Coast Bias

Big East Football Q & A with Big East Coast Bias

We continue our series of Conference Conversations this week by taking a look at the Big East. The Saturday Edge is very proud to present an exclusive Big East football Q & A session with Pete Sonski of Big East Coast Bias.

Question # 1: Las Vegas has installed Louisville as the favorite to win the Big East this year (+190). What other team(s) could realistically surprise the oddsmakers and challenge the Cardinals for the conference title? Why?

South Florida has a tremendous defense and a veteran quarterback in B.J. Daniels. The team has had difficulty down the stretch in recent seasons, but it returns 14 players and has four conference home games (as opposed to three for half the conference). I consider the Bulls are legitimate contenders.

Rutgers is another strong possibility. They’ve got another great defense: deep and talented. If the Scarlet Knights can settle on a quarterback and run the ball effectively they’ll be in every conference game.

Question # 2: Name me a few unknown players that could become stars this season?

Big East Football - Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater

Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater

There are not many household names in the Big East, so the field of unknowns is large. Look for Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville QB) to draw some attention this year.

UConn RB Lyle McCombs logged 1,100 yards last year as a freshman. His offensive line should be a notch better in 2012.

QB Chris Coyer at Temple put up some numbers late last year. He could catch somebody off guard.

Cincinnati’s Anthony McClung is a standout WR but under most people’s radar.

On the defensive side, watch LBs Khaseem Greene at Rutgers and DeDe Lattimore at South Florida.

Question # 3: Which team do you believe will show the greatest improvement over last season? Which team is overrated (not nearly as good as they are being made out to be)?

South Florida was 1-6 in conference last year. The Bulls should easily be the biggest mover in a positive direction.

Pittsburgh has a lot of talent but has had four head coaches in the past two seasons (not counting interims). They’re moving from a 3-4 to a 4-3 on defense and from the spread to the pro-set on offense. The odds makers have them at seven wins, but I’m not taking the over.

Question # 4: How’s Temple going to do in their first year back in the conference?

Temple is moving into the Big East conference with just eight returning starters. They lost a 1,500-yard rusher to the NFL in Bernard Pierce. The Owls were 9-4 last year with a bowl victory against Wyoming, but it’s likely they will not be favored in a single conference game in 2012.

I would like to thank Pete for his participation and excellent answers to our Big East football questions. If you get a chance please check out their site. It has some really great information on Big East football. And don’t forget to leave us your comments below. Thanks – Pez.

 

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12 Responses to “Big East Football Q & A with Big East Coast Bias”

  1. SoonerBS says:

    I think this season’s conference races are the most wide open they have been in some time. As was mentioned in this article, there are three teams that could possibly contend for the championship in South Florida, Louisville and Rutgers. We also have to throw Pittsburgh in there simply because of the unknowns at this point about how well the players will take to their new coach. They obviously have the talent to contend in this conference this year with the right coach.

    In the SEC it looks like it will be between Alabama and LSU again, but Arkansas has the talent to make some waves in the West and South Carolina could contend for the championship as the East representative. I have to throw Florida in to the mix as my darkhouse contender. With their defense they will be in every game, and if they can get some offense going, unlike last season, they could possibly be a surprise for this conference.

    The Big Ten may be the most wide open conference of the BCS conferences with Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, and Nebraska all in the mix to vie for the top spot. Darkhorse possibilities will be Illinois, who I think would have a legitimate chance to win the Leaders division if it were not for their schedule, and I think Iowa will make some noise in the Legends division.

    Being in the middle of the Big 12 conference, I have a little more insight on this conference. The Big 12 conference is also wide open this season with Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia being the main contestants for the top spot. I think Oklahoma will have to find a more consistent running game in order to win, Texas needs better play at the QB position, and West Virginia will have to show that they have the depth to win in a tougher conference. Darkhorses thrive in this conference as I think Texas Tech (experience and schedule) and Baylor will both make some waves in the conference this season. I think the law of averages will bite Kansas State this season and I think inexperience at QB will do the same to Oklahoma State.

    I think the ACC is more wide open than a lot of college football prognosticators see it. Most of the country is already crowning Florida State as the champion of the ACC and sending them off to play in the National Championship. However, I have seen this kind of talk every year for the past several years with Virginia Tech, Miami, and Clemson, too. Every year the hopes are high, the talk is big, but the results are disappointing to ACC fans. The fact is that this is a very volatile conference where any team can beat the other team on any given Saturday. I think there has been more balance across this conference in the last several years than any other conference. What this equates to is the likely-hood of upsets. Florida State was the favorite last year before their loss to Oklahoma sent them into a tailspin. This could happen with any of these teams this season as well. Personally, I like Virginia Tech to make a strong run for the championship as this is one of the few seasons that their name is not being thrown around to win it, and yet, they may have the most athletically talented QB and one of the best defenses in the conference. The other obvious contender is Clemson for all apparent reasons. Look for NC State to make some waves.

    I think that the PAC 12 might be the most obvious conference of all the BCS conferences with USC the clear leader here for the PAC 12 Championship and could possibly go on to the National Championship. Personally, I don’t even see a darkhorse in this conference, but I see a lot of teams fighting for 2nd place: Oregon, Stanford and Utah.

