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College Football 2011 Preview: Big East and Non-BCS Conferences

24 Aug

Ahhh, yes. Its August, meaning that college football is right around the corner. Need to know who to watch this season? Well, we got you covered! Myself, MichaelYoungHistory, and friend of the Thread Mark Rodriguez will break down the entire field by conference and tell you the players, teams, and dark horses to watch for this year. We’ll also let you know who is entirely overrated and won’t be making much noise come December . Check out our previous entries on the ACC and Pac-12.

Today, we’ll break down the Big East. We’ll break down all of the conferences before the season kicks off, so check back with us! And as always, leave us comments to voice your opinion. And with that said…

It’s my spot in the rotation for the preview so HERE WE GO!

The Big East

TCU can’t get here fast enough.

The Big East is still trying to fit in at the adult table with a kid’s table mentality. Of the 6 major BCS conferences that are deserving of automatic BCS bids in January, the Big East is always under fire for its lackluster play. It was just 5 years ago that this conference was stacked with talent. It was a 3 horse race running down to the end of the season as entering November of that year, Louisville, West Virginia, and Rutgers all entered the month undefeated. That month would see all 3 thrash on each other in what was a phenomenal month of football to see who could make it out of the month the least damaged. Louisville threw the first punch as they defeated West Virginia 44-34. Rutgers then defeated Louisville 28-25 and then West Virginia would beat Rutgers in Piscataway on a Thursday night, 41-39 in a triple overtime thriller! Since then…. not so much. But to be fair, with their automatic bid to the Orange Bowl, they are victorious in 3 of their last 5 contests. Including the always great bowl fail between West Virginia and Oklahoma.

This literally has nothing to do with this post in particular but I felt it necessary to post anyway...

The conference starts up with zero hype this year with the only team getting any sort of national buzz is West Virginia. Even that came with a mix bag because of the coaching blowup between former Coach Stewart and new Coach Holgersen. Again showing us all that the Head Coach in Waiting title, is completely flawed on just about every level.

The Lone Wolf 

WVU's chances for success lies solely on Geno's shoulders.

Now that Dave Wanstedt is fired, we all can stop believing that Pittsburgh is going to make a return to prominence. That leaves us with WVU who returns the only recognizable QB in the lot. Geno Smith will need some help as they have to find a RB to replace Noel Devine. The other thing to key in on is how fast this offense is able to pick up Dana Holgerson’s system (former OC for OKST). With no clear 2nd team in this conference, it’s hard to see how this isn’t a clear cut hand the title over to WVU kind of situation.

The Dark Horse(s)

Can B.J. Daniels be a difference maker?

This spot could very well go to one of two teams. Either Cincinnati who brings back Isaiah Pead the only returning 1,000 yard rusher, or USF who returns the often estranged starting QB, BJ Daniels. Daniels seemingly has the talent to be a great QB, but he never seems to be able to put it all together on the field and that is often disastrous for the Bulls.

Players To Watch

Isaiah Pead is picked here again because if Cincinnati is ever going to reach up to the spot that Coach Kelly had them before bolting to Notre Dame, it’ll be primarily based on Pead’s overall play in developing the Bearcat offense.

Key Games

September 24th pits LSU vs. WVU. It’s a statement game not just for WVU, but for the conference as a whole. LSU being a top 4 team in the country, could bring some much needed credibility to the Big East in what’s considered to be a pretty down year for the conference. WVU also gets to have this game played in Morgantown as opposed to Death Valley in Baton Rogue. They will need all the help they can get for this one.

Non-BCS Conferences

This section will solely be dedicated to two teams… The Boise State Broncos and the TCU Horned Frogs of the Mountain West Conference.

Boise State

After being a missed fg away from possibly crashing the BCS party, Boise State looks to still be in the national title discussion with a few new faces.

Of all the QBs of the last ten years (my full coverage of the sport) to return for another year when they could’ve gone pro, Kellen Moore might be the strangest of them all. When compared to Andrew Luck, Kellen has much less going for him in Boise. His top two WRs from last year (Austin Pettis, Titus Young) are both playing on Sundays this year and the national scope has never been higher for this team. But then again the alternative was to play for Carolina so he might’ve made the right choice.

Key Games

Every year Boise has to play some big name school on it’s 1st game of the season to gather early season respect from the nation and this year is no different with the Broncos making a trip between the hedges to face #19 Georgia, This could prove to be quite a matchup as both QBs will have new options to throw to as Aaron Murray’s top guy, AJ Green, is also playing on Sundays now.

As this is the first year in the Mountain West for Boise and the last for TCU, their week 9 game could be one for the ages. It’s late enough in the season to really count towards something as both teams could be undefeated and staring at BCS possibilities. Due to the fact that TCU is bolting to the Big East, the Mountain West is granting this game be played on the blue turf instead of Ft. Worth as a final sendoff to TCU. Should be a good one.

TCU

After reaching the highest peak in their program's history, can they do it again?

2010 Rose Bowl Champions. Is this where their story ends? After beating Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl in an epic game that I (and everyone else for that matter) thought they had no chance to win, the cupboard is quite bare for the Horned frogs with the departure of Andy Dalton and Jeremy Kerley along with several other key members of the team. Coach Gary Patterson has to hope that new QB, Casey Pachall, can come anywhere close to redoing what Andy Dalton did for them in terms of success and leadership. Lucky for them, they have one of the easiest schedules in the country after opening up at Baylor and then cruising until their week 9 matchup with the aforementioned Boise State. If TCU plays their cards right, this could be the beginning of their national dominance as they look to come and steamroll the “competition” that is the current Big East next year.

-MichaelYoungHistory, The Big Socrates, and MarkRod

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2 Comments

Posted by on August 24, 2011 in NCAA, Sports

 

2 responses to “College Football 2011 Preview: Big East and Non-BCS Conferences

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