Big East stock report
September, 11, 2009
By Brian Bennett | ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
I'm going to try something new here on Fridays, giving out a list of what's up and what's down in the Big East, along with how the races for the the league's offensive and defensive player of the year are shaping up. It's early, but this should be fun as the season goes along.
1. Cincinnati: For obvious reasons. The Bearcats have cracked the Top 25 at No. 23 and could really climb high with a win at Oregon State next week.
2. Dion Lewis: The Pittsburgh back had a smashing college debut with 129 yards and three touchdowns. He could be a star in this league for a long time.
3. UConn's defensive ends: This position looked a little questionable after the departures of seniors Cody Brown and Julius Williams and the offseason dismissal of Marcus Campbell. But senior defensive end Lindsey Witten had three sacks and a safety at Ohio and showed he can be a full-time threat, while freshmen Jesse Joseph and Trevardo Williams also played well.
4. The Wildcat at Syracuse: They call it the Stallion package, but it's the same Wildcat formation just about every other school is using. Having Antwon Bailey and Delone Carter in the backfield at the same time with Bailey taking the snap added life to the Orange offense.
5. Julian Miller: Who needs Tevita Finau? The third spot on West Virginia's defensive line seemed like a concern going into the season, but Miller had other thoughts. He had 2.5 sacks against Liberty and brought a dose of speed to the Mountaineers' defensive front.
1. Rutgers: For obvious reasons. No matter what the Scarlet Knights do the next few weeks, they won't have an opportunity to turn perception from that 47-15 beating until the Oct. 16 game against Pitt.
2. UConn fans: At last report, about 3,000 tickets remained for the North Carolina game. A team ranked 19th comes to town for the home opener, and the Huskies are having trouble selling out their 40,000-seat stadium? What's going on?
3. South Florida's Twittering: First, Jim Leavitt decided to stop tweeting after reports of his players and coaches doing so before the Wofford game. Now it seems that several players' accounts have either been shut down or switched to private. So much for embracing technology.
4. The Wildcat at Rutgers: They call it the Jabu package for quarterback Jabu Lovelace, but it's been so wildly ineffective since last year that it looks like it's time to scrap the project.
5. Steve Kragthorpe as offensive coordinator: Kragthorpe took over playcalling duties himself in the offseason and promised a new look. Fans didn't exactly like what they saw as Louisville scored only 30 points against Indiana State. Perhaps he's holding back the good stuff for next week at Kentucky. We can only hope that wasn't his best stuff last week.
Player of the year race: Offense
1. Tony Pike, QB, Cincinnati: Went 27-of-34 for 362 yards and three touchdowns in Week 1.
2. Jarrett Brown, QB, West Virginia: Completed 19-of-26 passes for 243 yards and ran for 69 yards and a score in the opener
3. Jordan Todman, RB, UConn: Ran for 154 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 win at Ohio.
4. Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh: See above
5. Matt Grothe, QB, South Florida: Went 19-of-23 for 155 yards and one score with an interception and ran for 44 yards versus Wofford.
Player of the year race: Defense
1. Lindsey Witten, DE, UConn: See above.
2. George Selvie, DE, South Florida: Got his first sack of the year versus Wofford.
3. Curtis Young, LB, Cincinnati: Had 11 tackles and a sack versus Rutgers
4. Reed Williams, LB, West Virginia: Relatively quiet day against Liberty (six tackles) but will be a factor in this race.
5. Aaron Webster, S, Cincinnati: Had 10 tackles and an interception at Rutgers.