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Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Who are the league's top triplets?

By Brian Bennett

John from Morgantown writes: Hey, Brian, what about a Big East look to that "three-headed monster" post on the Big Ten blog, the combo QB, RB and WR? I think -- it's hard to say it (or write it) -- Pitt wins this one because of Baldwin and Lewis, almost without counting the QB. But who's next? Could it be WV with Sanders, Devine and Smith?

Brian Bennett: John, I'm always glad to steal ideas from Rittenberg, since his league threatened to snatch up some Big East teams all spring. Anyway, let's take a look at the Big East's top "triplets," or combination of quarterback, running back and receiver. I'm going to use just one at each position for each group. Here's how I see the order:

1. Pittsburgh
QB:
Tino Sunseri
RB:
Dion Lewis
WR:
Jonathan Baldwin
Rationale:
I know, I know. Sunseri is a first-year starter. But Lewis and Baldwin are among the best players at their position in the entire country, and I think Sunseri is a talented guy who will get the job done. It's hard not to be productive when you have guys like Lewis and Baldwin around. Give Lewis at least 1,600 yards rushing this year and about 1,100 receiving yards should be the baseline for Baldwin.

2. Cincinnati
QB: Zach Collaros
RB: Isaiah Pead
WR: Armon Binns
Rationale: Collaros could put up enormous numbers from both passing and running combined in Butch Jones' very quarterback-friendly offense. Pead is ready to have a real breakout season after averaging 6.7 yards per carry last year. And Binns has developed into one of the nation's best receivers. Pead should go over 1,000 yards for the first time, as should Binns. Collaros should easily put up more than 3,000 yards in combined numbers, with a chance to go much higher.

3. West Virginia
QB: Geno Smith
RB: Noel Devine
WR: Jock Sanders
Rationale: Devine alone could almost propel this group to the top. Smith is entering his first year of starting, and he missed valuable spring practice time because of a foot injury. But all you have to do is spend a few minutes with this guy to tell he has the chance to be special. Sanders caught 72 balls last year but needs to become more of a big-play guy in the passing game (you could also substitute Brad Starks here if Starks becomes a consistent deep threat). Devine is a lock for 1,500 yards if healthy, Sanders has made 1,000 yards his goal and Smith can scoot out of the pocket along with his throwing ability.

4. Rutgers
QB:
Tom Savage
RB:
Joe Martinek
WR:
Mohamed Sanu
Rationale:
Sophomores Savage and Sanu have the chance to become the league's best 1-2 combo over the next couple of years, but they're not quite there yet. Martinek is a solid if not spectacular runner who came close to reaching 1,000 yards last season. I don't know if Sanu is ready to become a 1,000-yard receiver, but he can add running yards and even some passing yards to his production because of his incredible versatility.

5. Connecticut
QB: Zach Frazer
RB: Jordan Todman
WR: Kashif Moore
Rationale: Todman is a proven 1,000-yard back who could push his numbers even higher this year with more carries. The light went on for Frazer at the end of last season, and he looked great this spring. He should be much better this year with a full season of running Joe Moorhead's offense in his noggin. The question is at receiver, and who will take over for Marcus Easley as the go-to guy. Moore looked ready to fulfill that role this spring. While he's not built like a classic No. 1 receiver, Moore has plenty of speed and great hands, as he showed in the Papajohns.com Bowl with a one-handed, highlight-reel catch.