Big East Selections
5th Overall Pick: Jeff Green (SF) from Georgetown. Drafted by Boston. He was traded to Seattle with Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West for Ray Allen.
Jeff will be an excellent addition to Seattle’s staff with the addition of the second pick in Kevin Durant, quite possibly the best player in the draft or in college basketball last season. Clearly Georgetown will miss this excellent athlete.
23rd Overall Pick: Wilson Chandler (SF) from DePaul. Drafted by New York.
Chandler has good size and is a great athlete, but he underperformed at DePaul this season. He should do better in NYC, playing in the building his last team dreamed of winning in.
49th Overall Pick (19th Second Round): Aaron Gray (C) from Pittsburgh. Drafted by Chicago.
This big man did well at Pittsburgh. The biggest question for Gray is will he be fast enough for the NBA. He is an excellent low post scorer (outside of the Big East Championship Game last year) and should do well should the Bulls really give him a shot.
53rd Overall Pick (23rd Second Round): Demetris Nichols (SF) from Syracuse. Drafted by Portland.
Our boy Demetris Nichols, quite possibly the best shooter in the draft, the Big East First Team member and conference scoring leader, is heading to Portland with the number one overall pick Greg Oden. The interesting dynamic of this is that Nichols is the ninth player to go to Portland on the day. We shall see how much he gets to play, but frankly, with his shot he should have a chance at producing for the Blazers.
55th Overall Pick (25th Second Round): Herbert Hill (PF) from Providence. Drafted by Utah.
I had the privilege of watching Herbert Hill at Providence this season on Senior Day as they lost to Syracuse. He was a great player for Providence and should be a contributor in Utah.
57th Overall Pick (27th Second Round): Sammy Mejia (SG) From DePaul. Drafted by Detroit.
This guy is a shooter and did well in the conference. Detroit felt like they needed a bigger perimeter presence and they hopefully have it in Mejia.
Only six people from the Big East were drafted this year, which is five less than last year. Most notably, no players from UConn were drafted. Five players were drafted last year, four of which were in the first round. The most picks came from DePaul in the two picks they had. Overall, with the way the Big East was this season, I think this was a fairly successful draft. I wish the best of luck to all the Big East selections as I am sure they will all represent themselves and the conference well.
Part 1: Cincinnati
Part 2: Connecticut
Part 3: Louisville
Part 4: Pittsburgh
Part 5: Rutgers
Part 6: South Florida
Part 7: West Virginia
Part 8: Syracuse
Editor’s Note: This is part eight of an eight part series giving analysis of each of the eight teams in the Big East Football Conference, proceeding alphabetically, but ending with Syracuse. A new team was released each weekday for the last eight days. Feel free to use the comment section to supplement the facts and analysis presented, however my opinions will stand. Enjoy and I hope you are looking forward to the new Big East football season as much as I am. Part seven can be found here.
Preview – After finishing in the basement of the Big East for two years in a row, the 2007 Orange begin their campaign under Coach Greg Robinson with a new QB behind center in Andrew Robinson. Looking sharp in the spring game, he led several scoring drives and will be competent, possibly excellent, this coming season. Once again, Robinson must try to field a offensive line that may not be up to standards. Look for him to again try combinations, but they should be fairly competent as he has three, possibly four (academic issues) returning players, and seniors and juniors up to the task. The running backs are also an issue as Delone Carter (713yds on 156att, 4.6avg, 4 TD) will be out for the 2007 season. RB’s Curtis “Boonah” Brinkley (571yds on 139att, 4.1avg, 2 TD) and Paul Chiara (59yds on 17att, 3.5avg, 0 TD) will handle most of the carries this season. This will be the biggest question and the shakiest part of the team. The receivers will be tight on this team, with Taj Smith returning (with a fresh year of eligibility), along with Mike Williams and Rice Moss. Tight ends Tom Ferron and J.J. Nesheiwat will also be solid this year in receiving again. The defensive lost a lot of players in the linebacker area but will be solid again with players stepping up. The secondary will again be anchored by Joe 5 Fields and looked sharp and speedy in the spring game. Losing Heisman hopeful Brendan Carney hurt the special teams unit, but they have two competent punters competing to replace him.
