I'm still waiting for the major outlet that comes out of nowhere and inexplicably picks us to finish 7th in its Big East preview piece.
It won't be Yahoo, which has joined the masses in predicting that the mighty Cardinals will win the Big East and claim the league's auto bid to the BCS in 2012.
This season, Louisville looks to be the team to beat, which would continue a remarkably quick resurgence for the Cardinals under third-year coach Charlie Strong. Strong and his staff have used their connections to bring in numerous high-level recruits from Florida, including sophomore QB Teddy Bridegewater.
While the Cardinals are the preseason favorites, they are by no means a lock. (WVU, on the other hand, would have been a lock. Indeed, WVU would've been favored to have an unbeaten record in league play and to reach a BCS bowl.) USF, Rutgers and maybe even Pittsburgh should contend for the crown.
USF needs more offensive consistency. Rutgers needs more offense, period. Pitt will need to adapt to its third offensive scheme in as many seasons as Paul Chryst takes over as coach after the short-lived Todd Graham "era."
The order of finish
1. Louisville; 2. USF; 3. Rutgers; 4. Pittsburgh; 5. Cincinnati; 6. Connecticut; 7. Syracuse; 8. Temple
While the Cards get no nods in terms of actual individual honors (Offensive and Defensive POY, etc.), Yahoo does say that Charlie Strong's coaching staff is the league's best, and predicts that DeVante Parker will be the conference's top offensive breakout star this season.
Best coaching staff: Louisville. Strong and his guys quickly have turned around the Cardinals' fortunes. Louisville had had three consecutive non-winning seasons when Strong took over. The Cardinals had a winning record in his first season, then shared the league title last season. This season, they are the preseason favorite to win the league. The question now for Louisville is how long Strong will stay.
Breakout offensive star: Louisville WR Devante Parker. Parker had 18 catches last season as a true freshman, with six going for touchdowns. He is big (6 feet 3/205 pounds) and athletic, and look for him to become a more physical receiver this season. He had trouble with press coverage last season. He has the ability to go deep but also is effective on crossing patterns. Parker's importance has increased because projected starting WR Michaelee Harris was lost for the season last week with a torn ACL.
Additionally, Louisville's Oct. 20 home game against South Florida is billed as the conference's "game of the year." The Cards also make six other appearances on the lists of the league's top ten conference and non-conference games.
In terms of all-conference honors, the familiar quartet of Teddy Bridgewater, Mario Benavides, Adrian Bushell and Hakeem Smith were named to the league's first team. Parker, Preston Brown and Calvin Pryor earned second team nods.