BCS National Title Game '11

BCS National Title Game '11
BCS National Championship 1/10/11 Oregon vs Auburn

Thursday, August 23, 2012

2012-2013 Big East/Notre Dame Projections

The Big East is going to be wide open this season. With the loss of West Virginia to the Big 12, it will for sure be a four team race to win the conference. Louisville looks to be the favorite to win the conference with fifteen returning starters and a stellar Quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. The teams that look to battle it out with Louisville are South Florida, Rutgers, and Pittsburgh. Don't be surprised if a Big East Champion isn't crowned until the last weekend of the season.

BIG EAST        W-L      Analysis

1. Louisville       9-3      Louisville is the heavy favorite to win the Big East this season with So. QB Teddy Bridgewater, who had a completion percentage of 64.5 percent and 2,129 yards as a true freshman last season. The Cardinals will have 15 returning starters this season. The offense will be led by Bridgwater and potential All-Big East first teamer Sr. C Mario Benavides. The defense will be solid again and were ranked 10th in the country in defense against the rush last season. The Cardinals should win nine to ten games with their only real tests being against North Carolina (Sep. 15) and games against Pittsburgh (Oct. 13), USF (Oct. 20), and Rutgers (Nov. 29).

2. South Florida  8-4      This is going to be the Bulls year to win the Big East. Fourth year starting Quarterback BJ Daniels, who is third in Bull's history in all-time career passing with 6,339 yards, will look to lead the Bulls again this season. On offense, Daniels will have Wide Receivers Sterling Griffin and Sterling Dunkley, who is a transfer from Florida. The Bulls defense will be led by potential All-Big East players Jr. DE Ryne Giddins and Sr. WLB DeDe Lattimore, who recorded 94 tackles last season. South Florida must face in-state Florida State and Miami, Fl in non-conference games. South Florida's most important game will be on Oct. 20th when they travel to Louisville.

3. Pittsburgh       8-4       Here we go again! The Panthers have a new coach again and will still be in the hunt for the Big East title. The Panthers offensive returns 5 starters and have one of the best running backs in the Big East in senior Ray Graham. The offense should be improved with an offensive minded coach in Paul Chryst, who was the offensive coordinator at Wisconsin. Besides Graham, the offense will rely on Sr. QB Tino Sunderi, who threw for 2,616 yards last season, and Sr. RG Chris Jacobson. The defense returns 5 this season and will be led by potential All-Big East team Sr. FS Jarred Holley. Pittsburgh will be challenged in its third game against Virginia Tech and a mid season game at home against Louisville. The last two weekends of the season will define the Panthers season as they must host Rutgers at home on Nov. 24th and then travel to play South Florida on Dec. 1st.

4. Rutgers          8-4        After last season, the Scarlet Knights looked to be the favorite heading into this season, but Head Coach Greg Schiano departed for the NFL and took the head coaching job for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. New Head Coach Kyle Flood will inherit 15 returning starters though and one of the best overall defenses in the country. The Scarlet Knight offense was inconsistent last season and will potentially have some of the same issues this season. Rutgers will have a good core of wide receivers in So. Brandon Coleman and Sr. Mark Harrison. They will also have a solid running back in Jawan Jamison, who rushed for 897 yards last season. The problem will be at the quarterback position as So. Gary Nova and Jr. Chas Dodd must battle it out and prove that one of them is the true leader of the Scarlet Knight Offense. The defense returns 8 starters and was the best overall defense in the Big East last season. The defense returns Sr. OLB Khaseem Greene, who recorded 141 tackles and 10.5 tfl, as well as Sr. DT Scott Vallone and Jr. CB Logan Ryan. Rutgers has an easy non-conference schedule, besides an early meeting with Arkansas. Rutgers season will be defined by its last two games, which are at Pittsburgh (Nov. 24) and at home against Louisville (Nov. 29).

5. Cincinnati      7-5        The Bearcats went 10-3 last season, but this year will not be the same. The Bearcats lose QB Zach Collaros and will start Jr. Munchie Legaux, who has a little experience as a back-up last season, or inexperienced Brandon Kay. The offense only returns 4 starters from last season, which includes two wide receivers Sr. Kenbrell Thompkins and Jr. Anthony McClung. The running game, like the quarterback situation, will be inexperienced. The Bearcats do have 7 returning starters on defense though. Last season, the Bearcats ranked sixth in the country against the rush giving up an average of 96.2 ypg. Cincinnati will have Sr. SS Drew Frey, who recorded 73 tackles and 2 interceptions, to lead the Bearcat defense. Cincinnati should be a 7-5 team this season and be bowl eligible again.

