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Papa_Bull

Big East Preview ... Top 5s

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Preview 2005

Big East Preview ... Top 5s

Writeups by Pete Fiutak

1) 5 fearless predictions for the Big East

1. We'll all get sick of the "how is the Big East a BCS conference?" whining. Admittedly, I'll be a contributor to the problem. There's not a Big East team that would be guaranteed a top four finish in any of the other BCS conferences. However, that doesn't mean the league won't be entertaining with Louisville, Pitt and West Virginia sure to make things interesting. Syracuse and Rutgers will be better.

2. We still might not know just how good Louisville is,  at least until a possible BCS game. Sure, this is a fantastic team coming off an unbelievable season, but it didn't actually beat anyone of note and doesn't have any killers ahead this year. Sorry, but there's a problem when your best wins are over North Carolina and Boise State. This year, UL's best matchups are against Oregon State, West Virginia and Pitt. Sure, the schedule is an upgrade, but it'll be hard to convince fans of other big conferences that it's a slate worthy of note.

3. South Florida RB Andre Hall will end up being the league's best player, but he won't have an honest shot at Player of the Year honors with Pitt's Tyler Palko and Louisville's Brian Brohm battling it out. Hall will be a lock for 1,500 yards if he can stay healthy.

4. West Virginia will be in the picture. After being a major disappointment last year, and replacing several top players, the Mountaineers are flying under the radar. With Pitt and Louisville coming to Morgantown, and the Big East road games against the likely bottom four Syracuse, Rutgers, South Florida and Cincinnati, watch out for Rich Rodriguez's club.

5. Greg Robinson will make Syracuse Syracuse again ... next year. This is his first head coaching job, but he has the ability to make the defense more physical right away and will eventually get the offensive talent to make runs at Big East titles. Orange fans will end up being very happy with this hire.

2) 5 non-conference games that Big East teams had better take very, very seriously

1. Cincinnati at Miami University, Sept. 17 - The two teams split over the last two years. The inexperienced Bearcats should have a heck of a time getting out of this with a win.

2. Pittsburgh at Ohio, Sept. 10 - Pitt is sure to looking ahead at the Nebraska game and looking back on the Notre Dame showdown. Ohio and Frank Solich will be looking to shock the world with a great home win.

3. Rutgers at Buffalo, Sept. 17 - Don't forget that Rutgers lost 35-24 loss to New Hampshire last year. Pittsburgh is coming up the following week.

4. UCF at South Florida, Sept. 17 - This should develop into an interesting battle for second-tier Florida recruiting. After last year's debacle, UCF needs this win.

5. Buffalo at Syracuse, Sept. 10 - No, Buffalo won't win, but it has the experience and the defense to make this very interesting if the Orange is focused on the following week's game against Virginia.

 

3) 5 best Big East pro prospects

1. Pittsburgh QB Tyler Palko, Jr. - Palko appears ready to be a college football superstar. He has the personality, the grit, and the talent to be the Big East's signature player with another good year. He threw for 3,067 yards and 24 touchdowns with only seven interceptions. He rocked over the second half of the year highlighted by a 411-yard, five touchdown performance against South Florida to seal a BCS spot, and he became a better, more confident decision maker. He's tough, has a good arm, and is mobile finishing third on the team with 139 yards and three touchdowns.

2. Pittsburgh LB H.B. Blades, Jr. - The All-Big East star of last year and the team's leading tackler will move from the strongside to the middle. He's always around the ball and does a little of everything well as a great pass rusher and a strong pass defender. At 245 pounds, he's big enough and strong enough to handle the job on the inside, but he could move outside again early this fall if needed.

3. Pittsburgh WR Greg Lee, Jr. - One of the best receivers in college football, Lee has followed the tradition of great Panther receivers catching 68 passes for 1,297 yards and ten touchdowns averaging a whopping 19.1 yards per grab. He's more than just a dangerous deep threat, he's a sure-handed, consistent target with six 100-yard games, and three 90+ yard performances last year. At 6-2 and 200 pounds, he's too physical for most defensive backs and has the speed to blow by most safeties.

4. Louisville QB Brian Brohm, Soph. - 2004's superstar recruit is ready to become one of college football's new stars. He got to ease his way into D-I life used in planned situations in relief of Stefan LeFors. Not just seeing mop up time, Brohm was left in to face several tight situations and came though like a star throwing six touchdown passes and only two interceptions. He's a huge, 6-4, 224-pound bomber, but he's hardly a statue with excellent mobility.

