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Big East Odds: 2012 Football Preview

When it comes to football, the Big East Conference has been under siege in recent months with defection of West Virginia to the Big 12 this season and next year’s exodus of both Syracuse and Pittsburgh to the ACC.

 

Editors Note: For 2013 conference preview, click here

With Temple joining the fold this season and a number of mid-major programs coming on board in 2013, the Big East is in serious danger of losing its status as a major conference, which may have already happened in many people’s minds.

The following is a look at a few of the top contenders in the conference along with the odds to win the Big East title for all eight teams as provided by 5Dimes.

While primarily known for its basketball program, the Louisville Cardinals find themselves in prime position to win the football title this season as +240 favorites. They were just dealt a blow this past week when wide receiver Michaelee Harris was lost for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee.

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He caught the second-most balls on the team last year and led the team in total receiving yards. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will have to turn to some other targets in the passing game, but the real key could be improving a rushing attack that was ranked 93rd in the country last year.

The real strength of this team is on defense after ending last season ranked 17th in the nation in points allowed.

The second-favorite to win the Big East this season at +325 is the South Florida Bulls. They are going to have to regroup after winning just one game in the conference last year and ending up 5-7 overall.

Turning things around could fall squarely on the shoulders of quarterback BJ Daniels. He threw for 2,604 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2011 while adding another 601 yards and six touchdowns on the ground. The Bulls will also need a much better effort from a defense gave-up an average of just 22.7 points a game, but was torched by Cincinnati for 37 points and by Pittsburgh for 44 points last year.

The Cincinnati Bearcats just so happen to be the third-favorite to win the Big East at +450. They rolled to a 5-2 record in conference play last season and ended-up 10-3 overall. They have just four starters back on offense and seven starters back on the defensive side of the ball so 2012 might be a bit of a rebuilding year for this team.

However, with no real dominant team in the conference, Cincinnati should remain in the title picture all season long.

It will the Pittsburgh Panthers swan song in the Big East in 2012 and they are fourth-favorites at +550 to close things out with a conference title. They are coming off a couple on down seasons and actually finished up last season with a losing record of 6-7.

Paul Chryst takes over as head coach and will hopefully provide some stability to the overall program. Tino Sunseri returns as the Panthers starting quarterback after throwing for 2,616 yards last season. He only tossed 10 touchdowns verse 11 interceptions, but he did complete over 64 percent of passes.

Also back is Ray Graham, who led the team in rushing with 958 yards on 164 carries.

The odds to win the conference for the rest of the teams are Rutgers at +550, Connecticut at +2000, Syracuse at +3000, and Temple at +3500.