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West Virginia and Pittsburgh Favored to Win Big East

The Big East is shaping up to be a competitive conference ahead of the 2010 NCAA football season. Last year’s finish was a tight one between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh as they battled in the last game of the season for a BCS bowl game birth.

The Cincinnati Bearcats finished at the top of the Big East for the second straight season, and took on the Florida Gators in the 2010 Sugar Bowl. Five other teams went to bowl games, and the conference finished with a 4-2 bowl record.

The Pittsburgh Panthers are on a mission to get back to the top of the Big East after being knocked out of BCS bowl contention by Cincinnati. Quarterback Bill Stull will try to improve upon his 2,470 passing yards and 21 touchdowns in 2009 under coach Dave Wanndstedt. Pittsburgh finished last season with 10-3 overall record, 5-2 in conference play. The Panthers are favored by online sportsbooks to win the Big East at 5/2.

A year after losing the Gator Bowl to the Florida State Seminoles, the West Virginia Mountaineers are ready to prove they are the team that should win the Big East. After a breakout sophomore season, running back Noel Devine should be among the candidates to win the Heisman Trophy in 2010. After a 9-4 finish (5-2 in the Big East) the Mountaineers are favored along with Pittsburgh to win the conference at 5/2.

Questions at wide receiver are the biggest issue facing the University of Connecticut Huskies. With the departure of Marcus Easley, several freshman wide receivers will have a shot at some playing time. Kevin Poles and Alex Molina are the two receivers with the most experience, and will likely start. The Huskies finished with an 8-4 regular season record, but faltered in Big East play with a 3-4 record. They are just behind the betting favorites to win the conference at 3/1.

Last year’s conference champion, the Cincinnati Bearcats, have undergone a complete overhaul of their football program. First year head coach Butch Jones will take over for Brian Kelly, who was lured away by Notre Dame. Gone are offensive stars Tony Pike and Mardy Guilyard. Zach Collaros will most likely become the starting quarterback, and junior wide receiver Armon Binns will take most of the receiving load. The Bearcats finished eighth in the AP ranking last season with a 12-1 regular season record while going undefeated in the conference 7-0. NCAA football sportsbooks do not expect the Bearcats to repeat their conference victory at 6/1 odds.

The 2010 Rutgers Scarlet Knights are looking to emerge from the mediocre finishes of last season, and become one of the powers in the Big East. Running back Joe Martinek will need to score more than the nine touchdowns if the team hopes to win the conference title. The team finished in the middle of the table last year with a 9-4 regular season record, and a 3-4 conference record. Those setting NCAA football betting lines have the Knights’ chances of winning the conference at 6/1.

College football fans in Tampa, Florida look forward to the 2010 season with as much anticipation as any fans in the country. Senior Matt Grothe will return to the field after sitting out a portion of the 2009 season with an injury. The team struggled with Grothe off the field, finishing with an 8-5 record with a 3-4 record in the Big East. Their NCAA football betting odds to win the conference championship this year are set at 6/1.

The Louisville Cardinals saw the departure of their head coach Steve Kragthorpe after finishing the season 4-8 record and winning just one Big East contest (1-6) . Doug Beaumont will fill the shoes of the departed Scott Long at wide receiver after Long led the team in receptions with 53. The school hired Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong for his first year of head coaching duty. He will coach up a young defense that finished out of the top 20 in points allowed. NCAA football betting sites have set the Cardinals chances of winning the conference at 9/1.

Fans will be rocking the Carrier Dome at Syracuse Orange home football games this season, though their team is the overall underdog to win the conference. The departure of wide receiver Mike Williams means Marcus Sales will have to improve upon his three touchdown performance from a season ago. The Orange finished the 2009 campaign with a 4-8 record, and a 1-6 Big East mark under first year head coach Doug Marrone. The most trusted online sportsbooks have set the Orange has heavy underdogs at 18/1.


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