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2011 Big East Prospectus Part 1: Cincinnati

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. Feel free to use the comment section to supplement the facts and analysis presented, however the opinions will stand. Enjoy and I hope you are looking forward to the new Big East football season as much as I am.

Cincinnati

Preview – Cincinnati laid a huge stinker of a season last year, going 4-8 on the year. The good news for Cincy is that they return all 11 starters on defense, including stud linebacker Schaefer, a second team All-Big East selection. The defense will be stout, but can the offense match? QB Zach Collaros (225/383, 2902yds, 26 TD, 14 INT) will be back behind center for his senior season and will look to go out far better than he endured last season. They also have a big time RB in Isaiah Pead (157att, 1029yds, 6.6avg, 6 TD) returning to help distract the defense from just Collaros’ powerful arm. While they will probably not clime to the top page of the Big East standings, they will have a fairly respectable year and certainly have an upset or two along the way.

Key Returning Players – QB Zach Collaros, RB Isaiah Pead, LB JK Schaffer

Key Losses – WR Armon Binns, C Jason Kelce, TE Ben Guidugli

My Thoughts – They were really bad last year. They should be better this year. The key is keeping Collaros healthy. They failed to do so last season, and they definitely faltered. The secondary has to improve as well. They are all back with experience, but they aren’t that great to start. Look out if Pead gets hot though. They should be better, but I still picked them to finish on the second half of the standings.

Will We Beat Them? – Syracuse went into Cincinnati last season and absolutely dominated the game from start to finish. It certainly didn’t hurt that Collaros was not in the game. This season that score will be a little closer. However, Syracuse returns a solid defense, and Ryan Nassib is better that he was before. He passed over the same 11 players last season as he will attempt to this year. Syracuse should earn a victory in the Carrier Dome, but it will be a bit closer and less comfortable than the route in Ohio last year.

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