Now it is time to see who won the vote for biggest surprise team in 2012.
I asked the question in a super awesome poll last week. The winner, with over 1,900 votes: Pitt, with 27 percent. Here is how the rest of the poll shook out:
Temple: 24 percent
Syracuse: 18 percent
UConn: 17 percent
Other: 14 percent
I only have five possible slots for choices, and I like to leave one for other to see what write-in candidates you guys throw at me. Looks like a lot of fans think Pitt coach Paul Chryst can win right away despite some major question marks on his team. If everything falls into place for the Panthers, I also think they have a shot at competing for a Big East title. But a lot has to fall into place.
Now here is what you guys had to say:
davemari writes: Hard to consider UConn a surprise since they have won two of the last five BE Championships. But you have to think with even a slight upgrade at QB they will contend again.
gscheper writes: I say Syracuse... PITT I expect to be up there, so that really doesn't count as a surprise to me. I think that (Ryan) Nassib has a really good season and stuns a few teams this year. I'm not liking how much instability UCONN has had at QB, and I will not drink the Temple Kool-aid until I see them play against tougher competition week in/week out.
dhambuc writes: USF will be the surprise team. Yes they are getting preseason love like most years but it hasn't translated into wins in BE play so this year they will surprise everyone and actually win the BE. History has shown USF as a preseason top of the field team only to finish near the bottom of the conference. This will be the surprise.
danm1983 writes: I went with UConn. I think they're one QB last year wasn't half bad and the team did okay. If the defense stays solid (which it usually seems to), and their QB (possibly that new guy) pans out to be serviceable, i think they'll be in the top 2-4 area. I think Temple will be surprising as in they will win at least 2 BE games, but won't be enough to surprise getting out of the bottom 2-3 (sorry, they need at least a year to really ramp up, especially since their RB game is gonna drop - not much but (Bernard) Pierce was a beast). Syracuse...nobody knows. With a closed spring and tight media coverage, I can't tell if they're going to be better or not. I feel they'll be bowl bound again, but not in a surprise-everyone kinda way. Pitt is a darkhorse for me. They could replace my pick of UConn as surprise team, but since they have good talent and a team that should be able to adapt/revert back to the pro-style offense, They won't take a huge step back. They could be top 2-4 as well.
BeantownKnight writes: I'm picking Temple against some of the weaker defenses in the conference, and I think they'll surprise a few folks around here. I'm picking Temple to beat Syracuse and UConn this year. They might even give Pitt a run for its money in the Battle for Pennsylvania. (Please note -- there is no "Battle for Pennsylvania").
09schmitty50 writes: People are really sleeping on Syracuse. I'm saying that now and they will be in contention in the mediocre BE by the end of 2012.
CtThunder10 writes: Going to sound like a homer here but hear me out..... UCONN!!!! Although we don't have a QB picked to start yet (Chandler Whitmer) Any QB that starts for us (Chandler Whitmer) is going to be a step up from last year.. Most if not all have game time experience. We are going into year 2 with all new coaches and schemes. Everyone knows year one is usually the toughest with new coaches. We have 2-3 really good running backs this year that should be about to provide us with 1,500+ rushing yards. Yea we lost 2 O-linemen, but we we have a transfer center from Penn State, and others with plenty of experience. We have the 2010 leading reciever back this year ( academics) and also two other four-star transfers, (Clemson, BC). On the D, we are returning all of our stud linebackers, who will be better than last year and better in pass coverage as well knowing the system that much better. We have our 2 stud D-ends back and some other experience there with (Teddy) Jennings. We did lose our two interior D-linemen, but we have beast of humans there with experience and skill. Both returning corners who both can be lock down, and instead of inexperienced safeties, we have guys who can get the job done. Don't forget we have Nick Williams returning kicks and also playing slot receiver for us, too. I'm very optimistic for this team with 8-9 wins. Fans of other teams don't see it and keep putting us near the bottom but with (bad) QB play and new systems last year, we lost three games in the fourth quarter, by 3 by 4 and by 7 points. All those close losses will be wins this year.