Want more proof of the talent discrepancy between the Big East and the other five BCS conferences?
Take a look at Bovada’s 2012 Heisman Trophy odds. You see plenty of players from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC. There is one betting option from the Big East: Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater at 150/1 (17/1 to finish in the Top 3). That means the Big East, which is somehow still a BCS automatic qualifier conference despite losing West Virginia and replacing the Mountaineers with Temple, has as many Heisman “candidates” as the Mountain West. Fresno State running back Robbie Rouse is at 175/1 to win at the site.
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I’m not 100 percent sold that Bridgewater is the best overall quarterback in the conference – I would argue USF’s B.J. Daniels – so I wouldn’t waste your money on that Heisman prop. But there are a handful of other Big East player props on the site I will look at.
--Who will have more passing yards and more passing touchdowns among Bridgewater, Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib and USF’s Daniels. Nassib is the even-money favorite on the yards, with Bridgewater at +115 and Daniels at +125; on the TDs, Bridgewater is even, Nassib at +105 and Daniels at +140. Bowl games count toward totals.
Nassib enters his third season as the Orange’s starting quarterback. In 2011, he set the Syracuse single-season records for completions (259) and passing yards (2,685) and tied the mark for touchdown passes (22). He ranks No. 4 in SU history in yards and TD passes. The worry about Nassib is that the Orange lost four of their five top receivers off last year’s 5-7 club.
The good news is that WR Marcus Sales is back on the team after being suspended all of 2011 because of being arrested on multiple drug charges. In the 2010 Pinstripe Bowl, Sales had five catches for 172 yards and three touchdowns to show what he can do. Obviously, all Big East teams play each other so there’s no use analyzing that. The Orange’s nonconference schedule is Northwestern, USC, Stony Brook, Minnesota and Missouri. That looks like for sure two losses and perhaps as many as four. Thus, SU might miss a bowl game again. That could be a big factor when calculating Nassib’s totals vs. those of Daniels and Bridgewater.
Speaking of Bridgewater, he was the Big East Rookie of the Year in 2011 after throwing for 2,129 yards and 14 touchdowns. And he has a strong group of receivers back, led by Eli Rogers and Michaelee Harris. Bridgewater could put up some big numbers in the nonconference slate against the likes of Kentucky, Missouri State, Florida International and Southern Miss. And the Cards could sweep the nonconference schedule (vs. UNC will be tough, and Southern Miss is no pushover) and almost be bowl eligible there alone.
As for Daniels, he’s the best dual-threat QB in the league but still managed to throw for 2,604 yards and 13 scores. USF doesn’t have a true No. 1 back so he might be throwing a lot, and Daniels has a young-but-talented group of receivers, including Florida transfer Chris Dunkley.
My pick on this prop would be Daniels on the yards (the Bulls also will make a bowl), but Nassib on the touchdowns because Daniels will run more than a handful in to cost himself throwing scores.
--Who will have the most rushing yards and rushing touchdowns (bowl games count): Pittsburgh’s Ray Graham (+120 on yards, -120 on TDs), UConn’s Lyle McCombs (+180/+280), Rutgers’ Savon Huggins (+325/+460), USF’s Demetrius Murray (+400/+325) or Louisville’s Dominique Brown (+525/+460).
Graham is clearly the best back among this bunch, and I would take him on both props. However, Graham is coming off a torn ACL suffered last season and reports this week are that he’s unlikely to play in the season opener. That’s a huge warning flag. It might be worth holding off a few more days to bet this prop to monitor Graham’s status. If he’s ready Week 1, take him on both. Otherwise, go with McCombs on both as he is a major workhorse (despite being only 5-foot, 160 pounds) and the Huskies always ride their tailbacks. He was a freshman all-American a year ago, rushing for 1,151 yards and seven scores. The only concern with McCombs is the Huskies may miss a bowl again.
--Who will have the most receiving yards and touchdowns (again, bowls count): Syracuse’s Alec Lemon (-120/+115), Cincinnati’s Anthony McClung (+335/+235), Pitt’s Devin Street (+225/+245), Louisville’s Rogers (+515/+475) or USF’s Sterling Griffin (+525/+500).
Lemon led this group with 834 yards last year, while he and McClung each had six scores. Normally I would jump all over a Bearcats receiver in that pass-happy offense, but new starting QB Munchie Legaux is a question mark. I like Street on the yards after he had three 100-yard games a season ago (754 total yards) and Lemon on the TDs. He’s healthy now after missing the spring due to offseason shoulder surgery.
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