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2013 Pre-Preseason Big East Rankings - 6-10
SMU QB Garrett Gilbert
SMU QB Garrett Gilbert
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 21, 2013


The too early look at how good the Big East teams should be in 2013. No. 6 to 10


CFN 2013 First Look Rankings

Big East - No. 6 to 10
 

2012 CFN Final Season Rankings
The Top 10 | Rankings 11-29 | Rankings 30-48 | Rankings 49-67
- Rankings 68-86Rankings 87-105The Bottom 19

FINAL 2012 Rankings By Conference
- ACC | Big East | Big Ten | Big 12 | C-USA | Ind
- MAC | Mountain West | Pac-12 | SEC | Sun Belt | WAC
- Based On Opinion ... CFN 2012 FINAL Rankings, Top  25

- 2013 Big East Rankings - No. 1-5

It might seem way too early, but considering the returning starters and the teams coming back, where does everyone stand before Signing Day and spring ball? Here's CFN's first look at all the teams for 2013 based on how good they appear to be at the moment. 
 
6. Connecticut (5-7)

Will the offense ever work? The Huskies had several chances to win close games, but they didn’t have the firepower to come up with the big plays needed to get over the hump. Paul Pasqualoni has to get the running game going after his O finished 117th in the nation on the ground.

Eight starters return on offense with Lyle McCombs a good back to feed to get more production, but the line has to be far better. With four starters returning up front, there could be a night-and-day improvement. Chandler Whitmer held down the starting quarterback job late, but he wasn’t efficient and he needs to get the downfield passing game going.

The defense that led the Big East and was seventh in the nation against the run loses linebacker Sio More and star end Trevardo Williams, but Yawin Smallwood is a player at one inside linebacker spot, and the safety tandem of Byron Jones and Ty-Meer Brown is solid. Angelo Pruitt has to be the new star pass rusher up front.

7. Houston (5-7)

After a strange and inconsistent season, life in Big East should start out with the bang. The offense should be even stronger after scoring 40 points or more in six games and finishing 11th in the nation in passing and 15th in yards. David Piland is back to take over the starting job after working in a backup role late in the season, and he has a great receiving corps to throw to with all the weapons returning. Not only are all the starters back on offense, but almost all the top backups return, too.

The problem last year was a defense that gave up points and yards faster than the offense could crank them out. The secondary was a particular problem, but at the very least it’ll be a more experienced group with all four starters returning. The pass rush should be devastating, even with Phillip Stewart gone at strongside linebacker. Punter Richie Leone should be among the nation’s best.

8. SMU (7-6)

Welcome to the Big East, now keep the momentum rolling. June Jones and the Mustangs close out 2012 with three wins in the final four games, highlighted by a blowout over Fresno State in the Hawaii Bowl. However, the offense didn’t work as well as expected for a Jones coached team, but the defense picked up the slack.

Bowl game star Margus Hunt is gone at one end, as are Torlan Pittman and Kevin Grenier off a front three that helped the team finish 15th in the nation against the run. Ja’Gared Davis and Taylor Reed are gone from the strong linebacking corps, but the secondary that struggled – allowing 278 yards per game – gets back all four starters.

The passing game that was so painfully inefficient needs Garrett Gilbert to be better. The former superstar Texas recruit put up yards at times, but he made way too many mistakes. Without Zach Line to carry the ground game, Gilbert needs more out of a receiving corps that loses top target Darius Johnson. Only two starters are back up front from a line that had a nightmare of a time in pass protection.

9. Temple (4-7)

New head coach Matt Rhule has a veteran team in place, but he has to do more with it than Steve Addazio was able to do in the first year back in the Big East. The defense was bad, the offense worse, and after losing five of the final six game, there’s still a ton of work to be done.

Depending on the formation, as many as ten starters are back for an offense that couldn’t throw the ball and relied too much on Montel Harris and Matt Brown to run the ball. Those are the only two key players the offense loses, needing quarterbacks Chris Coyer and Clinton “Juice” Granger to be more efficient and more effective. All the other skill players are back along with all five starters on the line.

The defense had a nice pass rush, but the most productive lineman, John Youboty, is gone. The run defense has to be better, and it could be with Tyler Matakevich one of the Big East’s rising young linebackers and Nate Smith and Blaze Caponegro two promising tacklers. Both safeties are gone – losing Vaughn Carraway will hurt – but all the top corner options return. The special teams will be a concern after losing punter/kicker Brandon McManus, one of the nation’s top all-around kickers, and star returner Matt Brown.

10. Memphis (4-8)

While 4-8 in Conference USA might not be cause for celebration, it wasn’t an awful first season for Justin Fuente. His team improved as the year went on, finishing off with a three-game winning streak. However, it’s going to be a fight to do too much in the first year in the Big East.

The offense finished dead last in Conference USA in yards and passing, but it was an efficient attack. Jacob Karam is back under center, but he loses top target Marcus Rucker. Keiwone Malone and Reggie Travis should get the passing game going a bit more. The combination of Jai Steib and Brandon Hayes should be able to get the ground game going behind a line that gets four starters back.

Third in the league in total defense, the Tigers get eight starters back including the entire line and six players in the front seven. Martin Ifredi is a rising star at one end, while Johnnie Farms and Terry Redden are big bodies on the inside for a run defense that allowed just 138 yards per game.

- 2013 Big East Rankings - No. 1-5