Four Big East teams still undecided at QB

Four Big East teams went into the spring with open quarterback competitions.

Four Big East teams leave the spring with open quarterback competitions.

So much for spring practice resolving some major question marks.

Cincinnati, UConn, Pitt and Rutgers have not declared starters at the most high-profile position. While it appears front-runners have emerged at Cincinnati (Munchie Legaux), Pitt (Tino

Sunseri) and UConn (Chandler Whitmer), none of the head coaches at those respective schools have made any definitive announcements.

At Rutgers, there appears to be no true front-runner after spring practice, as neither Chas Dodd nor Gary Nova was consistent enough to win the job. Dodd has more game experience but Nova has all the physical tools you want your quarterback to have. Both started games last season, as former coach Greg Schiano continued what has been a recent trend of his -- playing musical quarterbacks.

But new coach Kyle Flood says he is going to make a decision on his starter at least a week before the season opener, and stick with that guy. He does not want to switch his starters in and out the way Schiano did the past several years.

UConn has had quarterback instability over the past several seasons as well. Last spring, the Huskies essentially went through the same routine, with four quarterbacks competing for the starting job. Nobody won it after the spring and the competition lasted until the season opener.

Johnny McEntee ended up becoming the starter, but he was largely ineffective and in over his head last season. UConn ended up playing three quarterbacks and posted its first losing record since 2006.

Those three players -- McEntee, Michael Nebrich and Scott McCummings -- were back in the spring competing to win the starting job.

Added into the mix were two early enrollees -- freshman Casey Cochran and Whitmer, a junior college transfer. It was Whitmer who had the best performance in the spring game, throwing two touchdown passes.

But coach Paul Pasqualoni was not ready to declare the competition over.

Immediately after the spring game last month, Pasqualoni said, "We'll come back in four weeks to start their summer program. Then we get to start this process all over again. Once we get into preseason camp and it's clear, then we'll make a decision. We won't make a decision right now."

The quarterback group as a whole in the Big East is not particularly strong this year, though Louisville freshman Teddy Bridgewater is on the rise. But the league goes into the year without a marquee name at the position for the first time in a long time. The Big East is the only one of the six automatic qualifying conferences without a returning 3,000-yard passer.

Look at recent history -- most everybody expected Geno Smith at West Virginia to have a breakout season last year. Folks knew about Zach Collaros at Cincinnati. Going further back, the Big East had nationally recognizable big names like Tony Pike, Pat White and Brian Brohm back to 2005. That was the first year of the reconfigured Big East.

Marquee quarterback names generally translate into more national attention, whether that involves debates, comparisons or even Heisman talk. The Big East is sorely lacking in that department. Even if the open quarterback competitions were resolved this spring, this is a position in need of a breakout star.

And fast.