Ranking Big East Projected Starting Quarterbacks

Jordan Ball@jball_13Correspondent IAugust 13, 2012

Ranking Big East Projected Starting Quarterbacks

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    The Big East Conference is known for many great things. 

    Though most of those things pertain to basketball, their football teams have a lot of talent to offer as well. 

    In most programs, one position where the team shows off their high caliber player(s) is quarterback. The Big East is no exception to that, as each team features a very skilled person under center. 

    With the conference seemingly up for grabs going into the season, the question is which QB will step up and take their respective team to the top? 

    To get there, the players will have to demonstrate poise and leadership along with their natural abilities to move the ball downfield, whether it be by air or ground. 

    Let's take a look at which gunslinger has the most complete set of tools out of the group...

    *Stats are from ESPN.com . 

8. Chris Coyer: Temple

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    In all fairness, Chris Coyer could reasonably be moved up a few spots on this list. 

    Due to the style of offense that the Temple Owls choose to run, ultimately we'll never fully know the full abilities Coyer has to offer though. 

    The team finished 9-4 last season topping it off with a rather impressive win over Wyoming in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. However, the team featured two other regular quarterbacks beside the then-sophomore, Coyer. 

    Though the other two QBs have now graduated, the Owls will still run the same type of offense with Coyer being the go-to guy. 

    The Owls run a run-first, run-second, and if you're extremely far on third down consider passing, but still more than likely run, style of offense. 

    Out of 120 Division 1 teams, Temple ranked 116th in passing yards at only 126.8 yards per game. And that was split between the three quarterbacks. 

    The rushing game is a different story though. They ran for an average of 256.5 YPG, which was good enough for seventh in the nation. 

    So though the junior QB might have a strong set of skills, it looks like only one side will be showcased. Unfortunately for him, how good of a runner you are doesn't translate well when judging quarterbacks, which lands him at last on the list. 

7. Munchie Legaux: Cincinnati

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    I would just like to state that if this were a list for best names, then Munchie Legaux would hands-down be number one. 

    It was even hard not to have him higher on this list due to name alone. But I had to put favoritism aside and rank him based on his current skill set, which put him at seventh. 

    Legaux has a lot of potential, but at the same time he is young and doesn't have much experience under his belt. With a lot of pressure on him to follow up players such as Tony Pike and Zach Collaros, the odds are stacked against the sophomore. 

    In limited action last season, Legaux threw for 749 yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions. He also added 185 yards on the ground with another two trips to the end zone. 

    The area he needs to improve on the most would be his accuracy. With the teams top three receivers from a season ago returning, the Bearcats' new leader will have a lot of experience to work with alongside the familiarity. 

    Though the Bearcats were atop of the Big East last year with a 10-3 record overall, it's hard to imagine that they will put up a similar W-L mark due to the level of talent they lost, primarily in the backfield. 

    It maybe a rough year for the Bearcats, but one thing is for sure, Munchie Legaux will be an exciting player to watch. 

6. Tino Sunseri: Pittsburgh

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    Tino Sunseri is an interesting case when it comes to ranking him. 

    Though his 2011 numbers aren't anything to be blown away by, he still put up a decent stat line for a team that struggled in every area. 

    His 10 touchdowns compared to his nine picks aren't exactly great, but his 2,616 passing yards on only 385 attempts is pretty respectable. Especially considering he completed 64.2% of those passes. 

    Sunseri's accuracy is his strong point as he has stayed at the 64 mark for the past two seasons. Fortunately for him, Pittsburgh's new coach, Paul Chryst, runs a fairly simple offense. One with which a player with Sunseri's skill set can succeed. 

    With senior running back and 2011 rushing leader Ray Graham returning, Pitt will have a solid run-pass mixture throughout the year. 

    That will definitely help a player like Sunseri grow as he heads into his third season as the starting QB. I wouldn't expect too much out of the team, but they should do a lot better than most people are expecting. 

5. Chandler Whitmer: Connecticut

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    Chandler Whitmer is the biggest question mark for me out of all the players on this list. 

    He started his career at Illinois, and after a redshirt season there, he took his talents to none other than Butler Community College in Kansas. 

    In his 12 games, Whitmer amassed 3,017 yards with 25 touchdowns and a completion percentage of 57. 

    Though the completion percentage should be higher considering his level of competition, I'm also assuming his pocket protection and receiving core wasn't much better than what he was used to in high school. 

    With that being said, he has now resumed his dream of being a D1 quarterback at UConn and about 10 days ago, Whitmer found himself being named the team's starter. 

    No offense to Johnny McEntee, but Whitmer doesn't have too-big shoes to step into. The team finished 5-7 last season, and the immediate future doesn't seem that much brighter.

    Whitmer definitely offers a reason for hope, but at the same time having a big arm doesn't necessarily transfer into wins. 

4. Gary Nova/Chas Dodd: Rutgers

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    The Rutgers quarterback situation is the one that is the most up in the air at this point in time. 

