Louisville favored to win Big East

NEWPORT, R.I. -- The preseason hype is growing some more for Louisville.

The Cardinals are the overwhelming favorite to win the Big East in the preseason media poll, released Tuesday before the start of media day. Louisville received 24 of 28 first-place votes to easily outdistance itself from USF, which received the other four first-place votes and finished second.

Third-year coach Charlie Strong returns 17 starters to a team that won a share of the Big East championship last year. That includes sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who is on several preseason watch lists for top quarterback and player of the year.

USF also returns 17 starters, including quarterback B.J. Daniels, who is going into his fourth year as a starter. The Bulls were ahead of No. 3 choice Rutgers, a team many tabbed at the end of last season to be one of the favorites to win it all. But a coaching change and quarterback uncertainty left voters putting the Scarlet Knights third.

This is a big year for the Big East, simply because there is a huge opportunity available for the remaining league teams with West Virginia out of the picture. Now it remains to be seen who actually wins the conference.

Here is the projected order of finish, with point totals

1. Louisville, 219

2. USF, 176

3. Rutgers, 155

4. Cincinnati, 139

5. Pitt, 131

6. UConn, 77

7. Syracuse, 70

8. Temple, 41