In this piece we will preview the 2012 Big East Conference in College football and offer a Few Teams angles on this 8 team conference.
As we look through the Big East this year and analyze which teams will be players and which will be mediocre, we see a conference with a lot of Parity. West Virginia has exited for this year as they are headed to the Big Twelve. This leaves 8 teams. Below is a preview and Angle for each of them.
Louisville: This year our choice to win the Big East is Louisville. The Cardinals are returning 17 starters from last season, Including 9 on defense for a 7-6 team. Louisville was ranked 17th in the nation on defense allowing 20 points per game. Ten of this years starters were true freshmen last year who will have the poise they didn't have last season. Louisville has Qb Teddy Bridgewater back and he will have his work cut out for him as the Cardinals will play Bowl teams in 4 of their 5 road games this season. Louisville finished strong to Win this conference last season after a 2-4 start and will likely do so again, as they are only going to get Better. For a Team angle we note that Louisville is 7-1 to the spread as a dog in the first game of back to back road games, which could be in play week 4 at Florida International in a home loss revenge spot.
South Florida: The Bulls are returning 15 starters from last season including Qb B.J. Daniels who is a threat with both his passing and ground game. South Florida finished 5-7 and a dismal 1-6 in conference play. However the record does not tell the story as the Bulls out gained their opponents to the tune of 405-379. After a 4-0 start and a Big upset as an 11 point dog at Notre Dame to start the season, they then lost 7 of their last 8, with 5 of the losses by 6 or less points. They simply need to execute better when the game is on the line to be a major player this season. For a team angle we note that South Florida is 5-0 to the spread as double digit dogs in games with revenge, a situation that could arise on November 17th against Miami. We all remember what they did in their last trip to Miami in 2010, a 23-20 road win as an 11 point dog.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats were 10-3 last season as they rebounded from a mediocre 4-8 year in 2010. This year they are returning just 11 starters. Two of the losses could really prove costly as they lost two play makers in Qb Zack Collaros and Rb Isaiah Pead. The good news is 7 returning defensive starters from a defense that was every bit as good as Louisville, allowing just 20.3 points a game.The Bearcats had an amazing 63 players in either their first or second year playing last season. Their Bowl win last season over an SEC Team in Vanderbilt was very uplifting for them as a team and for a Big East Conference that many feel does not deserve a BCS Bowl bid. If the Bearcats offense could flourish and not turn the bal over with Qb Munchie Legaux, they could make some noise this year as they have a Very manageable schedule with only 4 true road games. For a team angle we see that Cincinnati is 9-0 to the spread in games before Louisville, which comes into play on October 20th against Toledo.
Pittsburgh: The Panthers have a new coach in Paul Chryst from Wisconsin, their fourth one in a little over a year. Chryst is bringing in some of the assistants from Wisconsin along with him. The Panthers return 12 starters from last season. Tino Sunseri is at the helm on offense for a third straight year and he has top Running back Ray Graham along with him as well as some talented Wide outs. The Panthers look to improve on an inconsistent 6-7 season, that saw them lose their bowl game to SMU. The Panthers have always been a powerhouse in the Big East and were 8-5 in 2010 and 10-3 in 2009. The Panthers will get a break not having to play the Back Yard Brawl game with West Virginia this season, but do have 6 road games on their schedule. Looking at a possible solid spot for a team angle we note that they have covered 10 straight as a road dog with revenge. This situation arises early on September 6th against Cincinnati. However one must tread lightly with road teams that have new coaches in their first road game.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights are off a fine 9-4 season, that concluded with a solid Bowl win over Big 12 Conference Iowa State. Rutgers will have a new coach as Greg Schiano heads for Tampa Bay and the NFL. Rutgers returns 14 starters for new Coach Kyle Flood. Defense appear to be the strong spot with 8 returning starters from a unit that allowed just 18 points per game last season. On offense Rutgers must figure out who will lead them. The Candidates are Chas Dodd and Gary Nova, who both struggled in spots last season. With the uncertainty that comes with an entirely new staff, it will be important for Rutgers to be cohesive and get a solid chemistry going on both sides of the ball to be successful this season. For a team angle we go out of conference and note Rutgers series Dominance over Army. Rutgers has covered 8 of 9 in the series. They are scheduled to meet November 10th this season.
Syracuse: The Orange come back after a mediocre 5-7 2011 campaign. The Orange appeared to have turned the corner under fourth year head coach Doug Marrone in 2010 going 8-4 and winning a bowl game against Kansas State. Now they return 12 starters. Syracuse needs to shore up a defense that allowed 28 points per game last year. On offense Qb Ryan Nassib will look to improve and regain his confidence after guiding Syracuse to 5 straight losses to close out last year. Things will not be easy as their are no cupcakes to start things off, as they play Northwestern and USC to kick things off. For a team angle we will look to week 5 on October 5th against Pittsburgh, as we note that Syracuse has covered 6 of the last 7 when playing with rest and has revenge.
Temple: The Owls look to have turned the corner the last 3 seasons going 26-12 combined under Al Golden. Now they move back to the Big East from the MAC Conference. Coach Steve Addadazio will be taking over and Temple returns just 9 starters and 35 lettermen from a 9-4 team. This looks to be a rebuilding year with many new faces on both sides of the ball. For a team angle we note that Temple has failed to cover in 6 of the last 7 weekday games.
Connecticut: The Huskies bounced last season at 5-7 after a 8-5 2010 season. This year they return 14 starters. The Huskies must improve on an offense that has dropped off in each of the last two seasons. Qb Johnny Mcentee leads the charge in his final season. His main weapon in tailback Lyle McCombs is back for his second season after exceeding expectations lat year. If all breaks well this season the Huskies could surprise some folks. For a nice team angle we see that Connecticut is 5-0 to the spread the last 3 years as a home dog. We may see this situation early on September 8th against North Carolina St.
In Closing there does not seem to be a Beast in the Big East this year. This conference appears to have four potentially solid teams and a few others with parity that could either surprise us or become cellar dwellers. Louisville will be our choice to win this Conference for a second straight season. I hope you enjoyed this preview and hope all your selections are winning ones this football season.
Rob Vinciletti is the Founder of Golden Contender Sports. He is tearing up bases once again this season and ranked at or near the top of all the leader boards with his exclusive Diamond cutter systems. In football Rob has Produced winning results in both Pro and College football in each of the last three seasons, and is off to a fast start in the NFLX. You can check back daily to receive free picks from Rob and get an additional free play on Monday nights on The Bandbox Sports talk show at 7:05 eastern. Listen online at 88.9 wsia.fm. Best of luck to all we move closer to another big MLB Post season and the arrival of football. RV