Sun Aug 08 07:07pm EDT
Ten hyper-specific predictions. Wrapping up the Doc's Big East Week.
• Heinz Field will host the de facto Big East championship game for the second year in a row when West Virginia visits Pitt on Nov. 26, when the Panthers will follow up their second-half collapse in last year's winner-take-all game with Cincinnati with an equally heartbreaking crash in the final minutes that sends the Mountaineers to the BCS.
• West Virginia boss Bill Stewart will subsequently be voted the conference's Coach of the Year.
• Pitt running back Dion Lewis will finish again in the vicinity of 138 yards per game on the ground, the best returning average in the nation, but he'll also miss at least one game and be slowed in others with wear-and-tear injuries, allowing West Virginia's Noel Devine to claim his first Big East rushing crowd.
• Pitt receiver Jonathan Baldwin will catch at least 75 passes and come within shouting distance of the school's career receiving record (he needs 1,546 yards to pass Antonio Bryant) en route to becoming a Biletnikoff Award finalist in December and a first-round draft pick next April.
• Syracuse will win multiple conference games for the first time since 2004, when the Orange shared the conference championship with Boston College, Pitt and West Virginia in their final season under Paul Pasqualoni.
• Thanks to another cakey non-conference slate, Rutgers will win at least eight games for the fifth year in a row behind conference passing leader Tom Savage, matching the longest streak in school history, but attendance at Rutgers Stadium will drop.
• Sophomore B.J. Daniels will lead South Florida in rushing, the fifth straight year a quarterback has finished as the Bulls' top gainer on the ground. Daniels will also pace the conference in both total yards and turnovers.
• Junior Cody Endres will out-duel senior Zach Frazer to become UConn's starting quarterback by midseason, and go on to become the first Husky slinger since all-time passing leader Dan Orlovsky in 2004 to average at least 200 yards per game through the air. But his total will still fall short of what the UConn secondary allows.
• Cincinnati will lose one of two early trips to Fresno State and N.C. State ahead of a blowout loss at the hands of Oklahoma on Sept. 25, quickly confirming that these aren't the same Bearcats that delivered back-to-back conference titles the last two years – though they will once again lead the league in total offense.
• Louisville running back Victor Anderson, the conference's Freshman Player of the Year in 2008, will eclipse 1,000 yards rushing after an injury-plagued sophomore campaign, but it won't keep the Cardinal offense from finishing dead last in scoring offense for the second straight season.