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Big East superlative tracker

10/19/2011

Let's take a look at who has stood out so far in the Big East.

Offensive Player of the Year

1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia. Not much has changed since my first superlatives post two weeks ago. Smith has thrown for 2,159 yards, 16 touchdowns and three interceptions and ranks No. 5 in the nation in passing. He has been the best player on offense, and it is not even close.

2. Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers. Sanu leads the league with 55 receptions in six games, and is on pace to reach 100. That has never happened in the Big East. Larry Fitzgerald holds the record for receptions in a season with 92, set in 2003.

3. Isaiah Pead, RB, Cincinnati.The Bearcats are relying on Pead just as much as they are relying on Zach Collaros. Though he has only rushed for 624 yards, he has scored eight touchdowns and is averaging 6.8 yards a carry. He is still on pace for a 1,200-plus yard season.

Defensive Player of the Year

There has not been much separation yet, so I am going to list these guys in alphabetical order.

1. Khaseem Greene, LB, Rutgers. Greene has made his switch to linebacker look easy, as he leads the league with 59 tackles and just set a new career high with 14 against Navy. He has been all over the field, and a big reason why the Scarlet Knights are better this season.

2. Kendall Reyes, DT, UConn. Reyes has been a force inside once again, with four sacks and a league-leading 11 tackles for loss on a defense that ranks No. 2 in the league against the run.

3. JK Schaffer, LB, Cincinnati. Schaffer has done it all for the Bearcats this season, with 46 tackles, seven passes defended and three interceptions. You could also make a case for teammate Derek Wolfe, who has led a resurgence along the defensive line. Wolfe had a career-high 11 tackles last week against Louisville and is tied for the league lead with five sacks.

3.Coach of the Year

1. Greg Schiano, Rutgers. Remember the disgruntled Rutgers fans earlier this season who were not so sure about Schiano? How come I don't hear from you guys anymore? His team is off to a 5-1 start, 2-0 in the league and is the biggest surprise this season.

2. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia. Holgorsen has done exactly what has been expected, and now the Mountaineers are ranked No. 15 -- the only ranked Big East team this season.

3. Butch Jones, Cincinnati. Jones deserve much praise for turning around a team that went 4-8 last year. The Bearcats are 5-1 this year, and Jones has answered his critics.