2009 Big East Football Predictions


The Big East is wide open this year. We could see any of the teams we have listed 1-4 winning the conference, and it wouldn’t at all be shocking to see Cincinnati or Connecticut as well. Each team in the conference has some major questions they need to answer, but each team also has bright spots and some great potential. Teams will beat up on each other and there are no gimme games on any team’s conference slate. In the end, we think West Virginia defeats Pitt on Nov. 27th to lock up the conference crown…but be prepared for any of these teams to make a run at the top of the Big East in 2009.

T-1st. West Virginia (5-2) Coach: Bill Stewart – Outstanding RB Noel Devine leads the Mountaineers into ’09, where they will be without Pat White for the first time in 4 years. Senior Jarrett Brown should be solid though, and it will be up to a new offensive line to protect him and open holes for Devine. The loss of kicker/punter Pat McAfee will hurt more than you think, but WV returns 7 starters from a top 20 defense, and if they can manage a tough non-conference schedule that includes games @ECU, @Colorado and against Auburn and Marshall the Mountaineers have a legit shot at a January bowl.

T-1st. Pitt (5-2) Coach: Dave Wannstedt – All-American RB LeSean McCoy bolted early for the NFL, and gone is All Big East WR Derek Kinder. There is no proven replacements for either player, but Coach Wannstedt is finally starting to turn all those top25 recruiting classes into W’s on the field. The D-line, led by DT Mick Williams, should be one of the best in the country. Defense will keep this team in the hunt, but how far they go will be determined by how much QB Bill Stull can improve on his subpar season last year. They get 4 of their last 5 games at home, and a Nov. 27th date @WV could decide the Big East.

T-3rd. USF (4-3) Coach: Jim Leavitt – USF returns arguably the conference’s best offensive and defensive players in QB Matt Grothe and DE George Selvie. Coach Leavitt has had this team in the top 10 in each of the last two years, only to fade in the second half of the season. The Bulls will be breaking in a new offensive line and need to establish a dependable running game, but Grothe returns two top WR’s in DJ Love and Jessie Hester, and if he can limit his mental errors the Bulls can turn a lot of heads. We think Grothe, Selvie, and a nasty D-line will make this team a threat in every game they play, but they will stumble some and finish here.

T-3rd. Rutgers (4-3) Coach: Greg Schiano – The Scarlet Knights lose the prolific passing combo of Mike Teel and Kenny Britt, but all 5 O-lineman return and the top 4 running backs are among the 8 returning offensive starters. LB Ryan D’Imperio leads a defense that loses some key guys but should still be solid and keep Rutgers in games. If Coach Schiano can figure out a way to replace Teel, Rutgers could carry the momentum of 7 straight wins to close out ’08 and parlay that into a conference title.

T-5th Cincinnati (3-4) Coach: Brian Kelly – QB Tony Pike came out of nowhere last year to establish himself as maybe the conference’s best passer. Brian Kelly, 22-6 in 2 years with the Bearcats, is one of the hottest coaches in the nation. But Cincy loses 10 starters on defense, including 4 all-conference picks, and are making the switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4, so who knows how the defense will perform. The Bearcats are one of the hardest teams to predict due to so many questions: Can Tony Pike build on his outstanding year? Can the D keep this team in games? Can Brian Kelly work some more magic and keep Cincy flying high? Just like the 4 teams above them, we could see the Bearcats winning the conference, but we think the new D will take some time to grow, and the Bearcats suffer through their worst season under Kelly.


T-5th UCONN (3-4) Coach: Randy Edsall – The Huskies need to replace probably the best player they have ever had in RB Donald Brown, and have no immediate answer there or at QB. They must also re-build the defensive line, where the departing DE’s combined for 17 sacks in 2008. All that said, the Huskies return a terrific LB corp, 2 talented WR’s, and a back with huge potential in RB Andre Dixon. How far the Huskies go will depend on how quickly the offense clicks, and how they navigate a brutal road schedule that includes games @ Baylor, WV, Pitt, Cincinnati and Notre Dame.

T-7th. Louisville (2-5) Coach: Steve Kragthorpe – This could be a make or break year for Coach Steve Kragthorpe. The Cardinals return a total of 18 starters, including 9 on offense, but lose QB Hunter Cantwell. The Cards return all 3 LB’s but lose a lot from a the D-line from a defense that was horrible down the stretch last year. We think the offense will be good once again, but the defense will prevent this team from reaching the top half of the conference.

T-7th. Syracuse (2-5) Coach: Doug Marrone – Greg Robinson is out and Doug Marrone is in, but Syracuse still has a lot of work that needs to be done. The offense was awful and the defense equally bad last year, but the return of RB Delone Carter and WR Mike Williams will bolster the offense and allow the Orange to steal a game or two at home.

Well, there you have it. We think West Virginia will be the team that rises above the competition and returns to the top of the conference, earning the Big East’s automatic bid to a BCS bowl. However, we can’t stress enough the fact that the Big East is more open than ever in 2009. The title is there for the taking, and any team (except perhaps Syracuse) can get hot and find themselves sitting at the top of the conference come December.

Now that you’ve seen what we think, we want to hear what you think, so sound off in our comments section and let us know who YOU think will win the Big East this year and why. Be sure to check back for our ACC and Pac 10 previews!

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5 Responses to “2009 Big East Football Predictions”

  1. john in cali says:

    the sec is overrated…..note that the big east has a winning record over the sec in the past 15 years….wvu is something like 7-0 against the big bad sec the past seven games….

  2. flop says:

    If the big east conference is the worst conference of all BCS conferences, who is going to replace the big east, the MAC, Conference USA? Remember the Big East will not loose it’s committment because no other conference out there is better.

  3. Ty Frazier says:

    Now that week 3 is over do you consider Cincinnati finishing better than 5th in the Big East?


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