The offseason means an endless array of preseason rankings, good to generate discussion while we prepare for the games to begin.
College Football News has already unveiled its complete rankings, from 1-124. Because I know inquiring minds want to know, here are how the Big East teams are ranked, based on how they are projected to finish. CFN believes six of eight Big East schools will be bowl eligible in 2012:
No. 14 Louisville. Projected record: 10-2
No. 25 Rutgers. Projected record: 9-3
No. 37 Cincinnati. Projected record: 8-4
No. 47 USF. Projected record: 7-5
No. 51 Pitt. Projected record: 7-5
No. 57 Syracuse. Projected record: 6-6
No. 76 UConn. Projected record: 5-7
No. 101 Temple. Projected record: 3-9
For the most part, I agree with the projections. I believe Louisville, Rutgers, Cincinnati and USF are the top four teams in the league. I think Pitt is somewhere in the middle. I think Temple will finish last. But here are a few quibbles I have with the projections:
I think USF will be better than 7-5. This team is too experienced and too talented to come away with just seven victories this season.
I will all but guarantee Temple will have a better record than 3-9. I understand that the Owls are joining a newer, much more difficult conference. And the non-league schedule is pretty brutal. But there are some quality players on this team. I don't believe Temple is in the same ballpark as some of the other bottom dwellers in the nation. I mean Temple is just three spots higher than New Mexico State. That makes no sense to me.
I think UConn will be at least .500 this year and back in a bowl game.
Syracuse remains a mystery to me. Though the nonconference schedule is tough, it's not impossible. Minnesota and Northwestern are both winnable games. The Orange could easily go 3-2 in nonconference play and then pick up three more wins in Big East play. But a lot of that depends on the maturation of the defensive front, and whether the Orange can jump-start their offense.
My spring wrap for the league runs Thursday, and my post-spring power rankings will be revealed next week. They might be a little different than these, particularly because I am just ranking teams on where they stand today -- not where I project them to finish.