Across the Commonwealth 8/2

08/02/2011 01:46 PM

Thoughts on the Big East football predictions, an onslaught of University of Kentucky football commitments, and other sports news across the Commonwealth:

-The Big East released its preseason predictions at Media Day on Tuesday, with West Virginia receiving 21 of a possible 24 first-place votes. The University of Louisville was picked seventh.

Here’s the media’s predicted order of finish:
1-West Virginia
2-Pittsburgh
3-USF
4-Syracuse
5-Cincinnati
6-UConn
7-Louisville
8-Rutgers

Here’s how I see things shaking out in the Big East this season:
1-Pittsburgh-The Panthers have always had the league’s best overall talent and defense. Now that Todd Graham is on board, the offensive production should go up dramatically. The schedule is also friendly. The Panthers must go to West Virginia but the rest of the tough games are at home.
2-West Virginia-The leftover drama from the *Bill Stewart/Dana Holgorsen *transition has scared me away from picking the Mountaineers to win the league. But 9 or 10 wins is still very possible.
3-USF-I got to see plenty of Coach Skip Holtz when he played UK in the Liberty Bowl while at East Carolina. He knows what he’s doing and will get the most out of a rich South Florida talent base.
4-Cincinnati-I believe the 4-8 mark in Butch Jones’ first year replacing Brian Kelly was an aberration. *The Bearcats *have the league’s best running back (Isaiah Pead), arguably the first or second-best quarterback (Zach Collaros) and a deep stable of receivers.
5-Louisville-Most people have the Cards pegged at or near the bottom, but I sense this team will finish somewhere near the middle of the pack. I could see the Oct. 15 game vs. Cincy at Paul Brown Stadium being for fourth place.
6-Syracuse-The Orangemen had a lot of things go their way during last year’s 8-5 campaign. I could see them going back to a bowl game but taking step or two back in the win column and the standings.
7-Rutgers-That 2006 win over then No. 3 Louisville seems like ages ago. I bet Coach Greg Schiano wishes he would have gotten out then.
8-UConn-Randy Edsall was UConn football, and the hiring of Paul Pasqualoni didn’t exactly set off the Richter scale.

-The University of Kentucky football program picked up two commitments on Wednesday, Jeffersontown defensive lineman Daniel Ross and Myrtle Beach offensive lineman T.J. Jones
There are two more potential commitments hanging in the balance for the Cats: Seneca defensive lineman Tyrone Pearson put his on Twitter page that he committed to UK, but Pearson isn’t doing media interviews and most recruiting services aren’t listing the commitment as official. Also, word broke late Monday night that Georgia cornerback Jadarius West was ready to commit as soon as he got in touch with UK assistant coach Tee Martin.

Here’s a list of UK’s commitment list for 2012, which is now officially at 15:

Name Pos Ht/Wt Stars Rank
Darone Bailey OL 6-6/315 NR Rivals, 2-stars Scout
Daron Blaylock DB 6-0/218 3-stars Rivals, 2-stars Scout
Shawn Blaylock DB 6-0/179 2-stars Rivals, 2-stars Scout
Zack Blaylock DB 5-11/185 3-stars Rivals, 3-stars Scout
Thomas Chapman DT 6-4/290 4-stars Rivals, 3-stars Scout
Patrick Graffree DT 6-4/277 2-stars Rivals, 2-stars Scout
Josh Harris DB 6-1/200 3-stars Rivals, 3-stars Scout
Zach Myers OL 6-4/270 NR Rivals, 2-stars Scout
Jonathan Reed DB 5-10/178 3-stars Rivals, 3-stars Scout
Daniel Ross DE 6-5/255 NR Rivals, 3-stars Scout
DeMarcus Sweat WR 6-2/185 2-stars Rivals, 2-stars Scout
Jon Toth OL 6-5/290 2-stars Rivals, 3-stars Scout
Patrick Towles QB 6-5/232 3-stars Rivals, 3-stars Scout
Jordan Watson OL 6-4/285 NR Rivals, 3-stars Scout

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