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2008 Big East Preview - Unit Rankings
Connecticut CB Darius Butler
Connecticut CB Darius Butler
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 14, 2008


2008 CFN Preview - Big East Unit Rankings from top to bottom

2008 CFN Big East Preview

Unit Rankings

Team Previews & Predictions
- Cincinnati | Connecticut | Louisville | Pitt
- Rutgers | South Florida | Syracuse | West Virginia

- 2008 CFN Big East Preview
- CFN All-Big East Team & Top 30 Players
- Big East Team-by-Team Capsules

-
Big Ten Unit Rankings

- Big East Schedules & Predictions

Offenses
1. West Virginia
Even after delivering the best season of a brilliant career, West Virginia might need more production from QB Pat White.  Without playmakers Steve Slaton, Owen Schmitt, and Darius Reynaud, who caught 12 touchdown passes, the Mountaineers are searching for complements to its dynamic two-way quarterback.  The most likely candidate to step up is RB Noel Devine, who erupted for 627 yards and six touchdowns on only 73 carries as a rookie.  The line, always a constant in Morgantown, returns five starters and will be among the toughest units in the country.  Although new coordinator Jeff Mullen will stick with the spread offense, he does plan to add a few new wrinkles to the playbook, particularly in the passing game. 

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

Quarterbacks  
1. West Virginia
As long as Pat White is upright, all of the individual and team goals that existed during the Rich Rodriguez remain intact. Ultra-comfortable in this offense and continually improving as a thrower, he’ll be in the hunt for the Heisman. Jarrett Brown is an excellent No. 2 who'd be an all-star starter almost anywhere else.

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

Running Backs
1. Pitt
It took a few years, but in LeSean McCoy, Dave Wannstedt finally has a workhorse back who can bludgeon defenses and help set up the pass. Shariff Harris and Kevin Collier need to get some developmental carries for when McCoy inevitably leaves early for the big league. The Big East’s premier running back now that Ray Rice and Steve Slaton are in the NFL, McCoy is special.     

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

Receivers
1. Rutgers
The receivers have come a long way in one year to become the most explosive unit on the Rutgers roster. Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood form a virtually unstoppable pair of sluggers who eliminate the possibility of double teams. Both are poised for monster statistical seasons as Mike Teel’s favorite targets, while TE Kevin Brock will surprise with 40 receptions of his own.

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

Offensive Line
1. West Virginia
Everything is lining up for this to be the next in a growing line of really nasty Mountaineer front walls. While not loaded with national star power, the unit is seasoned, deep, and and very strong. Few lines are better at creating open running lanes. 

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

Defenses
1. Connecticut
As stingy as Connecticut was in 2007, it might be even better this fall.  Eight starters are back, and some of the neophytes, such as sophomore linebackers Lawrence Wilson and Scott Lutrus, are quickly becoming reliable veterans. Lutrus is replacing All-Star Danny Lansanah in the middle, a more natural fit for his skill set. At end, Julius Williams and Cody Brown give the Huskies a formidable bookend that combined for 28.5 tackles for loss and 16 sacks a year ago. Keep an eye on DT Alex Polito, who erupted against Wake Forest in the bowl game and continues to perform like a budding star.   

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

Defensive Lines
1. Pitt
Dave Wannstedt has been building for this moment when he gets to go two-deep with top linemen. If everyone can stay healthy at one time, the Panthers have a chance to be an exceptional, tone-setting unit that can dominate. Greg Romeus is about to blow up at end, and the other three spots are just as strong.

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

Linebackers
1. West Virginia
Whatever the defensive line misses, the linebackers will be prepared to clean up.  On Reed Williams and Mortty Ivy alone, the Mountaineers can stake claim to having the best set of linebackers in the Big East.  If J. T. Thomas plays like he did in March, they could have one of the dozen or so most productive units in the country.           

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

Defensive Backs
1. Cincinnati
With Mike Mickens, DeAngelo Smith, and Brandon Underwood at corner, the Bearcats will once again finish the season with more interceptions than touchdown passes allowed. The safeties need to be replaced, but Cedric Tolbert and Brad Jones will be more than fine.   

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

Special Teams
1. West Virginia
As Pat McAfee goes, so goes the West Virginia special teams.  Proof that Patrick White isn’t the only dual-threat in Morgantown, McAfee is versatile enough to challenge for all-league honors as both a placekicker and a punter.  The Mountaineers have enough fleet-footed athletes to excel in coverage and in the return game.

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