  2. Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

    SoonerBS, don’t forget about Georgia in the SEC. They are favored to win the East, though I agree Florida, and especially South Carolina will challenge.

    I still question how well West Virginia is going to do in their first year in the Big 12. The “step up” in competition is going to take a toll somewhere along the line. Luckily they have a nice schedule to fall back on.

    Oregon is definitely going to challenge USC in the PAC 12. They are still loaded at the skill positions and as I mentioned before, this could be one of their better defenses.

    • SoonerBS says:

      I didn’t forget about Georgia, I left them out intentionally. Seems like every season there is big talk about Georgia being a darkhorse National Championship contender and Richt is never able to bring them to the promised land. In fact, he more often disappoints than he delivers.

      Last season was an easy year for Georgia to win the East side because the division was at its weakest many years. I look for South Carolina and Florida to both be better than Georgia this year, and SC gets Georgia at home while the Florida game is played on a neutral field. In the SEC where defense rules, I see both Florida and SC with better defenses than Georgia. Georgia’s offense is able to put up big numbers against inferior defenses, but they struggle against the really good defenses. They had a good game against SC last year, but it was early in the season whenever SC was still having some internal personnel problems.

      One of the fun things about preseason discussion, Pez, is that we are ALL right on our prophecies and evaluations. ;)

      • Kevin says:

        I have no issues with you saying Florida and South Carolina will beat Georgia this year but they both have better defenses than Georgia? That makes me scratch my head.

        South Carolina losses their defensive coordinator, their leading tackler (Antonio Allen), their leading sacker (Melvin Ingram), their top three leading interceptors (including Stephon Gilmore), and also an anchor in the middle of the defense and NFL draft pick Travian Robertson. They have a lot to replace.

        Georgia essentially lost Brandon Boykin on defense. Boykin was a very good corner but his loss will hurt more on ST than it will on defense IMO.

        • SoonerBS says:

          Kevin, sometimes it is not so much about what a team loses as much as what they are plugging into the losses. Just going off what I have researched from various sources, most think that Florida, who only lost one off their roster from last season and had virtually the same defensive statistics as Georgia, will be absolutely stout along the lines of an LSU or Alabama last season. South Carolina had 6 losses on defense, but they are plugging in some absolute studs to replace them this season.

          In the end, there may not be a lot of difference statistically between these three teams defensively, but I’ll take the locations of games played between these teams over the coaching abilities of Richt. I’m not trying to take a jab at Georgia, and they may prove me wrong, but I think Florida is going to be a LOT better than last season and South Carolina finally has a lot of their personnel problems ironed out.

          • Kevin says:

            South Carolina does not have players better than Melvin Ingram, Antonio Allen and Stephen Gilmore that they are going to plug in and will be better than them.

  3. Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

    SoonerBS, I can’t say that I disagree with your UGA assessment.

    I definitely like South Carolina and Florida this year. It’s going to be interesting to see how well Florida does in Muschamp’s 2nd season. He seemed like he was doing a lot of learning last season. Offense is their major issue.

    South Carolina getting UGA at home should help. Bulldogs are currently a 2 point favorite. I doubt that is still around come kickoff.

  4. Kevin says:

    I would definitely throw Cincy up there with the teams that have the ability to win the conference. The defense made a huge leap last year and should be better this year. They do lose Isaiah Pead (and his fantastic last name) and Zach Collaros but anything can happen in the Big East and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them up among the leaders at the end of the year.

    • Pezgordo Pezgordo says:

      I’ll be taking a closer look at the Big East for you next week, but didn’t Cincy lose quite a few players from that defense?

      Pead and Collaros will also be tough to replace, but you gotta love a guy with a name like Muncie Legaux as your QB.

  5. GoSooners GoSooners says:

    When I have my doubts about which team will win a conference, I start looking strongly at the coaches. Especially when it comes to Division 1 football. The bottom line is with the exception of Kelly a few years ago at Cincy, this conference hasn’t had great coaching. Schiano and Wannstadt were very average to bad coaches who never could win an 8 team conference. Even if they had better recruiting. Butch Jones had his chance last year, but couldn’t get over the hump. Pasqualoni is back coaching again. He’s got a good win/loss record, but never really did anything special when he was at Cuse. And now he coaches a team that has always had trouble getting talent. Butch Jones lost too many starters from last season. And Rutgers has a new coach with no previous head coaching experience. I really think the only two teams qualified to win this conference are USF and Louisville. Skip Holtz is a grizzled veteran and Charlie Strong comes with a great pedigree and a pretty good coaching staff. So take your pick. It will be close between those two. But USF better get them this year because Louisville is one of the youngest teams in the country. They’ll just get better. That is unless they decide to skip town and join the Big 12.

  6. Terry says:

    I think Cincinnati lost more than 4 starters on defense. Maybe they have a few players returning with starting experience that are being counted as starters, but they lost a good nucleus from a defense that was a lot better then expected. Unless BJ Daniels all of a sudden becomes more consistent, I think Louisville has the best team in the Big East. I know the best team doesn’t always win, but that would be my choice.

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