Predicting the predictions

The Big East preseason media poll comes out on Tuesday morning. That and 49 cents won't buy you a newspaper in most cities -- the media failed to pick Cincinnati to win the league either of the past two years, after all -- but at least it offers some clue as to what expectations are.

Here's how I expect to see the poll look on Tuesday:

1. Pittsburgh: The Panthers should be the consensus favorite, with the return of Dion Lewis, Greg Romeus and a host of other talent.

2. West Virginia: The Mountaineers usually finish 1 or 2 in this poll and bring more starters back than anyone, including Noel Devine.

3. Cincinnati: I wouldn't be surprised if the Bearcats got some first-place votes as well as some fifth-place nods. The two-time defending champs deserve respect but I sense some doubters out there.

T-4. Connecticut and South Florida: The Huskies never seem to get their due in polls like these, while the Bulls tend to be a little overrated most years.

6. Rutgers: Somebody has to be sixth, and I think there's a healthy dose of skepticism about the Scarlet Knights among the league's beat writers.

7. Syracuse: The Orange have been a perennial pick for last place but should escape the preseason cellar this year.

8. Louisville: At least the Cardinals don't have to do much to exceed expectations.

And by way of full disclosure, here is how I voted in the poll this year (though I reserve the right to change my mind before the season kicks off):

1. Pitt

2. Cincinnati

3. West Virginia

4. UConn

5. Rutgers

6. South Florida

7. Syracuse

8. Louisville