Key Returning Players – WR Taj Smith, RB Curtis Brinkley, FS Joe 5 Fields
Key Losses – LB Kelvin Smith, LB Jerry Mackey, CB Tanard Jackson
My Thoughts – This team will again improve upon the season before. With a new quarterback not named Patterson there is again renewed hope that the Orange will return to some semblance of a winning season. The passing game should be vastly improved, and with the number one target back on the field, the white line is the only limit to how far they can go. The running back situation is not the best, but it is far from the worst as well. The offensive like should improve from last season, especially with a new coach in the area, and the quarterback should be sacked less now that he is significantly thinner than Perry.
How will we do? – I think this team has a legitimate shot at winning three out of the seven conference games the team will play, those being Connecticut, Cincinnati, and South Florida. We have a chance at winning seven games in total, the other four being Illinois, Miami (OH), Buffalo, and Washington. I’m not saying we are going bowling, but I do think this team will produce more in the last two seasons. And for Greg Robinson’s sake they sure better. Really all any of us are looking for is a competent offence, close games, and more wins than last year. If he does this, we will see Ol’ GRob make it to season four. For the first time in a couple of years, I have a feeling we will not be any part of last place in the Big East Conference. Either way, I am optimistic and looking forward to another great season of college football, and another big season in the Big East.
UPDATE (8/6): Tom Ferron (351yds, 30rec, 2TD), the junior tight end and leading receiver for the Orange in 2006 has quit the team. The Syracuse Post-Standard reports that he stated his wish to Coach Robinson to quit before the 2006 season, but after reporting to training camp, decided to stick out the season. This will put fifth year senior J.J. Nesheiwat most likely in the starting TE role. The tight end core will also include Arthur Kapalanga who has game experience, Kyle Bell, Nick Provo, and Darnell Pratt. Coach Robinson has also moved DE Mike Owen to tight end as well.
This should impact the Orange very little. Although Ferron was the leading receiver for the Orange last season we now have a completely healthy and solid receiver core, lead by Taj Smith. JJ Nesheiwat also looked fine last year and will fill the opening slot nicely.
Editor’s Note: The following analysis of the team is pending an utter and total collapse before the start of the season, as well as during the season. If something does happen… Matt Glaude did it.
Preview – Coach Rich Rodriguez begins his 2007 campaign in a pretty good place. Having been competing for the top spot in the Big East the last two seasons, including a BCS bowl win, he is sitting pretty at WVU. After much debated Alabama talk over the winter he is back at the helm with the most productive duo in the Big East with QB Pat White (118/179, 1655yds, 13 TD, 7 INT, sacked 12 times, Rush 1219yds on 165att, 7.4avg, 18 TD) and RB Steve Slaton (1744yds on 248att, 7.0avg, 16 TD). The biggest “problem” for WVU last year was their defense, which allowed competent teams to score fairly easily. Coach has changed some players around in the spring game and the defense should be a little more effective this season, although the loss of excellent linebackers will not help. Look for the pass rush of WVU to be much more aggressive this year, and the secondary to be rebuilt very competently. Slaton will not be the only option at tailback, so look for WVU to mix up who takes the handoffs. Even though the top receiver for the team is gone, there are still plenty of targets for White to throw to.
Key Returning Players – QB Pat White, RB Steve Slaton, WR/KR Darius Reynaud
Key Losses – LB Jay Henry, LB Kevin "Boo" McLee, G Jeremy Sheffey
My Thoughts – This team I feel is still the team to beat in the Big East this season. They are excellent at scoring, will be tougher on defense, and have a lot of pieces to run for not only a Big East Championship, but perhaps a National Championship as well. This team will also be fun to watch and will probably be featured a lot on ABC and the ESPN. Moral of the story… get ready to burn some couches.
Will We Beat Them? – No. Unless the earth freezes over, pigs can fly, and Fitzy starts liking the Yankees, I don’t think we can beat them. But hey, at least it will be a fun game. And take comfort in the fact that, chances are, you are thinner and better mannered as the WVU fans that will be in the Dome.
Editor’s Note: This is part six of an eight part series giving analysis of each of the eight teams in the Big East Football Conference, proceeding alphabetically, but ending with Syracuse. A new team will be released each weekday for the next eight days. Feel free to use the comment section to supplement the facts and analysis presented, however my opinions will stand. Enjoy and I hope you are looking forward to the new Big East football season as much as I am. Part five can be found here.
