ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit unveiled his 12th annual Herbie Awards on Tuesday, along with his picks to win every conference.
Herbstreit went with what has become the sleeper pick to win the Big East: Pitt.
There are major question marks surrounding the Panthers, who open the season Sept. 1 against Youngstown State with their third coach in as many years. Quarterback play has been shaky; there is no telling how good running back Ray Graham will be as he comes back from an ACL injury; the offensive line has major question marks; and the defensive line is pretty green. Basically, everything has to go right for the Panthers to have a shot at winning the Big East title.
Pitt was the popular sleeper pick on this very blog, so I am not too surprised to see Herbstreit go with the Panthers. This is the Big East, where essentially every team has a shot at winning it all. It hardly matters that he is going a different route with his pick. Big East media selected Louisville in its preseason poll to win the Big East; Phil Steele went with USF.
Herbstreit also selected Graham as the Big East player of the year in what is a much less surprising choice.
As for the Herbies, the only Big East representatives were featured in this category: "Movin' On Up: Head coaches who will get higher-profile opportunities." Louisville coach Charlie Strong checks in at No. 1; USF coach Skip Holtz checks in at No. 3.
Though no Big East players are featured in the Herbie Awards, you do have a chance to rank the Top 10 players in the league, and all eight teams thanks to SportsNation. You can also take a crack at ranking all the conferences as well.
TV note: You can watch the Herbie Awards show tonight at 7 p.m. on ESPN.