5. South Florida RB Andre Hall, Sr. - Probably the best running back you've never heard of, the 5-10, 205-pound senior bypassed a shot to go pro early to be the focus of the USF attack. He ran for a school record 1,357 yards and 11 touchdowns averaging 6.5 yards per carry. He's a powerful back with good breakaway speed, and he's also a tough workhorse rushing for 275 yards and two touchdowns against UAB kicking off a run of four straight 100-yard days. He was also the team's third leading receiver catching 18 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown.

4) 5 biggest Big East shoes to fill

1. West Virginia CB Dee McCann for Adam "Pacman" Jones ... McCann is a good-sized, physical corner with has seen a little bit of time behind Jones. Now it'll be up to McCann to take over as the team's boundary corner where he should be one of the team leaders in interceptions as well as a big hitter.

2. Connecticut QB Matt Bonislawski for Dan Orlovsky - A very big, very strong passer, the 6-4 junior has a little bit of experience throwing for 22 yards on four of seven attempts last season. His main worth was as the holder on kicks, but he has seen plenty of practice time as the number two quarterback. "Bones" is athletic able to run better than Orlovsky did, but the key will to quickly establish himself as a leader.

3. Connecticut CB Allan Barnes for Justin Perkins - Barnes was a key backup for the first half of the season before getting hurt. He's a sure tackler and one of the team's fastest players, but he has to make more plays when the ball is in the air.

4. West Virginia QB Adam Bednarik for Rasheed Marshall - Likely to take over the starting role despite missing spring ball recovering from shoulder surgery, the big, strong Bednarik has a live arm and is one of the best pure passers head coach Rich Rodriguez has had. He isn't going to run much, but his command of the offense gives him the slight edge over Pat White going into the fall.

5. Pittsburgh OT Charles Spencer for Rob Petitti - The former defensive tackle took a few lumps on the offensive side, but he grew into an All-Big East guard. Now the 6-5, 330-pound senior should be a dominant run blocker at left tackle taking over for all-star Petitti.

5) 5 Big East breakout players

1. Pittsburgh RB Rashad Jennings, Fr. - While Raymond Kirkley will be the starter, don't be shocked if he top freshman quickly takes over. He's a big, powerful 235-pound back with surprising 4.5 speed and moves. He enrolled in school early and was one of the stars of spring ball.

2. Louisville TE Gary Barnidge, Soph. - Louisville tight ends are always among the nation's best, so the hope is for the 6-6, 230-pound sophomore to be able to fill in for Adam McCauley. Barnidge made his limited time count with four touchdowns on seven catches. He has all the skills to be another great one.

3. Cincinnati QB Dustin Grutza, RFr. - The 6-3, 200-pound redshirt freshman has a live arm with a great high school résumé throwing for 8,004 yards and 82 touchdowns in high school. He showed a great command of the offense this spring finishing with a razor-sharp 12 of 15 performance in the spring game with 151 yards and two touchdowns and he ran for a score. He's cool and calm as can be for a redshirt freshman, but he'll have to learn how to get rid of the ball quicker and not take sacks.

4. Pittsburgh SS Mike Phillips, Soph. - One of last year's bigger surprises, Phillips is able to play corner or safety with six starts last year on the corner. He'll get the first look at strong safety using his speed and physical style to grow into the role.

5. Louisville LB Matt Sanders, Soph. - Sanders has the unenviable task of trying to replace 115 tackles left by Robert McCune. He was mostly used on special teams last year and started to come on at the end as a good reserve against the run. While not McCune, he should be faster from sideline to sideline.

http://www.collegefootballnews.com/big_east/2005_Previews/2005_BigEast_Top5.htm

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even if we somehow lost to ucf which will NOT happen we will still out recruit them....

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3) 5 best Big East pro prospects

1. Pittsburgh QB Tyler Palko, Jr. - Palko appears ready to be a college football superstar. He has the personality, the grit, and the talent to be the Big East's signature player with another good year. He threw for 3,067 yards and 24 touchdowns with only seven interceptions. He rocked over the second half of the year highlighted by a 411-yard, five touchdown performance against South Florida to seal a BCS spot, and he became a better, more confident decision maker. He's tough, has a good arm, and is mobile finishing third on the team with 139 yards and three touchdowns.  

2. Pittsburgh LB H.B. Blades, Jr. - The All-Big East star of last year and the team's leading tackler will move from the strongside to the middle. He's always around the ball and does a little of everything well as a great pass rusher and a strong pass defender. At 245 pounds, he's big enough and strong enough to handle the job on the inside, but he could move outside again early this fall if needed.  

3. Pittsburgh WR Greg Lee, Jr. - One of the best receivers in college football, Lee has followed the tradition of great Panther receivers catching 68 passes for 1,297 yards and ten touchdowns averaging a whopping 19.1 yards per grab. He's more than just a dangerous deep threat, he's a sure-handed, consistent target with six 100-yard games, and three 90+ yard performances last year. At 6-2 and 200 pounds, he's too physical for most defensive backs and has the speed to blow by most safeties.