Preview – Coach Jim Leavitt returns a squad with 8 starters on both offense and defense. The major surprise in the Big East last year, winning their bowl game against East Carolina of C-USA, this team looks to shake up the top tier of the Big East again. Predicted to take forth or even third in the conference this year, they will look for continued success from their sophomore starting QB Matt Grothe (202/317, 2576yds, 15 TD, 14 INT, sacked 25 times). This team has solid linebackers, cornerbacks with experience, and the defense will be solid. The only question is how successful the Bulls’ running game will be. Freshman Mike Ford could make an immediate impact as Grothe was the teams leading rusher last year. Grothe, however, had some off field problems of the legal kind in a misdemeanor for serving alcohol to minors at his bartending gig, as well as a hairline fracture of his fibula in their bowl game last fall. He appears to be 100%, as he played well in their spring game, but the legal issue could mentally affect the play of this QB this season.
Key Returning Players – QB Matt Grothe, DE George Selvie, LB Ben Moffitt
Key Losses – LB Stephen Nicholas, WR S.J. Green, WR Ean Randolph
My Thoughts – This team will again be solid and a legitimate above the middle of the pack team. How far above the middle will be up to them. This is not an elite team and I would be hard pressed to be convinced they could take out West Virginia or Louisville. Grothe’s success could have been a fluke last year and he may find it not as easy this time around. Therefore so goes Grothe, so goes the Bulls’ season.
Will We Beat Them? – I think we have a legitimate shot with a decent passing game, something we desperately needed for the success of the run and the fatigue of the defense. This game is also in the Carrier Dome and I think we have a real shot at beating a team that is not named Louisville or West Virginia. Plus this picture might be motivation enough.
Editor’s Note: This is part five of an eight part series giving analysis of each of the eight teams in the Big East Football Conference, proceeding alphabetically, but ending with Syracuse. A new team will be released each weekday for the next eight days. Feel free to use the comment section to supplement the facts and analysis presented, however my opinions will stand. Enjoy and I hope you are looking forward to the new Big East football season as much as I am. Part four can be found here.
Preview – Greg Schiano takes the helm once again for Rutgers after the most successful season in school history, achieving an 11-2 record overall, including wins over (at the time) undefeated Louisville in route to a Big East Championship. This, of course, did not happen, but that really did not damper the good vibes coming out of Piscataway last season. QB Mike Teal (164/296, 2135yds, 12 TD, 13 INT, sacked 7 times) and RB Ray Rice (1794yds on 335att, 5.4avg, 20 TD) return to anchor this team. Rice, coming off of a school record rushing season, looks to lead the offense again on the ground. Teal also seems even sharper this year, as he had a spring game where he showed even more command of the offense Rutgers employs. Their wide receiver core looks fast and sharp, but graduating All Big East tight end Clark Harris will not help. Rutgers has one of the best offensive lines in the nation and will look to help Rice continue his success. Greg Schiano’s defense is also just as ferocious with a solid secondary and a solid defensive front (once all the players return healthy, and they will be by the start of the season). The Knights will have a big hole to fill in graduating fullback and captain Brian Leonard, the emotional leader of the ball club. I’ll even throw a little love to the kicker Jeremy Ito, who nailed a clutch field goal in the final seconds of the game against Louisville to give them the win last year in Piscataway. Nothing says “I own you” like pointing right at the sky cam after a big kick.
Key Returning Players – RB Ray Rice, QB Mike Teel, K Jeremy Ito
Key Losses – FB Brian Leonard, CB Derrick Roberson, TE Clark Harris
My Thoughts – This team will be solid and will again finish in the top half of the Big East. Will they be as dominating as they were last year? Probably not. Coach Schiano will have they ready for the rigors of a Big East schedule however (because their non-conference schedule sure is not rigorous at all). They have to have something to cheer about in NJ though right? It is hard enough for The Sopranos to be ending for them. They might have to settle for an 8-4 season and a nice meal down at the Grease Trucks.
Will We Beat Them? – Rutgers will be down but not out. To be on the safe side I’ll just say we will lose this one at home. However, I think this game will be close as Rutgers is our Homecoming game this year, and will probably boast the loudest crowd of the season in the Dome. There is a potential for an upset, and there would be nothing I would like better than to see us not lose to Rutgers again. Rutgers has been a personal torture for me as I witnessed us lose at both Rutgers in 2004, and at home in 2005, live. I would love to see us send Rutgers with a surprise loss. The likelihood of the “upset” is as great at this game as any this season.
