In my mailbag on Wednesday, someone asked me to establish early odds for the Big East 2011 offensive player of the year. I put it this way:
Geno Smith: 3 to 1
Zach Collaros: 4 to 1
Ray Graham: 6 to 1
Isaiah Pead: 8 to 1
B.J. Daniels: 10 to 1
The field: 15 to 1
Well, that got me to thinking about the defensive player of the year award, which is usually a tougher race to call. It should be even tougher to predict given the amount of defensive talent that left after the 2010 season. Here's how I would set the odds at this very early date.
Brandon Lindsey, Pittsburgh: 9-to-2
Three Pitt players have won or shared this award the past two seasons, so why not go with another Panther? Lindsey should be able to make a lot of plays in the new hybrid linebacker position, and he led the league in tackles for loss a season ago.
Bruce Irvin, West Virginia: 5-to-1
Irvin led the league with 14 sacks last season and will play more downs this season. He's as solid a choice as any, though opposing offenses will gear up for him.
Chandler Jones, Syracuse: 8-to-1
I've got a feeling he's about to bust out a big season at defensive end for the Orange
Sio Moore, Connecticut: 10-to-1
Won two Big East player of the week awards last season and showed his potential against West Virginia. Could make a lot of plays at linebacker for the Huskies.
The field: 12-to-1
Others to watch: Kendall Reyes and Jesse Joseph, UConn; Julian Miller and Keith Tandy, West Virginia; Hakeem Smith, Louisville; Sam Barrington, South Florida.