2006 Big East Surprises, Top Coaches & MVPs

Posted Dec 10, 2006

2006 Big East Surprises, Disappointments, Bests & MVPs

CFN 2006 All-Big East Team and Top 30 Players

Coach of the Year
Greg Schiano, Rutgers
Almost everyone in the Big East did a decent job of coaching this season. Schiano gets the nod for not just getting his team within an eyelash of the BCS, but as a bit of a lifetime achievement award for turning around the program that couldn't be saved. Cincinnati's Mark Dantonio was closer than you might have thought to getting the honor..

Worst Coaching Job of the Year – Greg Robinson, Syracuse
Robinson made no headway in his second year as the Orange's head man leading an offense that finished last, or near the bottom, in every major category. With only one win in Big East play over the last two years, Robinson's program has to show signs of life next year or changes might be made.

Best Performance of the Season -
Louisville QB Brian Brohm completed 19 of 26 passes for 354 yards and a touchdown in the 44-34 win over West Virginia, and in a losing cause, West Virginia QB Pat White, completed 13 of 20 passes for 222 yards and ran 23 times for 125 yards and four touchdowns.

Top Freshman – Connecticut RB Donald Brown
The speedy UConn back was used sparingly over the first seven games of the year, and then he exploded for 199 yards in a nationally televised battle with Rutgers and tore off 205 yards and two touchdowns the following week against Pitt. He'll be the focal point of next year's Husky attack.

Most Disappointing Player – Syracuse QB Perry Patterson
Patterson finished off his disappointing career with 25 touchdown passes and 25 interceptions, and while he improved this year with only four picks and 12 scoring throws, he only threw for four touchdowns in Big East play and only led the team to one win over the final seven games. In other words, he didn't get the passing game going.

Biggest Surprise – Cincinnati
Rutgers was supposed to be good. Maybe not 10-2 good, but good. Cincinnati was still supposed to be rebuilding under Mark Dantonio, and now it's off to the International Bowl to face Western Michigan helped by a stunning blowout win over Rutgers and a nice 4-3 Big East record. Now the program has to start again under former Central Michigan head man Brian Kelly with Dantonio off to Michigan State.

Biggest Disappointment – Connecticut
The Huskies weren't supposed to be great, but they weren't supposed to be 4-8 and 1-6 in the Big East. The normally solid defense didn't show up all season long, while the passing attack, outside of the two-overtime win over Pitt, was last-in-the-league awful.

Best Game of the Big East Season 
Louisville 44 ... West Virg
inia 34
In a shootout with the two teams combining for 1,008 yards, Louisville turned the game around early in the second half with a 13-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by Malik Jackson and a 40-yard punt return for a score from Trent Guy. Each offense was unstoppable as West Virginia, even without a banged up Steve Slaton in the third quarter, ran for 318 yards with Pat White scoring four times. Louisville got two Anthony Allen touchdown runs and kept the pressure up in the second half with a seven-yard Mario Urrutia touchdown catch. Slaton tore off a 42-yard run for an early 7-3 lead, but suffered an arm injury that kept him out for two drives.

Second Best Game
West Virginia 41 ... Rutgers 39 3OT, Dec. 3
Third Best Game
Rutgers 28 ... Louisville 25, Nov. 11

Worst Game of the Big East Season 
Cincinnati 17 ... Syracuse 3
Cincinnati outscored Syracuse 14-0 in the second half with a two-yard Greg Moore touchdown run and a 37-yard Derrick Stewart scoring catch. The D held the Orange to 180 yards with four sacks of Perry Patterson. The Orange only managed a 23-yard Patrick Shadle field goal to answer a 20-yard Kevin Lovell first quarter field goal. The Orange got deep into Bearcat territory in the second half, but stalled after missing on two fourth downs.

Team MVPs   
Cincinnati – TE Brent Celek, CB Mike Mickens
CFN Preview 2006 predicted record: 4-8, final regular season record: 7-5

RB Donald Brown, DE Rhema Fuller
CFN Preview 2006 predicted record: 6-6, final regular season record: 4-8

QB Brian Brohm, DT Amobe Okoye
CFN Preview 2006 predicted record: 11-1, final regular season record:

Pitt – QB Tyler Palko, LB H.B Blades

CFN Preview 2006 predicted record: 8-4, final regular season record: 6-6

Rutgers - RB Ray Rice, DT Eric Foster
CFN Preview 2006 predicted record: 6-6, final regular season record: 10-2

South Florida – QB Matt Grothe, LB Stephen Nicholas

CFN Preview 2006 predicted record: 8-4, final regular season record: 8-4

RB Delone Carter, LB Kelvin Smith
CFN Preview 2006 predicted record: 3-9, final regular season record: 4-8

West Virginia – QB Pat White & RB Steve Slaton, S Eric Wicks

CFN Preview 2006 predicted record: 10-2, final regular season record:
CFN 2006 All-Big East Team and Top 30 Players