Preview – MUSTACHE POWER! Dave Wannstedt will take the helm again for the Panthers. After a hot start last season, they finished 6-6 on the year with only two Big East wins. He loses his 35 consecutive game starter Tyler Palko (220/322, 2871yds, 25 TD, 9 INT, sacked 22 times), and one of the most prolific passers in Pitt history. To replace this will be the biggest question for Pittsburgh in 2007. Stopping the run will be key to beating Pittsburgh this coming season. Most every other facet of this team is solid however. They have a stellar wide receiving core with Derek Kinder (893yds), their best receiver returning. Their offensive line is solid and their defensive line is excellent. Their special teams may not be as good with a new punter taking snaps this season.
Key Returning Players – RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, WR Derek Kinder, WR Oderick Turner
Key Losses – QB Tyler Palko, LB H.B. Blades, CB Darrelle Revis
My Thoughts – Pittsburgh is the team with some of the biggest questions this coming season. After looking absolutely unbeatable early in the year, only to fall to UConn and South Florida late in the season. These were teams they would have destroyed early on. So, if Pittsburgh has a solid running game, the defense can be ferocious, and the quarterback gets massive help from their talented receivers, this will again be a team in the mix. However, they will probably end up in the middle of the pack in the Big East. I’m thinking forth or maybe even third place if they get lucky.
Will We Beat Them? – We will be traveling to the Steel City playing Pitt at Hines Field. Therefore I have a strong suspicion we will be losing this affair. I always think our chances are much less than in the home sweet Dome (unless we end up playing in Chestnut Hill near Thanksgiving and we have a guy named Diamond). With so many aspects of Pittsburgh’s team still in tact from the previous year, and some stellar freshman they could mix in, I think this will be a loss for the Orange down in the ‘Burg.
Preview – Louisville returns to the Big East this season after winning the Orange Bowl against ACC Champion Wake Forrest. They return with the most productive QB in the Big East in Heisman candidate Brian Brohm (199/313, 3049yds, 16 TD, 5 INT, sacked 16 times), but lose their stud running back in Michael Bush. With new coach Steve Kragthorpe at the helm, half his work is done in convincing Brohm to stay for his senior season. Brohm already has a grasp of Kragthorpe’s spread offense and looked just as good in their spring game. Look for Brohm to throw to his tight end quite a lot. Also, plan on L’ville to utilize running back by committee to replace the dominance of Michael Bush. Their secondary took a major hit with the loss of William Gay and will be the biggest weakness for Louisville. The right side of their offensive line will be new this year as well, so look for opposing defenses to attack from that side.
Key Returning Players – QB Brian Brohm, WR Harry Douglas, WR Mario Urrutia
Key Losses – RB Michael Bush, DT Amobi Okoye, CB William Gay
My Thoughts – This will be another solid year for the Cardinals. They will have much success doing what they did the previous season. If Brohm stays healthy, look for this team to be in a top bowl game. Look for this team to again be in the hunt for that BCS birth.
Will We Beat Them? – Not so much. Not much analysis needed here. Unless some crazy awesome miracle happens. In which case my pants will be removed and I’ll shotgun a beer. This is a game early in the season, so if it was later I’d say we maybe could do something. However, at this point we probably will not be firing on all cylinders and will be at Louisville. You do the math on that one.
Preview – After two pretty terrible seasons in the Big East Coach Randy Edsall is looking to have his squad win a few more games this year. After a season with the dreaded “two-headed quarterback” system in play, and failure to find consistency other than the running game, UConn looks forward to a season with a semi-competent man behind center in JUCO transfer Tyler Lorenzen, who impressed in the spring. UConn, who has only managed one conference win last year, will look to sophomore RB Donald Brown to carry the load for the Huskies on the ground. He looked great last year filling in for the injured Terry Caulley, gaining excellent stats for the year and averaging 134.6yds in five starts (896yds on 161att, 5.6avg, 7 TD). The rest of the running backs for UConn look like the will produce as well. Their offensive line could show some problems however, as they had a total of nine starters on the line last season, and they lose one of their most experienced guards with graduation. Connecticut’s special teams is a joke, as their top two kickers combined for 5-14 FG. The Huskies have also had a myriad of off field issues, well publicized by this website. This could continue to be a distraction for the squad if they to not get a handle on their players this off season. A bit of advice… do not punch the manager of Wingz Over Storrs outside of the establishment after you use a stolen credit card in front of a cop.
