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The 2007 Big East in Fives

I've decided to scrap the individual team previews because other than two or three paragraphs they would have been just about the same as anything else you would find in any preview magazine, and I fear few people would have read them anyway. So instead I've opted to tackle previewing the Big East in a form that is more conducive to blog readers and incorporates my propensity for top fives.

With that in mind, here is your 2007 Big East football preview in the form of many, many top fives:

Top Five Non-Conference Games

  1. South Florida at Auburn, Sept. 8
  2. Louisville at Kentucky, Sept. 15
  3. Navy at Rutgers, Sept. 7
  4. West Virginia at Maryland, Sept. 13
  5. Pittsburgh at Michigan State, Sept. 13
Top Five Conference Games
  1. Louisville at West Virginia, Nov. 8
  2. West Virginia at Rutgers, Oct. 27
  3. Rutgers at Louisville, Nov. 29
  4. West Virginia at South Florida, Sept. 29
  5. Louisville at South Florida, Nov. 17
Top Five Conference Games Not Involving West Virginia, Louisville or Rutgers
  1. Cincinnati at South Florida, Nov. 3
  2. South Florida at Pittsburgh, Nov. 24
  3. Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, Oct. 20
  4. South Florida at Connecticut, Oct. 27
  5. Cincinnati at Syracuse, Nov. 24
Top Five Coaches (Newbies Excluded)
  1. Greg Schiano, Rutgers: The whole chopping wood thing got a little old, but it's impossible to play ignorant when it comes to recognizing what he's accomplished.
  2. Rich Rodriguez, West Virginia: The fact that if the Mountaineers go 10-2 again it will be a disappointment for the second straight season speaks volumes about how high Rodriguez has been able to set the bar.
  3. Jim Leavitt, South Florida: With a solid quarterback to go with the athletes that have always been there, Leavitt's job has become one of the most enviable in the country.
  4. Randy Edsall, Connecticut: Even if the last couple years haven't been up to par, Uconn is forever indebted to Edsall for producing three seasons of .500 or better football in each of the program's first three years in Division I.
  5. Greg Robinson, Syracuse: The Orange showed marked improvement in Robinson's second season, but a lopsided schedule may ultimately lead to his premature dismissal in 2007.
Top Five Coaches Feeling the Most Heat
  1. Greg Robinson, Syracuse
  2. Dave Wannstedt, Pittsburgh
  3. Steve Kragthorpe, Louisville
  4. Randy Edsall, Connecticut
  5. Rich Rodriguez, West Virginia
Top Five Home Field Advantages
  1. Louisville: Papa John's Cardinal Stadium isn't the biggest and doesn't seem like the most intimidating place to play in the conference, but the Cardinals are yet to lose there since coming to the Big East, and currently own the nation's second longest home winning streak.
  2. West Virginia: Road games in Morgantown might be more feared by visiting fans than players, but when the stakes are high, Mountaineer Field isn't a fun place to be for anyone not wearing blue and gold.  
  3. Syracuse: Regardless of how strong the football team is, winning inside college athletics' most famous dome is always a chore.
  4. Connecticut: When winter strikes the northeast, playing at Rentschler Field becomes that much more of an advantage for the home team.
  5. Rutgers: Louisville fans found out firsthand how hard games at Rutgers Stadium can be when the community rallies around the football team.
Top Five Quarterbacks
