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2010 Big East Preview - Unit Rankings
Syracuse LB Doug Hogue
Syracuse LB Doug Hogue
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 4, 2010


2010 CollegeFootballNews.com Preview - Big East Unit Rankings


Big East Unit Rankings


- Cincinnati Preview | Connecticut Preview | Louisville Preview | Pitt Preview
- Rutgers Preview | USF Preview | Syracuse Preview | West Virginia Preview

- 2010 Big East Preview | 2010 Big East Unit Rankings | 2010 Schedules & Picks
- 2010 CFN All-Big East Team & Top 30 Players | Get Big East Tickets
- 2010 Big East Team By Team Looks & Predicted Finish


Big East Overall

Based on how good each team is and NOT the predicted finish

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

Offenses

1. Pitt
Bill Stull will be missed, something Pitt fans never imagined they’d be hearing. The Panthers have a void at quarterback that’s going to be filled by sophomore Tino Sunseri, a talented recruit with no experience. If the offense is going to maintain last season’s momentum under second-year coordinator Frank Cignetti, who coached up Stull masterfully, it’ll need some degree of consistency from behind center. Poor play from the quarterback means superstar receiver Jon Baldwin gets underutilized and opposing defenses can stack the line to stop Dion Lewis and Ray Graham. Lewis was last year’s revelation, traveling from lightly-recruited rookie to 1,800-yard Heisman contender. The program’s other concerns reside on the interior of the line and at tight end, where graduation sunk its teeth into both areas.

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

Quarterbacks

1. Cincinnati
While it won’t be simple replacing a hurler like Tony Pike, Cincinnati has answers. Sure, it’s a new year with new challenges, but Zach Collaros was downright brilliant when forced into action last fall. That stint brought a level of confidence and experience that’s going to carry over into this season. Collaros and Chazz Anderson are both adept at avoid the rush and bolting out of the pocket for a first down. Even more than that, however, they’ve got the speed and light feet to motivate the staff to open up the playbook and design run-first plays for the quarterbacks.

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

Running Backs

1. Pitt
Dave Wannstedt has been pointing to this day for years, when he has a loaded backfield that can wear defenses down for four quarters. Dion Lewis, the undisputed star, has looked even better and stronger this offseason, and Ray Graham plans to make life tough on the staff. Particularly as a new starting quarterback gets broken in, both will be used liberally in 2010. Lewis is a legitimate All-America candidate and Graham would start for a bunch of schools not named Pittsburgh. This is an ideal situation for Wannstedt, who’s biggest concern this season might be making sure that all of his gifted backs are happy.

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

Receivers

1. Cincinnati
It says a lot about this group that it can lose an all-star in Mardy Gilyard and still be among the nation’s most dangerous. Armon Binns is next-level, D.J. Woods is vastly underrated, and Ben Guidugli is a playmaking tight end. If Vidal Hazelton, Marcus Barnett, or Jamar Howard realizes their potential, there won’t be enough passes to keep everyone happy. There’s size, speed, and experience, a combination that’ll keep the passing game from experiencing any noticeable drop-off.

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

Offensive Lines

1. Connecticut
Isn’t it finally time to start giving more attention to the job being done by offensive line coach Mike Foley? The assistant perennially does a phenomenal job of taking what appears to be marginal talent and leading it to higher ground. This group promises to make everyone around it better. If the left tackle spot is solved, it might be the best unit in the Big East. Season after season, this school has had a habit of taking marginal players and coaching them into effective blockers, especially on running down. No disrespect to Jordan Todman and Andre Dixon, but you don’t produce two 1,000-yard rushers on a non-option team without some fantastic blocking at the point of attack.

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

Defenses

1. Pitt
Although Pitt has suffered some heavy losses on defense, quality units have a knack for reloading. The Panther D is one such example. Of course, the departures of five starters and four all-stars were somewhat mollified by the return of DE Greg Romeus, who could be on an NFL depth chart today. He and Jabaal Sheard form one of the country’s better bookends up front, which has a way of making everyone else better. After finishing No. 2 in the league in total and scoring defense, Pitt has a good nucleus to work around and at least one budding playmaker at each level. While DT Myles Caragein, LB Dan Mason, and FS Jared Holley are anonymous outside Western Pennsylvania, they’re collectively going to make a ton of plays in 2010. The Panthers are recruiting and developing talent so well these days, rebuilding in not in their defensive vocabulary.

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

Defensive Lines

1. Pitt
Everything does indeed begin up front, good news for a Panther team that might again boast the Big East’s best front wall. There’ll be no easy solution for opponents this fall. Sure, they can devote two or three blockers to DE Greg Romeus, the leading man, but that’ll only create a clearer path to the backfield for Jabaal Sheard, Myles Caragein, and Chas Alecxih. Few schools in America were better at wreaking havoc than Pitt, which was No. 1 nationally in sacks and No. 9 in tackles for loss. Even without Williams, the trends won’t change. As long as Romeus and Sheard are on the outside and Caragein and Alecxih are battling on the inside, the Panthers are going to pile up plays behind the line.

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

Linebackers

1. Pitt
Since Dave Wannstedt first arrived, Pitt has done an excellent job of attracting good athletes at the position and coaching them into outstanding linebackers. All three of this year’s starters will cover a lot of ground and wrap up when reaching their target. Provided the first-liners remain healthy, the Panthers are well-stocked with playmakers on the second line of defense. All three have All-Big East potential, and the mix of Max Gruder’s instincts and Dan Mason and Greg Williams’ explosiveness will prevent backs from breaking long runs into the secondary.

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

Secondaries

1. West Virginia
The secondary has as good a collection of athletes as any Big East squad. And with an added year of experience and offseason training, they’ll be better equipped to avoid the lapses that plagued them in 2009. Throw in a schedule that’s light on prolific passers, and the Mountaineers have no excuses for not being air-tight from start to finish. The secondary is comprised of a bunch of really good athletes, who break well on the ball and have the hands of receivers. Last year’s squad led the Big East with 17 interceptions, and that was without getting much takeaway contribution from CB Brandon Hogan, who was often avoided by quarterbacks.

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

Special Teams

1. Rutgers
The key will be PK San San Te, who has yet to fulfill his potential or maximize all of his leg strength. If he can straighten out his kicks beyond 40 yards, it’ll solidify a special teams unit that has a nice foundation with P Teddy Dellaganna and the coverage units. For the past few seasons, the Scarlet Knights have consistently had one of the stingiest cover teams in the Big East. This year should be no different. Thanks in large part to the strong leg of Dellaganna, Rutgers led the league in kick coverage and were second in punts.

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

- Cincinnati Preview | Connecticut Preview | Louisville Preview | Pitt Preview
- Rutgers Preview | USF Preview | Syracuse Preview | West Virginia Preview

- 2010 Big East Preview | 2010 Big East Unit Rankings | 2010 Schedules & Picks
- 2010 CFN All-Big East Team & Top 30 Players | Get Big East Tickets
- 2010 Big East Team By Team Looks & Predicted Finish