Here are BECB's overall offense rankings to start the 2012 season:
1. South Florida – The Bulls have a balanced offense with eight returning starters, including dual-threat quarterback B.J. Daniels. With (WR) Sterling Griffin, (RB) Demetrius Murray and the league’s best offensive line as a supporting cast, this unit is likely to test the abilities of opposing defenses every week.
2. Louisville – The Cardinals are poised to break out in (QB) Teddy Bridgewater’s second season. The line is solid and the RB committee of Dominique Brown, Senorice Perry, Jeremy Wright and Corvin Lamb will keep fresh legs available for a full 60 minutes per game. All this makes receivers Eli Rogers and Michaelee Harris a bigger threat too.
3. Pittsburgh – Sometimes the value of a combined unit is greater than the sum of its individual parts. The Panthers quarterback, Tino Sunseri, and offensive line had marginal 2011 seasons. With a new coaching staff and offensive scheme, there’s added concern for this year. Head coach Paul Chryst has had great success in running the ball as offensive coordinator in Wisconsin and he has Ray Graham, the league’s best running back, on his roster. If Chryst pushes the right buttons, this unit will rack up yards and time of possession.
4. Rutgers – Some will argue this unit should be a notch higher. The lingering uncertainty at quarterback makes that hard to do. Whether it’s Gary Nova or Chas Dodd at the helm, the Knights have great runners in Jawan Jamison and Savon Huggins and receivers in Mark Harrison and Brandon Coleman. The coaching change causes some questions too, but this unit should put up the points.
5. Cincinnati – With the loss of Isaiah Pead and Zach Collaros – and only four returning starters – this unit could be rated still lower. Jameel Poteat and Munchie Legeaux had playing time last year though and should be ready to step in as prime contributors. Anthony McClung and Kenbrell Harris are veteran receivers and Butch Jones has found ways to maximize the Bearcats’ talents. Don’t underestimate their potential.
6. Connecticut – Last year, UConn produced the league’s second leading rusher in Lyle McCombs. Even with marginal line play, he managed 1,150 yards in his freshman season. McCombs is back and the line should be equal or better this year. The Huskies have Michael Smith back at receiver after a year of ineligibility as well as transfers Bryce McNeal and Shakim Phillips. Unless coaches settle on one of the five quarterback contenders though, this unit will have more questions than answers.
7. Temple – Much praise has been given to dual-threat quarterback Chris Coyer, who took the Owls’ helm late last season. The addition of transfer Montel Harris to replace Bernard Pierce should prove a significant boost for the offense. Look for Matt Brown to reprise his 2011 roll as a third down back and return specialist, which is another plus. The passing game could be their Achilles heel though.
8. Syracuse – The Orange return to talented, veteran leaders in (QB) Ryan Nassib and (WR) Alec Lemon, but only three others started along with them last year. The greatest loss will be that of leading rusher Antwon Bailey (1,051 yards). The combination of (RBs) Jerome Smith, Adonis Ameen-Moore and Prince-Tyson Gulley must make up that ground or this unit runs the risk of becoming one-dimensional.
2012 Big East Position Rankings: Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Offensive Lines, Wide Receivers, Defensive Lines, Defensive Backs, Linebackers, Special Teams.