6. UConn          5-7         UConn didn't meet expectations last season as they went 5-7 and were not eligible for a bowl game. UConn has the best running back in the Big East in So. Lyle McCombs, who rushed for 1,151 yards and 7 touchdowns last season. McCombs will be joined by Butler County (KS) CC transfer QB Chandler Whitmer, who passed for 3,022 yards last season, and Sr. TE Ryan Griffin. The Husky Defense returns 8 and was ranked third in the country last season in defending the rush by giving up an average of 85.7 ypg. The Husky defense will be led by two seniors, DE Trevaedo Williams and WLB Sio Moore. The Huskies would have a good chance to be bowl eligible, but their non-conference schedule consisting of ACC opponents NC State and Maryland is not helpful. Also, the last three of four games are at South Florida (Nov.3), home against Pittsburgh (Nov.9), and at Louisville (Nov. 24). The Huskies will appear to not be going bowling again this season.

7. Syracuse        4-8        It is going to be another tough season for Head Coach Doug Marrone and his squad. The Orange return 12 starters, but the only positive thing about the Orange is the return of Sr. QB Ryan Nassib, who had a completion percentage of 64.4 percent and 2,686 passing yards with 22 touchdowns last season. The Orange will be inexperienced in the running game, but will return last years reception leader WR Alec Lemon in the passing game. The Orange defense returns 7, including Sr. SLB Dan Vaughn and Jr. MLB Marquis Spruill. The Orange defense ranked last in the Big East in total defense last season, meaning much improvement needed to be made in the off-season. The Orange gave up an average of 28.5 ppg and a main problem was the linebacking and cornerback cores. Syracuse honestly would have had a legit chance to make it to a bowl game this season, but their non-conference schedule is brutal. The Orange must host Northwestern and USC, and also travel to Minnesota and Missouri. The Orange will hit four to five wins this season.

8. Temple          4-8        The Owls never won a MAC Championship, but the football program was definitely revitalized. Temple is back in the Big East, but will be in rebuilding mode this season. The Owls only return a total of 8 starters from last season. The offense will be led by Jr. QB Chris Coyer, who played in Temple's last four games last season. He will need to get an established cast quick if the offense is going to be as good as they were last season. The Temple offense averaged 256.5 ypg, which ranked 7th in the country. The Owl defense was also very good last season as they only gave up 13.9 ppg, which was only worse than Alabama and LSU. If the defense can step-up and contend with the Big East talent, watch out for the Owls to pull off an upset or two. The defense is going to need to keep the team in games if they are going to have a chance at contending in the conference this season.

INDEPENDENT    W-L   Analysis

1. Notre Dame         9-3     This is going to the year where the Irish hopefully get over an 8 game win total. The Irish return 14 starters from last season (8 offense; 6 defense). With the problems of Jr. QB Tommy Rees, the Quarterback battle has come down to redshirt freshman Everett Golson and So. Andrew Hendrix. The running game should be solid with returning Jr. TB Cierre Wood, who rushed for 1,102 yards and 9 touchdowns last season, along with potential All-American Jr. TE Tyler Eifert. Eifert had 803 yards receiving and 5 touchdowns last season. The Irish Defense lost a few talented playmakers from last season, but should still be good enough to be at the level they were at last season with the return of potential All-American Sr. LB Manti Te'o. Te'o had 128 tackles and 8.5 tfl last season. The Safety core should be solid as well with the return of Sr. Jamoris Slaughter and Sr. Zeke Motta. The Irish will start off the season by traveling to Dublin, Ireland, to face-off with rival Navy then head home to play Purdue the next week. In week three, the Irish must travel to East Lansing and face rival Michigan State. This game, along with a home game against rival Michigan the following week, will be very important for the Irish to win. I feel the Irish will lose three games this season at the hands of Michigan (Sep. 22), who they face at home, and away games at Oklahoma (Oct. 27) and at USC (Nov. 24). Head Coach Brian Kelly and the Irish will finally be back in the BCS discussion this season.

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