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Monday, August 27, 2012
Big East power rankings: Week 1

By Andrea Adelson

Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

Game week is here. So are your power rankings.

You will note not much has changed in the order since the spring. I still think there is very little that separates teams 1-4.

1. Louisville: Teddy Bridgewater picked up where he left off in the spring and had a great fall camp. Though questions remain at running back and receiver, one area of concern seems to have been shored up, and that is the development of depth on the defensive line. If Louisville can stay healthy there, the Cardinals could have the best front in the Big East.

2. USF: Time for the 20-plus senior leaders to step up and show everybody that last season was a complete and total fluke. I think USF has an abundance of talent at the skill positions on offense. Now the Bulls have to find the right way to use everybody. There are some depth concerns on the defensive front, but I think USF has one of the rising linebacker talents in DeDe Lattimore.

3. Rutgers: Gary Nova gets the nod at quarterback, with the opportunity to build on some of the promise he showed last season. Can he cut down on all his mistakes? Still no clear answers on a go-to receiver, or whether this offensive line has truly turned a corner. The defense should be outstanding, but I want to see how much better the offense can be this season.

4. Cincinnati: You already know the story lines about this team that have been completely rehashed. What will be critical moving forward is the improvement of the receiving group, and the rotation along the defensive front. Last season, Cincinnati was able to go two-deep there. Without Derek Wolfe and John Hughes inside, can they do the same this season and continue to be as good as they were behind the line?

5. UConn: I am moving the Huskies up a notch, because I really think this defense has a chance to be good, and I have liked what I have heard about Chandler Whitmer leading the offense. There are some talented players on this team, both on offense and defense. Now I want to see Paul Pasqualoni put everything together and find success with these guys.

6. Pittsburgh: I am moving the Panthers down a notch, because I have not been too encouraged with the news out of camp concerning Ray Graham. Even if he is not at 100 percent, this team does have talent at running back. But are they as good as Graham? Injuries to the offensive line have taken a toll. There is no depth there. And the defensive front seven has talent, but needs to be developed further.

7. Syracuse: I still think the Orange can get back to a bowl game this season, but I am concerned about both the offensive and defensive lines. Injuries during the fall have hurt Syracuse on the offensive line in particular, and it appears as if All-Big East tackle Justin Pugh will be out for the first month. The defensive front is pretty green as well, and the rotation at running back remains unclear.

8. Temple: I love the addition of Montel Harris at running back. I think he could be a difference-maker for the Owls. I hate to harp on the same points over and over again, but questions remain about depth on the offensive and defensive lines. Temple has to also develop a playmaker at receiver, and will be really young in the secondary as well. It's not the best time to only have eight returning starters.