  1. Brian Brohm, Louisville
  2. Pat White, West Virginia
  3. Matt Grothe. South Florida
  4. Mike Teel, Rutgers
  5. Ben Mauk, Cincinnati
Top Five Running Backs
  1. Ray Rice, Rutgers
  2. Steve Slaton, West Virginia
  3. Donald Brown, Connecticut
  4. LaRod Stephens-Howling, Pittsburgh
  5. Mike Ford, South Florida
Top Five Wide Receivers
  1. Harry Douglas, Louisville
  2. Mario Urrutia, Louisville
  3. Oderick Turner, Pittsburgh
  4. Mike Williams, Syracuse
  5. Kenny Britt, Rutgers
Top Five Tight Ends
  1. Gary Barnidge, Louisville
  2. Steve Brouse, Connecticut
  3. Nate Byham, Pittsburgh
  4. Connor Barwin, Cincinnati
  5. Cedric Hill, South Florida
Top Five Centers
  1. Eric Wood, Louisville
  2. Nick Capogna, South Florida
  3. Keith Gray, Connecticut
  4. Ryan Blaszczyk, Rutgers
  5. Mike Dent, West Virginia
Top Five Offensive Guards
  1. Greg Isdaner, West Virginia
  2. Trevor Canfield, Cincinnati
  3. Mike Fladell, Rutgers
  4. Anthony Davis, Rutgers
  5. Joe Thomas, Pittsburgh
Top Five Offensive Tackles
  1. Jeremy Zuttah, Rutgers
  2. George Bussey, Louisville
  3. Ryan Stanchek, West Virginia
  4. Pedro Sosa, Rutgers
  5. Jeff Otah, Pittsburgh
Top Five Defensive Tackles
  1. Eric Foster, Rutgers
  2. Terrill Byrd, Cincinnati
  3. Keilen Dykes, West Virginia
  4. Adrian Grady, Louisville
  5. Tony Jenkins, Syracuse
Top Five Defensive Ends
  1. Jameel McClain, Syracuse
  2. Joe Clermond, Pittsburgh
  3. Jamaal Westerman, Rutgers
  4. Peanut Whitehead, Louisville
  5. George Selvie, South Florida
Top Five Linebackers
  1. Malik Jackson, Louisville
  2. Ben Moffitt, South Florida
  3. Danny Lansanah, Connecticut
  4. Corey Smith, Cincinnati
  5. Lamar Myles, Louisville
Top Five Cornerbacks
  1. Mike Mickens, Cincinnati
  2. Mike Jenkins, South Florida
  3. Trae Williams, South Florida
  4. Woodny Turenne, Louisville
  5. Darius Butler, Connecticut
Top Five Safeties
  1. Eric Wicks, West Virginia
  2. Courtney Greene, Rutgers
  3. Haruki Nakamura, Cincinnati
  4. Ron Girault, Rutgers
  5. Latarrius Thomas, Louisville
Top Five Kickers
  1. Art Carmody, Louisville
  2. Jeremy Ito, Rutgers
  3. Pat McAfee, West Virginia
  4. Pat Shadle, Syracuse
  5. Delbert Alvarado, South Florida
Top Five Punters
  1. Justin Teachey, South Florida
  2. Dave Brytus, Pittsburgh
  3. Kevin Huber, Cincinnati
  4. Desi Cullen, Connecticut
  5. Scott Kozlowski, West Virginia
Top Five Kickoff Returners
  1. Darius Reynaud, West Virginia
  2. Lowell Robinson, Pittsburgh
  3. JaJuan Spillman, Louisville
  4. Dominick Goodman, Cincinnati
  5. Curtis Brinkley, Syracuse
Top Five Punt Returners
  1. Larry Taylor, Connecticut
  2. Vaughn Rivers, West Virginia
  3. Amarri Jackson, South Florida
  4. Derrick Stewart, Cincinnati
  5. Trent Guy, Louisville
Top Five Impact Freshman
  1. Mike Ford: RB, South Florida
  2. Anthony Davis: OG, Rutgers
  3. Pat Bostick, QB, Pittsburgh
  4. LaSean McCoy: RB, Pittsburgh
  5. Manny Abreu: LB, Rutgers
Top Five Biggest Shoes to Fill
  1. Mike Dent for Dan Mozes (WVU)
  2. Bill Stull for Tyler Palko (Pitt)
  3. Adrian Grady for Amobi Okoye (U of L)
  4. Scott McKillop for H.B. Blades (Pitt)
  5. Aaron Berry for Darrelle Revis (Pitt)
Inevitably Off-Base Final Conference Standings Prediction (Top Eight)
  1. Louisville (11-1, 6-1)
  2. West Virginia (11-1, 6-1)
  3. South Florida (9-3, 5-2)
  4. Rutgers (10-2, 5-2)
  5. Cincinnati (7-5, 3-4)
  6. Connecticut (5-7, 1-6)
  7. Pittsburgh (4-8, 1-6)
  8. Syracuse (4-8, 1-6)