<
>

The best passer in the Big East is ...

Geno Smith is gone, and so is Zach Collaros. So who is the best passer returning to the Big East?

Statistically speaking, that would be Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib, with 2,685 yards and 22 touchdown passes last season. With all due respect to Nassib, the title of best quarterback in the Big East is no doubt there for the taking.

Smith and Collaros, the two quarterbacks honored on the Big East all-conference teams, were the clear choices for the best in the league in 2011. Plenty of fuzzy area at the position going into the spring at every single school. And let's be honest -- the position needs a shot of excitement going into 2012. Everybody loves to watch a great quarterback throw; and most every team generates headlines when they have a superstar at quarterback.

There are no superstar quarterbacks in the Big East right now.

As you already know, several situations are unsettled going into the spring; and the veteran quarterbacks returning have yet to live up to expectations. There are a few quarterbacks who have an opportunity to go from good to great. If they do, their teams could easily get some much-needed national attention. Here are two I will have my eye on this spring.

B.J. Daniels, USF. Yes, Daniels is back. No, he is not 40. This is the last hurrah for Daniels, as he goes into his senior season with plenty to prove. Every year we have waited on him to take the next step. But every year there is a different reason he has not lived up to expectations. New coordinators, new systems, injuries to his skill players around him. It is time for Daniels to emerge as the No. 1 quarterback in the Big East. No more excuses. He has the talent to make it happen.

Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville. We saw all the potential in Bridgewater as a true freshman last season. Now the big key is to avoid a sophomore slump. What is a huge help is having Shawn Watson stay on as offensive coordinator. The two have developed a close relationship, and Watson calls the plays through Bridgewater's eyes. There will be more on Bridgewater's plate this year, as Watson plans to run the hurry-up offense at times. His development will determine how the Cardinals do in 2012.