2009 Big East conference preview for the 2009-10 ncaa football season.
**2009 Big East Conference - Preseason Preview**
The Cincinnati Bearcats came out of nowhere last season to capture the Big East Title beating the likes of West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and South Florida. The Bearcats will again try to make their presence felt heading into 2009. Coach Brian Kelly has done an excellent job in his short tenure. Leading the offense will be QB Tony Pike. Pike emerged as the starter last season and did not disappoint throwing for 2,407 yards. Marshawn Gilyard will be the primary target on the outside after racking up over 1200 receiving yards last season. However, the road will be much tougher for the Bearcats considering they lost a shocking 10 starters on the defensive side of the ball. Cincinnati will be in the rebuilding stages on defense as they implement a new 3-4 defense. Still the Bearcats will be big underdogs in the conference.
So who will be the favorites in the Big East this season? Well that depends on who you ask. West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and South Florida can all make legitimate arguments. The Mountaineers had a very disappointing season in 2008 after having such high expectations for Pat White’s senior year. However, the Mountaineer’s offense will be led by running back Noel Devine. Devine exploded last season averaging 6.3 yards a pop and just less than 1,300 yards. The defense should be among the best in the Big East. The Mountaineers were ranked a 11th in scoring defense just one year ago and will return 8 starters on that side of the ball. Pittsburgh is another team who will have a strong defense in 2009. The Panthers had a top 25 defense in 2008 and most of the same group will be back. However, Pittsburgh did lose standout running back LeSean McCoy to the NFL and it will be interesting to see who can step up and make plays on offense.
South Florida perhaps has as good chance as any to make a run at the Big East Championship this season. The Bulls will heavily rely on Matt Grothe behind center. Grothe threw for 2,911 yards in the air last season while also leading the team in rushing with 591 additional yards. If the offense could find a few more playmakers, they could legitimately make a run at the Big East. However, just not sure if they have what it takes to score a lot of points. Rutgers could be a team to compete. The Scarlet Knights lost nearly all their fire power on offense from guys like QB Mike Teel, WR Kenny Britt, and WR Tiquan Underwood. However, the Scarlet Knights will return a defense that could make things interesting in low scoring ball games.