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Big East Football
Preview and Odds
Count Big East Football among those hardest hit with realignment. 2012 will be the last year for both Syracuse and Pitt who bolted to join the ACC while West Virginia has already left the building, beginning play in the Big 12 this year. The Big East picked up 8 programs though, which will be filtered in over the next couple of years. Temple will begin play in the Big East this year, while Houston, SMU, UCF, Memphis, Boise State and San Diego State will join in time for 2013. Navy is scheduled to join in 2015. So, things could certainly get interesting over the next couple of years, but the realignment is by all means, not done. Expect more defections and additions.
So where does that leave the Big East for the 2012 football season? Well, with only WVA gone, and the addition of Temple, it leaves a conference for 2012 that should be extremely competitive. A quick look at the Big East standings and results from a year ago shows us that not much separates the remaining teams. No one team jumps off the page as the cream of the crop. Just about everyone returns a good number of starters to decent teams, all of which had at least 5 wins a year ago.
South Florida would be a logical pick to excel this year. They suffered one bad loss in 2011, a 44-17 defeat to Pitt. Every other loss on their 5-7 record was a close one, including their 30-27 loss to WVA in the final game of the year, which kept the Bulls from a Bowl game. This year the Bulls return 8 starters on offense including QB BJ Daniels and 7 on defense, while coach Skip Holtz enters his 3rd year as head coach and continues to put his stamp on the team.
Louisville would be another team that would be a logical Big East Title contender. 7-6 a year ago, and returning about the same number of starters as South Florida, including the QB, as coach Charlie Strong enters year number 3. All 6 losses were close enough that they could have gone either way. Currently, Louisville is a +240 favorite to win the title this year, or, a little over 2 to 1.
We can't leave Rutgers out of the title talk. Count them among those that return a good number of starters (15) including their QB, to a team that was 9-4 in 2011. Rutgers loses long time coach Greg Schiano to the NFL but did the smart thing and hired within, making Assistant Coach Kyle Flood the top man. That means, no drastic changes in schemes and approach for the Scarlet Knights which should bode well for all of those returning starters. We'll see what kind of leader Flood is. At +550, a little over 5 to 1, Rutgers presents us with some nice value to win the Big East.
We've touched on the top 3 contenders for the Big East title but truthfully, you really can't count out the rest of the pack and there are some pretty long odds on those teams, which may make them worth a shot. Cincinnati of course, but also Pitt, UCONN, Syracuse and even Temple (9-4 a year ago but very few returning starters). Aside from Temple, the others return a good number of players and none of these teams could be classified as overmatched a year ago. UCONN beat Rutgers, Syracuse beat West Virginia. Pitt lost to WVA by 1 and to Cinci by a field goal.
Listed below are the current odds to win the Big East Football Title. We really can't count any team out, with perhaps the exception of Temple, who would seem to have their work cut out. One strategy may be to toss the top 3, and Temple, and wager on Rutgers, Pitt, UCONN and Syracuse. Of the top 3, South Florida would seem to have the best shot and would be our choice if we were going to pick just one team to wager on.
Odds to Win 2012 Big East Football Title
South Florida +325
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