Print and Go Back NCF Preview 07 [Print without images]

Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Similar styles will keep Cards flying high

By Ivan Maisel

Peering into the crystal ball revealed the following five predictions for the 2007 Big East season:

1. Louisville will win the league because the similarity in offensive styles between departed coach Bobby Petrino and his successor, Steve Kragthorpe, has meant a smooth transition for quarterback Brian Brohm and Co.

2. The key to the West Virginia offense this season is … center Mike Dent? Quarterback Pat White, tailback Steve Slaton and fullback Owen Schmitt are All-America candidates. But with new offensive line coach Greg Frey replacing Rick Trickett, and Dent replacing All-American Dan Mozes, the question mark is the front.

Andrew Robinson
Andrew Robinson gained experience backing up Perry Patterson in 2006.

3. Rutgers tailback Ray Rice won't match last season's total of 1,794 yards. Without Brian Leonard blocking for him -- and drawing attention away from him -- Rice will find fewer holes in the defense.

4. Syracuse will begin its climb back to respectability, even if an overstimulated schedule prevents the improvement from showing up in the won-loss column. Quarterback Andrew Robinson, unlike predecessor Perry Patterson, is well-suited for the West Coast style that coach Greg Robinson (no relation) installed.

5. UConn's first three opponents won a total of seven games last year, six of them by I-AA Maine. The Black Bears, Duke and Temple will allow a young team to get out the jitters. But they won't prepare the Huskies for playing at Pittsburgh in Game 4. That's the day we discover how much rebuilding coach Randy Edsall has completed.

Ivan Maisel is a senior writer at He can be reached at