<
>

Loaded Mountaineers are Big East's best

8/17/2004

ESPN analyst Bill Curry predicts the Big East conference champion, award winners and more:

And the winner is ...
West Virginia

The Mountaineers are not yet a top-10 program, but they finished 6-1 in league play last year and are too good for this smaller version of the Big East.

But I wouldn't be surprised ...
If Connecticut won
Randy Edsall and his band of 17 returning starters (9 offense, 8 defense) have the confidence and the weapons to leap through this unique window of opportunity. Miami and Virginia Tech are gone to the ACC, while Louisville and Cincinnati are still a year away from leaving Conference USA for the Big East.

Most Valuable Player ...
Rasheed Marshall, QB, West Virginia
He is mature, mobile, accurate, and has wide receiver Chris Henry on his side. Marshall passed for 1,729 yards and 15 touchdowns last season.

Most Important Player ...
Chris Henry, WR, West Virginia
An amazing talent in the mold of Randy Moss. The 6-4 Henry averaged 24.5 yards per catch last season with 10 touchdowns.

Coach of the Year ...
Randy Edsall, Connecticut
This will be the feel-good story of the year if the Huskies play like they should.

Assistant You Should Know ...
George DeLeone, Associate head coach/Offensive line, Syracuse
This is a crucial year for the Syracuse staff, as the Orangemen went 6-6 last year and were just 2-5 in the Big East. Lifer DeLeone is the kind of genius that can and must come up with a consistent offense.

Player I'd pay to watch ...
Chris Henry, WR, West Virginia.
How many times do I have to say it!

Toughest Place to play ...
Mountaineer Field, West Virginia
The Mountaineer community has calmed down the sofa burners, but the inside of that stadium is becoming downright enchanted for the home team.

Game of the Year ...
West Virginia at Connecticut, Oct. 13
If the Huskies can get Rentschler Field rocking and play the game of their lives, it will be one to remember!

ESPN college football analyst Bill Curry coached for 17 years in the college ranks. His breakdowns for marquee matchups appear each week during the college football season.