Louisville Cardinals v South Florida Bulls

Louisville is Big East’s preseason favorite to win league


Louisville won a share of the Big East title last season and was one game away from making the BCS. Now that West Virginia is gone to the Big 12, though, the Cardinals are projected to be all alone at the top of this year’s Big East standings.

Louisville was an overwhelming favorite to win the conference this year, grabbing 24 of 28 first place votes. Charlie Strong‘s team returns 17 of 22 starters from last year, including up and coming quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

South Florida, perennially at or near the top of every Big East preseason poll before finishing at or near the bottom of the league by the end of the year, got four first place votes and projects to finish second. I’m a big fan of Skip Holtz, but the Bulls have yet to find a cure for their seasonal inconsistencies.

Temple, celebrating its re-entry into the league, has been picked to finish last. Guess old habits die hard, eh?

Here’s how the teams are projected to finish with total points in parenthesis:

1. Louisville (219)

2. USF (176)

3. Rutgers (155)

4. Cincinnati (139)

5. Pitt (131)

6. UConn (77)

7. Syracuse ( 70)

8. Temple (41)

Expect Oregon’s quarterback rotation to continue for the next two weeks

AP Photo

Oregon touched the ball 15 times in its 41-24 win over Colorado on Saturday night. Jeff Lockie played seven of them, including the first. Taylor Alie played eight.

As long as Vernon Adams nurses his broken finger, this appears to be the plan for the Ducks.

“They’d both done enough good things in practice last week to merit playing,” head coach Mark Helfrich told the Oregonian. “We just felt looking at the game plan we could parcel out aspects with each.”

“Of course you want to get into a better rhythm but that’s how it goes,” Lockie said. “We’re just going to play the best we can and as long as we’re winning games, there’s no problem with me.”

Lockie completed 8-of-11 throws for 54 yards with an interception while rushing five times for 18 yards. Alie connected on 4-of-9 throws for 83 yards and a touchdown while adding 22 yards on five carries. Not quite Marcus Mariota numbers from either signal caller.

“It’ll just depend on the game plan,” Helfrich said of Alie and Lockie. “I think those guys they have differences. There are some strengths and weaknesses to different areas of their game and so we’ll think about that going forward of just how the Washington State game plan comes out.”

With Oregon playing Washington and Washington State (combined Pac-12 wins thus far: zero) before a tough closing stretch, Helfrich and company have time to alternate signal callers.

SEC shut out of AP top five for first time in half a decade

Stephen F. Austin visits Amon G. Carter Stadium to play the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs.
AP Photo

The polls are meaningless. Especially any poll that isn’t the College Football Playoff top 25 and even then, as the TCU learned late last season, even the penultimate ranking is as meaningless as the paper they’re metaphorically written on.

Still, they’re catnip to college football fans and observers. Place them in front of us and we can’t help but gnaw on them.

And with that said, a bit of milestone was reached in Sunday’s Associated Press Top 25, as the SEC was completely shut out of the top five.

That group breaks down as follows:

  1. Ohio State
  2. TCU
  3. Baylor
  4. Michigan State
  5. Utah

An SEC free top five hasn’t happened in nearly five full years; October 10, 2010 was the last time such a thing occurred. Oddly enough, two of the same five culprits occupied that ranking as well:

  1. Ohio State
  2. Oregon
  3. Boise State
  4. TCU
  5. Nebraska

Underscoring the lesson of the first paragraph, eventual national champion Auburn checked in at No. 6. Those Tigers moved up a spot the following week and never looked back.

None of this means anything at all, until it does. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun along the way.