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2007 Big East Preview - Unit Rankings

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jul 31, 2007


2007 CFN Preview - Big East Unit Rankings from top to bottom

2007 CFN Big East Preview

Unit Rankings

Team Previews, Offenses, Defenses & Depth Charts
- Cincinnati | Connecticut | Louisville | Pitt
- Rutgers | South Florida | Syracuse | West Virginia

- 2007 CFN Big East Preview
-
CFN All-Big East Team & Top 30 Players
- Big East Team-by-Team Capsules
- Big East Schedules & Predictions

Offenses
1. Louisville
The coaching staff is new, but the results won’t differ much from last season when Louisville rung up 37 points and 475 yards a game.  The Cardinals will spread the field and ask future first round draft choice Brian Brohm to distribute the ball to his plethora of playmakers.  Brohm’s embarrassment of riches at receiver includes senior Harry Douglas, junior Mario Urrutia and senior Gary Barnidge, who combined for 159 receptions and 16 touchdowns in 2006.  Head coach Steve Kragthorpe and offensive coordinator Charlie Stubbs love leaning on the tight end, so Barnidge could be particularly busy this fall.  Even without Michael Bush the running game is in good shape with the returns of Anthony Allen and George Stripling, a thunder and lightning combo that had 20 touchdowns a year ago.  If Kragthorpe was able to supercharge the Tulsa offense, just imagine what he’ll do with all the resources they have in Louisville.

2. West Virginia
3. Rutgers
4. Pitt
5. South Florida
6. Syracuse
7. Cincinnati
8. Connecticut

Quarterbacks  
1. West Virginia
The more comfortable Pat White becomes in the pocket and in Rich Rodriguez’s complex system, the more dangerous he’ll become on Saturdays.  He’ll electrify his way to another 1,000-yard season on the ground and a serious push for the Heisman Trophy. Backup Jarrett Brown could step in and win if needed.

2. Louisville
3. South Florida
4. Rutgers
5. Cincinnati
6. Pitt
7. Syracuse
8. Connecticut

Running Backs
1. West Virginia
Even without two of his best blockers, Dan Mozes and Jeremy Sheffey, Steve Slaton will be Steve Slaton, slicing through opposing defenses on a weekly basis.  However, unless a reliable reserve or two emerges, he could be gassed by the time November arrives.

2. Rutgers
3. Louisville
4. Connecticut
5. Pitt
6. Syracuse
7. South Florida
8. Cincinnati

Receivers
1. Louisville
As if Brian Brohm needs an extra advantage, he’ll be surrounded by one of the most lethal group of receivers in the country in 2007.  While Harry Douglas, Mario Urrutia and Gary Barnidge will all finish the season on the all-Big East team, at least one of the young backups will enjoy a 30-catch breakout year in a complimentary role.

2. Syracuse
3. Pitt
4. Rutgers
5. South Florida
6. Cincinnati
7. West Virginia
8. Connecticut

Offensive Line
1. Rutgers    
Considering the job line coach Kyle Flood has done the last two years, he has more than enough returning talent in 2007 to whip this gang into a cohesive unit.  The Scarlet Knights will run and pass block equally well this fall, even if the underbelly is a little softer than it was a year ago.

2. Louisville
3. West Virginia
4. Pitt
5. South Florida
6. Syracuse
7. Cincinnati
8. Connecticut

Defenses
1. South Florida
Like all teams from Florida, the USF defense pursues well and is built on speed.  Wally Burnham’s unit is well-coached, prevents the big play and is vastly underappreciated and unnoticed on a national level.  That could change if the Bulls crack the top 10 in total defense in 2007, a distinct possibility.  Next level corners Trae Williams and Mike Jenkins allow the defense to sell out on occasion, and the front four, led by sophomore rush end George Selvie, returns seven linemen that started games in 2006.  Importing defensive line coach Dan McCarney and linebacker Tyrone McKenzie from Iowa State were coups that’ll pay immediate dividends.

2. Rutgers
3. Louisville
4. Cincinnati
5. West Virginia
6. Pitt
7. Connecticut
8. Syracuse

Defensive Lines
1. Rutgers
While Eric Foster and Jamaal Westerman are already all-league linemen, George Johnson will be on the brink of joining them now that he’s about to become a regular.  The pass rush is going to assist a re-tooled back seven, but additional depth is needed at tackle or else the run defense could suffer.

2. Louisville
3. South Florida
4. Cincinnati
5. West Virginia
6. Pitt
7. Syracuse
8. Connecticut

Linebackers
1. South Florida
Normally, you don’t get better by losing Stephen Nicholas and Pat St. Louis, but with Ben Moffitt surrounded by the next generation of baby Bull linebackers, the corps should be stronger than ever.

2. Rutgers
3. Louisville
4. Connecticut
5. West Virginia
6. Cincinnati
7. Pitt
8. Syracuse

Defensive Backs
1. South Florida
After Louisville’s Brian Brohm, the Big East has no truly top-notch passers.  That reality combined with the loaded USF secondary will land the Bulls among the nation’s top 10 or 12 teams this year in pass efficiency defense.

2. Rutgers
3. West Virginia
4. Pitt
5. Cincinnati
6. Syracuse
7. Connecticut
8. Louisville

Special Teams
1. West Virginia
The West Virginia kicking game will be in good shape in 2007 as long as all-around kicker Pat McAfee is around.  The only intrigue surrounds his ability to continue punting at a high level and keeping punter Scott Kozlowski on the bench. Darius Reynaud and Vaughn Rivers are elite returners.

2. Louisville
3. Pitt
4. Rutgers
5. Connecticut
6. Syracuse
7. South Florida
8. Cincinnati

 

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