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