Key Returning Players – RB Donald Brown, WR Terence Jeffers, QB/WR D.J. Hernandez
Key Losses – RB Terry Caulley, QB Matt Bonislawski, G Immanuel Hutcherson
My Thoughts – This new quarterback may cause some problems for teams, bur really this is not the top strength of Connecticut. A team must stop the run to have success against UConn, however I just do not see this team really being in the mix yet again, or for several years to come. Edsall’s clock is ticking loudly in Storrs. With a brand new football complex, and many season ticket holders, UConn’s Athletic Department will be looking for results, rather than excuses. Even with the new facilities, their recruiting class was less than stellar. It is do or die for Edsall, but I have a feeling he will be dead in two years. Look for Connecticut at the bottom of the Big East for another season.
Will We Beat Them? – I usually like our chances versus Connecticut, however once again we find the team traveling to East Hartford to Rentschler Field. The team has traditionally played well against UConn in the Dome, however, when real weather is applied, the team may collapse like a house of cards. If we apply pressure to the QB/RB, manage a few sack lunches and some losses, and generally look sharp on defense, UConn’s confidence will surely be shaken down at the Rent. If we score early we may never look back. I think we can gain a conference win from the U of Conn, and if not, may God have mercy on my soul, as I now live in Connecticut. I’m sure Matt will get grief from his family and friends as well.
Editor’s Note: This is part one of an eight part series giving analysis of each of the eight teams in the Big East Football Conference, proceeding alphabetically, but ending with Syracuse. A new team will be released each weekday for the next eight days. Feel free to use the comment section to supplement the facts and analysis presented, however my opinions will stand. Enjoy and I hope you are looking forward to the new Big East football season as much as I am.
Football; the corner stone of the NCAA, the number one money making college sport, and one very entertaining game to sit down on a Saturday and watch. With the end of the lacrosse season (I was rooting for Duke?!?), the fact the Bee is done (DING!), and the spring weather here, minds tend to wander to the next major sport on the docket, and look with new hope and anticipation at a new football squad looking to take the field in the Carrier Dome. But, you may ask, “How the hell are we gonna do in the Big East this year?” Good question. Let us wonder down the path of pontification and analysis at this year’s Big East Football Conference.
Preview - New Cincinnati Coach Brian Kelly (and by new I mean was thrown into the job last season after their coach bolted for Michigan State) takes the helm for his first full season. This guy likes to throw the ball so he’s going to be looking for big things from returning QB Dustin Grutza. Having a decent year last year (137/225, 1632yds, 9 TD, 13 INT, sacked 23 times), the team had a nice win in the International Bowl over Western Michigan. Spread Offense is the system that this coach is trying to install, so a lot depends on the team adjusting to this new system. If the team grasps it quickly and competently, and they manage to open the playbook, this team could have moderate success and match their 2006 record of 8-5. However, their leading receiver, TE Brent Celek, has graduated, leaving the big mystery as to who will step up and catch the football in this new system, which will greatly increase the number of times the ball will be thrown. They have a talented receiver core, but have failed to show consistency in the last few seasons. Their defense, which was top five in total defense in the Big East last season, has a lot of players returning.
Key Returning Players - QB Dustin Grutza, RB Greg Moore, WR Dominick Goodman.
Key Losses - K Kevin Lovell, TE Brent Celek, C Jeff Reinstatler.
My Thoughts – This team is going to be middle of the pack in the Big East at best. With a fairly experienced running game that Coach Dantonio used a lot last year, this team could open the pass up nicely. Grasping the system will be the key question. If they fail to progress quickly this could be a problem. I have a feeling the defense will be winning the games for the Bearcats next season at best.
Will We Beat Them? – I think this is a very possible win for the Orange. Look for us to pass early after the snap with a three step drop on some slants, and when they least expect it… the long ball to Taj Smith. It is also the last home game of the season, so the “back against the wall” mentality to get a sixth win or save face could be a big factor for the Orange in the Dome.