4. Louisville QB Brian Brohm, Soph. - 2004's superstar recruit is ready to become one of college football's new stars. He got to ease his way into D-I life used in planned situations in relief of Stefan LeFors. Not just seeing mop up time, Brohm was left in to face several tight situations and came though like a star throwing six touchdown passes and only two interceptions. He's a huge, 6-4, 224-pound bomber, but he's hardly a statue with excellent mobility.

5. South Florida RB Andre Hall, Sr. - Probably the best running back you've never heard of, the 5-10, 205-pound senior bypassed a shot to go pro early to be the focus of the USF attack. He ran for a school record 1,357 yards and 11 touchdowns averaging 6.5 yards per carry. He's a powerful back with good breakaway speed, and he's also a tough workhorse rushing for 275 yards and two touchdowns against UAB kicking off a run of four straight 100-yard days. He was also the team's third leading receiver catching 18 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown.

Is Pitt that loaded or is the BE just that thin?  3 Pitt players as the Top 5 NFL prospects?  Come on!  Seems a bit bias.

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A bit funny about having three Pitt players, but I would say Lee, and Blades are not so much dominating as just the best players at those positions in just an above-average conference.  Clearly right now Pitt and UL are the darlings and the rest of us need to prove ourselves.

I would put Nicholas up against Blades any day of the week.

I saw Lee play quite a bit in HS, and chalk that one down as one of those you wouldn't believe it until you had seen it things.  Lee was a sure handed kid in HS, with some decent speed but he was no blazer, and was hesitant out of the blocks, with a very wobbly gait (I'll bet Peyton and Chambers are just as fast).   Seemed like he had some talent, but looked mid-major at best.  That could be chalked up to the fact Chamberlain had a below average QB throwing the ball (Bryant), and was primarily a running team.  He certainly has blossomed since arriving at Pitt

However I do believe much of this has had to do with the system.  Last year Lee started the season as their only healthy top receiver- they had Tyler Palko, and a huge OL.  Pitt was just slinging the ball all year and Lee became Palko's go to man and the rest is history.

I also hope if we beat UCF it means more than just garnering interest from 'second-tier' talent.

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Got to love the respect that Andre Hall is getting this off-season.

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I think Pitt and Syracuse are getting too much credit for hiring "NFL" coaches.

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Hopefully, the UCF game is only a footnote this season.  We need at least one surprise win against one of our higher visibility opponents.    Beating a name team would do more for us then winning a game any rational person would expect us to win.   I really wish the best for the Knights, but there is little upside in a victory for us against a team that went 0-11 last year and is likely to struggle again with the upgrade to CUSA.    There is, however,  a ton of downside should they somehow pull an upset.  The BCS tie-in would be the only factor remaining to seperate us.  

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Got to love the respect that Andre Hall is getting this off-season.

I get chills thinking about how effective he could be if our passing attack gets a pulse.   Feels like being the guy sleeping in the Dodge Hemi truck.  Sweeet!

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If we lose to Central Community College, that would be a big blow to us in recruiting.  UCF is a must win, period.

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Guest Vanilla Rice

Screw Pitt, by far the best team in the Big East is Louisville.  L'ville could play with anyone in the country and I mean anyone.  They should have beat Miami last year.  And what makes L'ville so good?  Recruiting.  It is the bread and butter of a program.  Louisville landed the nation's top QB in the nation a year ago (Brohem) and so far he has shown glimpses of why he was so highly touted.  although you had the first team conference USA coming back last year in LaFlors, Petrino was smart to give Brohem some PT in order to get him ready for this year.  When all is said and done, Brohem might be a first team All American QB in another year.  Michael Bush was also another Parade All American.  That kid played every position in HS and did that last year at Louisville playing both offense and defense and WR and RB.  he is a freakish 250 pound tailback who runs like a 210 pound tailback.  Pitt was a little overrated last year because they won the Big East but the Big East last year was pretty weak.  But, they are still a good team within the Big East.  I would have to say the second best team after L'ville is West Virginia.  They get a lot of Florida recruits (like Pitt).  Now that USF is in the Big East, hopefully it will stop some of those kids from going to Pitt and WVU and they will now stay home.  I think a lot of kids were going to Pitt and WVU because they were in a BCS conference and could play for a BCS bowl game.  With USF being in the Big East, I think you won't be losing as many players to Pitt (like Blades and Lee) and WVU.  But right now, it's Louisville that makes the conference somewhat legit.  

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