    If the 2011 season is any indication, then it looks like the situation will be staying the same throughout this season as well. 

    Head Coach of the Scarlet Knights, Kyle Flood, has insisted that he doesn't want to have the spot rotating as they did a year ago, however. 

    Though Chas Dodd has been the official starting QB since the 2010 season, he shared about half of his reps with then-freshmen Gary Nova a season ago. 

    Their numbers were pretty similar, remarkably. Dodd threw for 1,574 yards, 10 TDs, seven interceptions, with a 56.7 completion percentage. Meanwhile, his teammate, Nova, threw for 1,553 yards, 11 touchdowns, with nine interceptions and a 51.1 completion percentage. 

    If one was looking for an edge, you would have to give it to Dodd giving his extra year of experience and his 2011 quarterback rating of 118.5 was 1.9 points higher than that of Gary Nova. 

    Whichever way the team decides to go, it honestly won't make that much of a difference. Both guys are capable of leading Rutgers, and both have very similar repertoires.  

3. B.J. Daniels: South Florida

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    Two years ago, if asked, I would have guaranteed that B.J. Daniels would be the No. 1 player on this list no matter what the other teams in the conference had to offer. 

    In his first full season as the Bulls starting quarterback, Daniels led his team to a respectable 8-5 record with a bowl win over Northern Illinois. On the season he threw for 1,983 yards with 14 touchdowns and added 772 yards on the ground with with an extraordinary nine rushing TDs as well. 

    Three years have passed since then, and though his talent level is still extremely high, he's not quite as outstanding as many pegged him to be. 

    Daniels is still a heckuva player though. 

    After a disappointing junior season (record wise), he looks to have a bounce-back year and prove to everyone, especially NFL scouts that he is an elite quarterback. 

    By cutting his interceptions in half between 2010 and 2011 and throwing for almost 1,000 yards more, he is on the right path. 

    Daniels will be surrounded by quite possibly the best receiving core he's seen in his career at USF, and will look to capitalize on that luxury. 

    The Bulls will be a fun team to watch and are very much alive in the hunt for the Big East title due in large part to their senior leader. With the overall talent the Bulls possess, expect a big year out of Daniels and his team.

2. Ryan Nassib: Syracuse

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    Fact: Ryan Nassib had a great 2011 season. 

    Nassib helped Cuse jump out to an impressive 5-2 start with their only losses coming to USC and a heartbreaker in double overtime to Rutgers. Then the team suffered an embarrassing downfall in which they lost their last five games, finishing the season at 5-7 and missing out on a bowl game. 

    The defense played at the level that most expected, which wasn't good. The offense however, was supposed to carry them through the season. 

    Unfortunately, the offensive line couldn't hold it together the majority of the time and give their quarterback enough time to make things happen. 

    Even with the letdown of the big guys up front, Nassib still threw for 2,685 yards and 22 touchdowns. 

    With a switch-up in the offense going into the '12 season, Syracuse will look to mix in the run a little more which will give Nassib more flexibility and take a load of pressure off of him. 

    It also helps that he has a highly talented group of receivers this season, ones that he will gladly share the deep ball with. 

    Syracuse may not compete for the Big East crown when all is said and done, but they will have have a lot of talent to watch as the season goes on. 

    Ryan Nassib will be a top-tier QB this season and improve on the stellar season he had a year ago—also a fact. 

1. Teddy Bridegwater: Louisville

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    It should come as no surprise that Teddy Bridgewater's name is the one that you are seeing at the top of this list. 

    The sophomore quarterback for the Louisville Cardinals is not only the most talented player on this list, but as you will see throughout the course of the 2012 season and the remainder of his collegiate career, he is also one of the most talented players in the nation. 

    Starting his true freshmen season a year ago as the backup, Bridgewater quickly worked his way into the starting job and finished out the season strong for the Cards. 

    He racked up 2,129 yards through the air with 14 touchdowns and also added another four with his feet. 

    With the team that head coach Charlie Strong has assembled around his highly talented QB, Bridgewater should have no problem going far beyond those numbers. 

    The Miami native has potential to become a household name this season, and others have started to notice as he was named earlier this preseason to the Davey O'Brien and Maxwell Award players to watch lists. 

    There were two main concerns with Bridgewater's game after last season: his turnovers and his size. 

    Well, he took notice and went ahead and bulked up 27 pounds since the end of last season to put him at an even 218 pounds to fill out his 6'3" frame. 

    The turnovers will be something we will all have to keep an eye out for, but given his youth, who can blame him for the 12 picks he had a year ago?

    Bridgewater now has a year's experience under his belt with a good offensive line and great receivers; this will be a breakout season for the young man. 

    If all things go according to plan, this will also be a huge season for the entire Louisville Cardinals team, as they have their eyes set on a very achievable, perfect conference record. 

    With a pretty easy non-conference schedule, this could be a historic season for U of L, thanks in large part to the man under center.