Thursday, August 10, 2006

Big East Predictions - No. 2 & No. 1

Well, only two teams remain in my rundown of the top teams in the Big East. And, well, no shock in that they are Louisville and defending champ West Virginia. Louisville, the new kid on the block who was supposed to run their way through the Big East last year and West Virginia who decided championships come through Morgantown.

These two teams will boast the best offenses in the Big East this year. West Virginia will work that spread offense to try to create running lanes for QB Pat White and RB Steve Slaton. The offensive line, as usual, should be beastly. Louisville will be hoping Brian Bohm is back to 100%. And, when they're not passing, the Michael Bush threat in the backfield will keep defenses busy.

On defense, West Virginia's defense was technically better than the offense, finishing 15th in the nation in total defense as opposed to 50th in total offense. West Virginia's Achilles heal has been, and may continue to be, the secondary. The soft 3-3-5 has been prone to give up big plays in the air. Most opponents don't have the talent to exploit that weakness but Louisville certainly can. Louisville's defense is solid...not spectacular. They were in the Top 25 defensively last year. There aren't any glaring holes to exploit like West Virginia's secondary.

Both teams will start the 2006 season with high hopes and talks of national championships. Other than Louisville's game with Miami, both have relatively light schedules leading into the Big East Game of the Year.

Louisville is going to be looking for redemption when the Mountaineers visit this year following last year's 3-OT thriller in Morgantown. West Virginia will be looking for its fourth consecutive Big East title and, maybe, a chance to play for a national title. The stakes of that game on November 2nd will be huge.

It's very hard to choose...really. But, my obviously biased opinion has WVU beating Louisville in one spectacular game. WVU will finish the season 12-0; 7-0 in conference but will not make the national title game. That hurts to say but if there are 3 undefeated teams, WVU is out. Louisville will finish 10-2; 6-1 in conference and will be the second representative from the Big East in the BCS. Not bad for a conference that was considered dead last year. The ACC? One team...that no one wants.

Anyway, that's my Big East prediction...hopefully they are true. Here's the rundown one more time:

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

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