Who brings back what in the Big East

January, 7, 2010
1/07/10
10:37
AM ET
There is reason to be excited for 2010 if you're a Big East fan.

Several teams should be in good position to make runs next year because they had young rosters in 2009. I thought I'd take a look at each team and determine how many starters are coming back next season, based on each team's final two-deep. This does not include juniors who may go to the NFL between now and next Friday; I will update this list as that information comes in.

Listed in order of most returning starters:

West Virginia

Returning starters: 18. Offense: 9. Defense: 9

The Mountaineers lose quarterback Jarrett Brown, offensive tackle Selvish Capers and receivers Alric Arnett and Wes Lyons to graduation. But because they play so many different formations, they still have nine returning offensive starters. That number will decrease if Noel Devine or Jock Sanders opts for the NFL.

Connecticut

Returning starters: 17. Offense: 9. Defense: 8.

The Huskies were one of the youngest, if not the youngest, team in the league this year and still won eight games. The future looks bright.

South Florida

Returning starters: 15. Offense: 9. Defense: 6

The entire offensive line returns, and the only significant departures on that side of the ball are receiver Jessie Hester and running back Mo Plancher. Sophomore quarterback B.J. Daniels should have a lot of options next year. The defense will have some major holes to fill with the losses of defensive ends George Selvie and Jason Pierre-Paul, linebacker Kion Wilson and safety Nate Allen.

Syracuse

Returning starters: 15. Offense: 6. Defense: 9

The Orange are a hard team to calculate because they had so many different players start due to injury, dismissals, etc. But plenty of young players got experience, giving Doug Marrone something to build on.

Cincinnati

Returning starters: 12. Offense: 7. Defense: 5.

The offense should be fine; the number does not include sophomore quarterback Zach Collaros, who started four games, or USC transfer Vidal Hazelton, who becomes eligible in '10. Once again, though, the Bearcats have to replace several seniors on defense.

Louisville

Returning starters: 12. Offense: 8. Defense: 4.

New coach Charlie Strong will have to find some playmakers on defense, which is his specialty, and upgrade the talent on offense.

Pittsburgh

Returning starters: 11. Offense: 5. Defense: 6

The Panthers tie for the fewest returning starters in the Big East. Yet they will probably be among the preseason favorites because of the returns of Dion Lewis and Jonathan Baldwin. Greg Romeus' possible departure could leave them with the fewest returnees in the league.

Rutgers

Returning starters: 11. Offense: 5. Defense: 6

We think of the Scarlet Knights as a young team because freshmen Tom Savage and Mohamed Sanu played such a large role. But they also had a lot of seniors in key spots this season.

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