Big East Football ConFab: 2012 Climbers And Fallers

Will Senior Quarterback Ryan Nassib lead the Syracuse Orange to the biggest climb in 2012 conference standings? (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Each Saturday, Big East Coast Bias polls bloggers around the conference on a football topic. How do their views differ from yours? This week, we asked:

Of the current Big East football teams, last year’s conference record was as follows:

5-2 Louisville Cardinals
5-2 Cincinnati Bearcats
4-3 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
4-3 Pittsburgh Panthers
3-4 Connecticut Huskies
1-6 South Florida Bulls
1-6 Syracuse Orange


In 2012, which teams do you expect to be the biggest climber and faller in the conference standings?

And, how many Big East wins do you expect from the Temple Owls?

Survey said …

Sean Keeley

I have a feeling Cincinnati is going to go through another roller-coaster season and drop. They might only drop to 3-4 but that’s more losses than Louisville is going to see. Just due to the attrition of talent, it seems like they’ll have a hard time keeping that pace.

The biggest climber, I’m hoping, will be Syracuse. Whatever happened at the end of the last season will be a reminder for this squad, which returns a lot of offensive talent. SU will be battle-tested by a non-conference schedule that includes USC, Missouri and Northwestern, so they should be able to hold their own and pick up 3, maybe 4 conference wins.

I’m willing to give Temple a three conference win expectation. They’re not an "expansion" team here, they’re a decent program now and I think they should be able to hold their own. Of course, I don’t want to be the team that loses to them first....

Follow Sean as he follows the Syracuse Orange at Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician.

Cardiac Hill

I'll reluctantly take South Florida for biggest riser. I'm not convinced they'll be a great team, but they only won one conference game last year. I've got to imagine B.J. Daniels can lead them to more than that in 2012. Rutgers is a frontrunner, but I have a hard time picking anyone to win a ton of games and not sure they can win several more than the four they did last season. Cincinnati's my pick for who will fall the most because of the losses of Zach Collaros and Isaiah Pead.

Temple's hard to figure, but I think they'll be competitive. I'll go with 6-6 (or 6-5 with their current 11-game schedule).

Track the Pittsburgh Panthers on Cardiac Hill.

John Lamb

I have to go with USF as the big mover in the Big East this year. Pretty much everyone on both sides of the ball is coming back and there is simply too much talent there for them to not improve significantly on its 1-6 2011 campaign.

As far as which team will regress this season, I think it’s going to be Cincinnati. With Zack Collaros, Isaiah Pead and a majority of the offensive line gone there are too many question marks to be even remotely confident that the Bearcats will go 6-1 again.

I think Temple can go 3-4 this year. The Owls’ starters are good enough to compete with anyone in the conference but the lack of depth this year will hurt.

John has Temple covered at OwlsBlog.

RUFanJerry

The biggest candidate for improvement is South Florida. This was a team that was predicted by many to vie for the conference title last year. After starting the season with a win at Notre Dame and improving to 4-0, USF was smashed by Pitt on a Thursday night and finished the season by losing eight of nine games. B.J. Daniels will be a senior this season. Daniels has not lived up to his promise, but you can’t discount a QB with this much experience. There is still talent on this team, but the late season dives year-after-year leads to believe there something else wrong in this program – whether it is the type of player or mentality – that is for Skip Holtz to figure out. Either way it is not a stretch to see this team finish 4-3 or 3-4 in the conference.

Pittsburgh is a candidate for a fall. Coach Todd Graham bailed on them after one year. While they may be better in the long run with Paul Chryst, there are many players who will be on their 3rd head coach in three seasons -technically four of course! Tino Sunseri is also a big question mark. His performance at the end of last year’s backyard brawl makes you wonder if he can take his game to an another level this season. The Panthers can easily fall to 2-5 in the conference.

Temple is a lot better than people think. They we will compete with every team and prove to be a worth BCS caliber team over time. Nevertheless they lack the depth to grind out a seven game Big East schedule. I see a 2-5 record, while being competitive in most every game. With Syracuse and Connecticut potentially struggling again, 2-5 will be good enough to top one of those teams.

Jerry is a regular Rutgers fan blogger.

Mengus22

I expect the biggest climber in conference to be South Florida. The Bulls return almost everyone from last year's team, have a very talented front seven on defense, and welcome in a few really talented transfers that will be eligible this year. The only problem for South Florida is that they face Cincinnati and Louisville on the road. However, they do get Rutgers at home in what should be an excellent game. The biggest faller in the conference will probably be Cincinnati, but not too far. They've got to replace Collaros, Pead, Wolfe, and Schaffer and that won't be easy.

I think long term Temple will be alright in the Big East, but I don't expect the Owls to win a single Big East game next season.

Mengus22, a Louisville fan, is manager of Big East Coast Bias.

29sonski

Off the top of my head I made picks based on my assessment of the teams, then looked at the schedule and picked game by game. It’s still a guess but based on schedule I have South Florida as the biggest climber (5-2) and Pitt as the biggest faller (2-5). I don’t have Rutgers faring too well either. First year coaches are often a sign of decline.

Temple has a successful 2011 season, finishing 8-4 in the regular season and a bowl win against Wyoming. That said, I didn’t pick them to win a single game in the Big East.

29sonski is a UConn fan and a regular contributor at Big East Coast Bias.

Check out last week's Confab: 1,000-yards rushers, and BECB's football archive.

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