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Big East player rankings: Quarterbacks

7/21/2011

Time to take a look at the quarterbacks in the Big East:

1. Geno Smith, West Virginia. A lot of Cincinnati fans have wondered why I have Smith ahead of Collaros. With Dana Holgorsen running the offense, the potential is there for Smith to become a true breakout star the Big East desperately needs. He showed what he could do last season, leading the league in completion percentage (64.8 percent), pass efficiency and touchdown-to-interception ratio (24 to 7). Now he will have an opportunity to put up even bigger, better numbers.

2. Zach Collaros, Cincinnati. This is a close race between Nos. 1 and 2. Collaros obviously is the defending first-team Big East quarterback, but there are a few parts of his game that must be improved. He threw 14 interceptions last season, the most of the group of starting quarterbacks. And his completion percentage was less than 60 percent. Collaros himself acknowledged he has got to do a better job not turning the ball over.

3. Tino Sunseri, Pitt. I know there are those who question whether he has the ability to run the type of offense Todd Graham is bringing to the Panthers. But I think this might suit him better than what Dave Wannstedt did in the past. Expectations are high for a much better season than last.

4. B.J. Daniels, USF. What to make of Daniels? He has been maddeningly inconsistent in his career with the Bulls. But I am banking on him this season after what we saw in the bowl game. He had a very nice spring, and is not going through yet another coordinator transition. The ground game should be better, and that in turn should help Daniels.

5. Chas Dodd, Rutgers. I think Daniels and Dodd are somewhat interchangeable here. Dodd should be much better in the system Frank Cignetti is bringing. There actually is a clearly defined philosophy in place. Plus, Dodd has the best set of receivers in the league. He should average in the 200 yards per game neighborhood given what he has got around him.

6. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse. Nassib could end up higher than this when the season comes to an end. His teammates have raved about the strides he has taken this offseason, and he has a solid group of receivers. What everyone wants to see is more big plays in the passing game, something that falls on his shoulders.

7. Will Stein, Louisville. No Teddy Bridgewater? I think Stein will start the season, though Bridgewater will start. I just cannot predict whether Bridgewater will end up being the full-time starter this season. It is much harder to make that prediction with a quarterback than a running back, for example. Stein has game experience, and has been praised for his leadership. But Bridgewater is the future.

8. UConn winner. I would be taking a wild guess if I picked a starter from Michael Nebrich, Michael Box, Scott McCummings and Johnny McEntee. I am not sure even the coaches know at this point who is going to start. There is too much uncertainty here for a higher ranking.

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