College Football 2011: Big East Post-Spring Power Rankings, TCU Included

Zachary McIntyreContributor IMay 11, 2011

College Football 2011: Big East Post-Spring Power Rankings, TCU Included

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    LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 20:  Noel Devine #7 of the West Virginia Mountaineers runs with the ball during the Big East Conference game against the Louisville Cardinals at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on November 20, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo b
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Yes, I know it's way too early to come out with power rankings, but what else is there to do? There is this dead period every year where basketball is wrapping up, baseball is just starting, so it doesn't mean anything quite yet, and there is absolutely no football to watch now that the draft is over.

    I figure the best place to start is the Big East, which TCU will call home starting next year. I'm sure there are some Big East fans that will correct me on any facts or figures I get wrong.

    Here are the post-spring Big East power rankings if TCU was joining this year.

No. 1: TCU Horned Frogs

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    FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 14: Quarterbacks Marcus Jackson #11 and Casey Pachall #4 of the TCU Horned Frogs take the field before the game against the Utah Utes at Amon G. Carter Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Sorry Big East fans, but this is how I see it. The Horned Frogs would be ranked No. 1 in the league going into the 2011 football year.

    Even with questions looming about bringing in a new QB to replace Andy Dalton and the losses on the offensive line, the TCU offense will continue to be dominant. The running game and defense will continue to be stellar, and QB Casey Pachall will get better with each game.

No. 2: West Virginia Mountaineers

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    LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 20:  Geno Smith#12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers throws a pass during the Big East Conference game against the Louisville Cardinals at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on November 20, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    It all comes down to offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen and the spread offense. You couple that with probably the most athletic team in the Big East and you should be able to score some points. Holgorsen has a lot to prove this season with the prospect of taking over for Bill Stewart in 2012.

    More importantly, QB Geno Smith has looked good running this new offense, and QB is where it all starts.

No. 3: Pitt Panthers

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    CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 04:  Dion Lewis #28 of the Pittsburgh Panthers runs with the ball during the Big East Conference game against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Nippert Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Pittsburgh won 28-10.  (Photo by A
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Dave Wannstedt is out and Todd Graham is in for 2011. Normally I would place a team a little lower coming into a new season with a new coach, but this team should improve from an underachieving 2010 team.

    Quarterback Tino Sunseri has a lot to prove after a rough 2010, and he has looked pretty good so far this spring. There are some question marks on defense, but a lot of teams have question marks in 2011 on defense.

No. 4: South Florida Bulls

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 31:  B.J. Daniels #7 of the USF Bulls celebrates after scoring a touchdown with teammate Dontavia Bogan #81 against the Clemson Tigers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 31, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    I like the Bulls' one-two punch at running back with Darrell Scott and Demetris Murray. This should take some pressure off QB B.J. Daniels, who struggled for most of 2010. I like the momentum of coming off an impressive bowl win, and this should continue in 2011.

No. 5: Syracuse Orange

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    NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 30: Quarterback Ryan Nassib #12 of the Syracuse Orange gets around a diving tackle by Terrence Sweeney #16 of the Kansas State Wildcats during the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on December 30, 2010 in New York, New York.
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    This is a tough one since they made a gigantic leap out of the cellar last year. They lose seniors Doug Hogue, Derrell Smith and Delone Carter but should end up being okay. The offense should continue to build off last year's success.

    I might be a little optimistic with this pick, but I am sticking with it.

No. 6: UConn Huskies

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    EAST HARTFORD, CT - NOVEMBER 27:  Jordan Todman #23 of the Connecticut Huskies celebrates his touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats on November 27, 2010 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. The Huskies defeated the
    Elsa/Getty Images

    This was also a tough call knowing that the Huskies are defending Big East champions. The problem lies in that they had a major coaching change with new head coach Paul Pasqualoni and two new coordinators.

    In addition to new coaches, the Huskies will have a new QB and a new running back. They are still talented, but I have to place them in the middle at No. 6.

No. 7: Cincinnati Bearcats

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    CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 04:  Zach Collaros #12 of the Cincinnati Bearcats throws the ball  during the Big East Conference game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Nippert Stadium on December 4, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Pittsburgh won 28-10.  (Photo by A
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Almost the entire starting defense will be back, which was horrible in 2010. The good in this? They should be better with all of the experience. The offense has some potential with the core returning with Zach Collaros, D.J. Woods and Isaiah Pead.

    Best-case scenario is that they are better, but not great. They stay in the bottom half of the league.

No. 8: Louisville Cardinals

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    LOUISVILLE, KY - OCTOBER 15:  Greg Scruggs #6 of  the Louisville Cardinals  celebrates after intercepting a pass during the Big East Conference game against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on October 15, 2010 in Louisville, Kentuck
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    The good is that Louisville has done some great recruiting, and lots of talent will be on the squad. The bad is that none of the talent is ready for action.

    Even worse, the Cardinals lose a ton of senior leadership off the 2010 squad, and they have to rebuild the offensive line. They will be good, but not quite yet.

    Oh, and they might have a true freshman at QB, and usually that isn't an ideal situation.

No. 9: Rutgers Scarlet Knights

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    PISCATAWAY, NJ - OCTOBER 08:  Chas Dodd #19 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights runs the ball against the Connecticut Huskies at Rutgers Stadium on October 8, 2010 in Piscataway, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Former Pitt offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti takes the offensive reins and brings in a pro-style offense. The quarterback position is the biggest question mark with Chas Dodd coming back as a sophomore but with no reliable/experienced backup. I see this being another tough year.

     

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