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Thursday, February 14, 2013
Vote: Which new Big East team will fare best in '13?

By Andrea Adelson

The Big East will have a new look in 2013, with UCF, Houston, Memphis and SMU joining the mix, and Pitt and Syracuse saying good bye.

So now the big question we pose to you, our faithful readers:

Which of these incoming schools will fare the best in 2013?

You guys ask me that one every single week in our Big East chat, so now I am turning the tables and asking you to participate in our nifty poll. Given the way I ranked the teams in our way-too-early 2013 power rankings, my vote would go to UCF. Here is a look at what each team brings to the table in 2013.

UCF. The Knights only return 11 starters, but they do bring back 3,000-yard passer Blake Bortles, who has the potential to be one of the top quarterbacks in the league behind Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville. They also have promising receiver Breshad Perriman and running back Storm Johnson, and some tough players returning to the defensive line.

Houston. The Cougars return 14 starters, including nine on offense, and hope to keep running back Charles Sims and quarterback David Piland healthy to lead this offense to a better showing than 2012. Houston had its share of issues to deal with, from injuries to in-season coaching changes. But given the amount of players returning to this team, hopes are high the Cougars will be back in a bowl.

Memphis. Well, at least the Tigers won more than a game or two in 2012, and that is major progress. Memphis, in fact, won three games to end the season, and that is surely a confidence boost for a program in major need of one. Coach Justin Fuente goes into Year 2 with higher hopes, especially with a plethora of starters returning.

SMU. June Jones goes into the 2013 season with only nine starters back, leading many to believe this could be a rebuilding year. Gone are Zach Line, Margus Hunt, Taylor Reed and Darius Johnson. But the Mustangs do return quarterback Garrett Gilbert, hoping to emerge as the next 3,000-yard passer in Jones' pass-friendly system.