Now that we've spent some time discussing the ACC and the Big 12 it's time to turn our attention to the Big East. The Big East struggled this past season just to keep itself afloat last year. This year will be a transition year for the Big East as Pitt and Syracuse play out their schedule and the Big East awaits reinforcements in 2013. Joining us in our Big East discussion is our usual band of merry Zealots (including myself, Ross and Pete- who also writes for Big East Coast Bias) and Ken DeCelles from the USF Based Blog Voodoo Five.
Can Rutgers maintain the momentum of 2011 with Schiano in the NFL?
Ken: Rutgers. It helps that they were able to hire in house with Kyle Flood and keep the same system in place, but there is a lot of talent coming back this year for the Scarlet Knights. Yes they'll have to replace all-everything Mo Sanu, but I wouldn't be surprised if Rutgers wins the conference this year.
Pete: This is a difficult question because there are still so many unknowns. At this point, I’ll say Rutgers. Pitt arguably improved in their coaching status. Paul Chryst promises to be a terrific head coach and, with the way Todd Graham departed, is a welcome change regardless. Pitt has talent on its roster but, with three coaches/systems in as many years, it remains to be seen whether it congeal into a weekly contender. QB Tino Sunseri didn’t progress last year. Can he do it this year? Also, how will Ray Graham be on return from injury? He’s out for the spring, which adds concern.
Rutgers didn’t get the coach it wanted. Mario Christobal decided to remain at FIU. Kyle Flood has done a commendable job in moving up and holding on to a great recruiting class, but “issues” seem to loom beneath the surface. Rutgers made a significant fuss recently about losing a home game on the Big East schedule. That – and perhaps the Christobal decision too – suggests real financial concerns. Rutgers also added a game with Arkansas in Fayetteville this season. On paper they seem solid … but there are doubts.
Ross: Rutgers. They return 8 starters on both sides of the ball, as well as a coach who was intimately familiar with the program (he was an assistant there under Schiano). Pitt, on the other hand, is on their third different coach in three years (four, if you count the brief, ill-fated Mike Haywood experiment). They'll be good again, but probably not in 2013.
Kevin: Looks like we've got a clean sweep for Rutgers. I'm not big on Rutgers this year (at least not yet) but Pitt got hammered when Todd Graham flew the coup and left them holding the bag. Add that disappointment to running through their third offensive system in as many years and Pitt should have some problems. Once Chryst gets some hogmollies on the offensive line to run his offense watch out but until then we should see some growing pains at Pitt.
Come back on Monday as we discuss which team has the best shot at replacing West Virginia as the defacto figure-head for the Big East conference.
ACC- Is this FSU's year?