2009 College Football—- Big East and Conference USA

August 24, 2009 |

 

         We will begin our journey through the conferences with the Big East and Conference USA. Both leagues should be very interesting this year since there is no obvious favorite to capture the league title. You won’t see the national champion come out of these leagues, but you should see some exciting football. I’ll begin with my assessment of the 2009 Big East.

    

             PROJECTED BIG EAST FINAL STANDINGS

1.            South Florida

2.           West Virginia

3.           Pittsburgh

4.            Cincinnati

5.             Rutgers

6.              Louisville

7.             Connecticut

8.              Syracuse

 

        Without an obvious champion, I look for the Bulls of South Florida to finally ascend to the top of the Big East. They have big time senior stars in Matt Grothe and George Selvie that I think will lead the younger players in the right direction. Their biggest tests will be West Virginia and Pittsburgh. Both of those teams have question marks at QB. WVU with a new starter replacing the legendary Pat White, and Pitt with Bill Stull not exactly tearing the world up last season retaining the starting gig. Defending champs Cincy should contend, especially with hot new coach Brian Kelly, but they have to replace almost their entire defense. Rutgers returns alot, but has absolutely no game experience at QB. Coach Schiano will have to do another masterful job with the defense to win games. As much as it hurts this Louisville alum, I can’t see UofL doing any better than 3-4 in conference, and that might be a stretch. The 0ffense should be improved, but the D is still lacking. UConn lost a ton off last years squad; and Syracuse is turning to Greg Paulus who hasn’t played football since 2004.

 

Bowl Teams:           South Florida, West Virginia,  Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Rutgers

Offensive MVP:   Matt Grothe,  QB  South Florida

The dual threat QB has thrown for over 8,00 yards and run for over 2,000 in his Bulls career. I expect big things in his senior season.

Defensive MVP:  George Selvie,  DE   South Florida

The pass rushing DE has 25.5 sacks in his Bulls career.

Team most likely to do way better or worse than I predicted:

Rutgers. If they get any QB play they could rocket up the Big East standings. I just don’t see it coming from what they’ve got.

Best TE in the league:     Shamar Graves, Rutgers

The 6’3″ 230 lber will need to provide an important pass catching option to whoever is the new Knight QB.

Best Coordinator:   Todd Orlando,  DC   Connecticut

 His Huskies defense was 6th in the nation in total defense last year. He will need all his skills to remake a defense that lost most of its line and backfield.

 

             PROJECTED    C-USA FINAL STANDINGS

East

1.     East Carolina

2.     Southern Mississippi

3.    Central Florida

4.      Marshall

5.       Memphis

6.        UAB

WEST

1.       Houston

2.         UTEP

3.        Tulsa

4.        Tulane

5.         Rice

6.           SMU

C-USA Championship game:    Houston over  ECU

    I think that in his second year coach Kevin Sumlin has all the ingredients to take Houston to the top of C-USA. Expect QB Case Keenum to put up astronomical numbers, the only questions reside in the defense. East Carolina and Southern Miss don’t have a dimes difference between them and will be battling all year for the East division crown. I think the return of 6th year QB Patrick Pinckney gives ECU the edge. UTEP and Central Florida both return enough maturing players that they should get back into the bowl picture and even though Tulsa lost alot of firepower, you can’t bet against Coach Todd Graham’s system. Marshall and Tulane should be improved as both of their coaches are on the hot seat. Memphis will be depending on a lot of transfers to get things done this year. Rice is coming of a huge bowl win, but lost the best QB, TE and WR in recent team history. UAB and June Jones’ SMU team both need much help to put W’s on the ledger this year.

 

Bowl Teams:  Houston, Southern Miss, UTEP, East Carolina, Tulsa

Offensive MVP:    Case Keenum,  QB   Houston

The junior QB threw for over 5,000 yards and 44 TD’s last year. Enough said.

Defensive MVP:   Lawrence Young,  LB    Central Florida

    Young is the linchpin of George O’Leary’s defense at Central Florida. His continued success at making tackles all over the field is the key to UCF’s bowl possibilities.

Team most likely to do way better or worse than I predicted:

SMU. June Jones system has worked before. Now that he has one year under his belt and at least some of his own recruits in the pipeline, they could surprise. Of course I have them picked last in their division, so it won’t take much to surprise.

Best TE in the league:  Cody Slate,   Marshall

He will probably lead his team in receptions this year and improve on his career average of 50 a season.

Best Coordinator:   Dana Holgorsen,  OC    Houston

The architect of the number two total offense in the nation last year expects even more than 562 yards and 40 pts a game from this years product.

 

          Up next:    Pac-10  and the WAC

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