Time for lots of flak to come my way over the Top 25 Big East player rankings. Thanks to everyone who submitted their comments and nominations.
This was not an easy assignment for me. In no way did "bias" enter into the picture. I never even tallied up the final player count by school until my post Monday. I tried my best to project the players I thought would be the best in the league at the end of the season, with some input from other players and coaches as well. Will I be wrong on some of them? There are always busts, and there are always surprise players. Who just missed the cut? My last five "cut" were:
Mike Ryan, OT, UConn
Sam Barrington, LB, USF
Scott Vallone, DT, Rutgers
Antwon Bailey, RB, Syracuse
Justin Pugh, OT, Syracuse
Now let's hear from you. USF fans were by far the most upset with the list because I had B.J. Daniels ranked, and nobody on defense. Let me reiterate an important point: this is projecting who I think will be in the Top 25 at the end of the season. Daniels might not be the best USF player now, but I think he will be when the season ends. USF fans dismissing that leads me to believe they do not have much faith in him running this team.
Eric C. in Pittsburgh: How could you possibly leave off Max Gruder? I would even consider him putting in the top 10. He's had 175 tackles in the last 2 years and he is the clear cut leader of the Pitt defense. He may not be the most athletic or talented player, but he is as essential to this Pitt defense as Brandon Lindsey is, and he is primed to have a big year. What were you thinking, Andrea!
AA:At last glance on the depth chart, Gruder and Tristan Roberts were locked in a battle to start.
Charlie in Louisville writes: Come on, Andrea. Where is Mario Benavides in the top 25?
AA: I have great respect for him. One of the best centers in the league. Just don't think he is a Top 25 player.
cory_hartman: It is understandable that Antwon Bailey is not on your preseason list, but he will be on your postseason list. Ryan Nassib and several of the offensive linemen have a shot too, as also do the Thomases at safety. But Ross Krautman is a better placekicker than Dave Teggart this year, just like he was last year. He should be No. 25 right now.
AA: Teggart was pretty clutch with the game on the line last season.
newarklax24: A placekicker in the top 25. That's the dumbest thing I've ever seen.
AA: Let me know how dumb it is when your team loses a game on a last-second kick.
uconnhuskies1995: The league's best OT Mike Ryan should have been on this list.
AA: I thought long and hard about him.
Calmteer: Biggest snub was DeDe Lattimore, USF linebacker. Everyone is talking about the USF defense and specifically their linebackers........so how do make a top 25 list and not include a USF linebacker??
AA: Was it DeDe Lattimore or Sam Barrington who got snubbed? Barrington is moving positions, last I saw. These guys are good, yes, but they did not make any watch lists and have a ways to go to live up to their potential.
LeavittyJim: AA, you're an idiot. I'm not even going to waste my time dignifying this with a response. The only reason I came to the blog was because I still follow on Twitter for some reason.
AA: Well, I guess you wasted your time.
tampbabe67: She has shown nothing but hate towards USF. She won't openly say it, but she lives in Orlando...pretty much sums up some of the things she says about USF. USF has one of the best collections of talent in the conference and we put ONE player on the list. She is an idiot.
Any in Atlanta: Really disappointed by your lack of knowledge on the Big East. To have BJ Daniels listed as the top USF player and the only player in the top 25 shows you don't take your job seriously. I come the this blog everyday and wont be for much longer.
AA: Not to compare with others, but I think Athlon Sports had ... wait for it ... ZERO USF players in its Top 25. I guess they don't take their job seriously, either.
BearcatTuba: I see a lot of USF fans complaining about the number of players on this list. Remember, a good team is made of just that a team, and individual stars can only carry you so far in a sport like football. We (Cincy fans) thought the same thing when BB did his post season list in 2009. UC maybe had 3 guys in the top 25 and it seem odd since UC was a great team that year, and a lot of fans thought we got snubbed that year. But look at the team, besides (Tony) Pike, (Mardy) Gilyard, and (Armon) Binns (maybe) who on that team was a star? Take consolation that she has you ranked as a team at third and look at it like you have a great team that knows how to pull together in the game.
wvrobo304: Keith Tandy should be top 5 and and Joe Madsen should be somewhere in the teens as well. Stedman Bailey made some big plays last year but I want to see a little more. I can understand him getting overlooked. I think that USF not getting much love from AA is kind of unrealistic. They're always underrated.
AA: We'll see what happens at the end of the season!