HOW THEY'LL FINISH
August 15, 2010
Best offensive player
RB, Pitt, Soph.
Lewis is at his best in the big games: He rushed for 194 yards against No. 5 Cincinnati and 159 against North Carolina in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
Best defensive player
DE, Pitt, Sr.
NFL coaches can't wait to get their hands on this 6'6", 270-pound former high school basketball star, who had 43 tackles (11½ for loss) and eight sacks in '09.
True freshman to watch
WR, West Virginia
This four-star recruit—who was a teammate of quarterback Geno Smith at Miramar (Fla.) High—is a playmaker along the lines of his cousin Chad Ochocinco.
Coach on the rise
Oft-rumored to be headed to a more established program, he has won 25 games and gone to three bowls the last three seasons. This should be his best team in his 12 years at Storrs.
Coach on the hot seat
After Rich Rodriguez won 11 games in each of his last three seasons in Morgantown, Stewart (left), who is 18--8 in two years, has been a disappointment.
PLAYERS TO WATCH (Top performers from unranked teams)
RB, Louisville, Jr.
The Cardinals, 4--8 last season, need a comeback year from Anderson, who rushed for 1,047 yards in 2008 but had just 473 in an injury-plagued '09.
QB, South Florida, Soph.
Daniels took over in the fourth game of the season—a win at Florida State—and never looked back, with 1,982 yards passing and 772 rushing.
RB, West Virginia, Sr.
The conference's most electrifying back, Devine played with a left-ankle injury last season but still put up monster numbers (1,465 yards, 13 touchdowns).
QB, Rutgers, Soph.
The most highly touted recruit in team history lived up to expectations with a solid freshman year (2,211 passing yards, 14 TDs) but must now play behind a rebuilt line.
LB, Connecticut, Sr.
The 6'1" and 223-pound Wilson is the leader of the defense and had a team-high 140 tackles in 2009—with 16 or more in three games.
For the first time in the history of South Florida's program (the Bulls began play in 1997), Jim Leavitt, who was fired in January, won't be on the sideline. SKIP HOLTZ takes over a team that has made five straight bowl appearances but lost six players who were either drafted or signed by NFL teams.... Syracuse has made strides under second-year coach DOUG MARRONE, but the Orange will struggle if it doesn't have running back DELONE CARTER, who's awaiting the resolution of an assault case that stems from a fight last February. Carter rushed for 1,021 yards and 11 touchdowns in Marrone's offense.... In taking over a floundering Louisville program, former Florida defensive coordinator CHARLIE STRONG used his Sunshine State connections to nab seven recruits, including standouts MICHAELEE HARRIS at wide receiver and B.J. BUTLER at defensive end.... After a season of heartbreak on the field (five losses by a combined 15 points) and off (the murder of cornerback Jasper Howard), Connecticut has become a dark horse pick in the conference race. The Huskies' offense centers around running back JORDAN TODMAN(left), who had five 100-yard games in 2009 and will rush behind an experienced and talented O-line.