It's the time of year where all the experts, and plenty of non-experts, get their preseason picks in. ESPN assembled its cast of national television characters to pick the conference winners for the six BCS conferences. Below is a table of the analyst and his pick.
The Louisville pick by the majority doesn't surprise me. Louisville got the most votes in the coaches poll and snagged the last spot in the AP Top 25, so it makes sense to see them picked to win the conference. Especially after tying for the conference title last year and returning virtually everyone from last year's team. Those who picked Rutgers, Cincinnati, or Pittsburgh can at likewise at least make a rational case for their respective pick. Rutgers went 4-3 in the league despite never really having settle quarterback play and has one of the nation's best defenses. Pittsburgh has the best collection of skill position players in the league. Cincinnati has won at least a share of the Big East title three of the past four years. I was somewhat surprised no one picked South Florida.
That brings me to Joey Galloway. Mr. Galloway picked Syracuse to win the Big East. Yes, THAT Syracuse. I know the Big East is the place to say "Aw, screw it. Anything can happen." But, it's really not. Truly putrid teams don't come from nowhere and win the league. Even the much maligned UConn team that went to the Fiesta Bowl at 8-4 had multiple NFL players on it and was the preseason pick to win the league by a number of pundits.
Last year, the Orange stunned West Virginia 49-23. They followed that win up by losing their final five games, all Big East games, and only one loss was by less than a touchdown. Ryan Nassib is a very good quarterback and I think he runs Marrone's offense really efficiently, but as a pick to win the conference, I'm not sure what he's thinking. The Orange lost their two best players to the NFL, have injury issues on the offensive line, and have an absurdly difficult schedule (forgetting the non-conference, the Orange face Rutgers, Cincinnati, and South Florida on the road).
It's 2012, not 2001.