Sunday, September 2, 2012
What we learned in the Big East: Week 1
By Matt Fortuna
1. Pitt has some work to do: A home loss to an FCS opponent, one in which the Panthers trailed from start to finish? Not good. Coach Paul Chryst said afterward that he didn't feel his team was dominated in the trenches, which will be a problem when Pitt gets into conference play. The Panthers made the kind of history they didn't want to in their final year of Big East play: being responsible for the end of the conference's 57-game winning streak against FCS teams.
Those within the Pitt program are responding to coach Paul Chryst's consistency and commitment.
2. UConn's D may be one of the league's best: The linebacker play in particular -- a position in which the Huskies return all their starters -- looked dominant. Yes, they were playing a first-time FBS team in UMass, but they made sure to give the Minutemen a rude awakening, holding them to three first downs and 59 total yards in a shutout.
3. Ryan Nassib can play, but help is still needed: You can't ask for more than what Syracuse got out of the quarterback position Saturday. But it dug itself a deep hole with poor secondary and special teams play, allowing Venric Mark to set Northwestern up nicely on both kick and punt returns, one of which he returned 82 yards for a score. Three turnovers won't help, either.
4. B.J. Daniels looks like B.J. Daniels: If USF wants this to be the year it rises to the top of the Big East, it will need its fourth-year starting quarterback to be more consistent. Yes, he looked great at times, completing 15 of his first 18 passes. But his fumble and interception led to 10 Chattanooga points. Big East defenses will be less forgiving.
5. Will Temple get the most out of Montel Harris?: Coach Steve Addazio didn't sound too concerned after Harris spent the second half of Friday's win in street clothes because of a hamstring strain, but given his knee problems entering Temple, it will be worth monitoring. Fortunately for the Owls, Matt Brown looked even better than last year. Having a potent two-man backfield will be important come Big East play.