Big East: Five predictions

After taking a look into my crystal ball, here are five predictions for the Big East this season.

1. West Virginia wins the conference. I agree with the Big East preseason media poll pick and have the Mountaineers with 10 wins this season. Looking at the numbers Dana Holgorsen's offenses have racked up at Texas Tech, Houston and Oklahoma State leads me to believe he will have similar success at West Virginia. No, he has never been a head coach. But he has guided pretty prolific offenses, and he has excellent talent at West Virginia to get his team scoring 35-plus points a game.

2. The Big East will have two ranked teams at the end of the season. I think West Virginia and Pitt will both be in the final Top 25 rankings. The Mountaineers will make it to the BCS game, and Pitt will have great success on offense under new coach Todd Graham, and one of the best defenses in the Big East. What is refreshing about Graham is the way he has embraced the high expectations for the program. He has won big games in his career, and that should help when the pressure is on late in the season.

3. Three quarterbacks with throw for 3,000 or more yards. I'm looking at you, Zach Collaros, Geno Smith and Tino Sunseri. Collaros will be better this season because he is going to cut down on his interceptions. Smith and Sunseri are in offenses that almost always feature 3,000-yard passers.

4. Smith will be offensive player of the year, and Pitt DE/LB Brandon Lindsey will be defensive player of the year. Smith has the advantage of playing in the Holgorsen system, and came on strong at the end of 2010. Lindsey will benefit greatly from standing up in his new hybrid "Panther position," allowing him to be more aggressive in getting after the quarterback. Pitt has won this award three straight seasons -- make it four straight.

5. Here is my predicted order of finish:

1. West Virginia

2. Pitt

3. USF

4. Cincinnati

4. Louisville

4. Syracuse

7. UConn

8. Rutgers