No Love From The Media
Yesterday morning the Big East Media Poll was released and Rutgers came in last place in the preseason tally. Here is the complete ranking with first place votes in parenthesis:
1. West Virginia (21) – 188
2. Pittsburgh (2) – 162
3. USF (1) – 151
4. Syracuse – 98
5. Cincinnati – 96
6. Connecticut – 76
7. Louisville – 60
8. Rutgers – 33
For Rutgers fans it has been a long time since seeing those types of predictions, nevertheless a not too distant memory for many long time followers. It will be interesting to see how it will be framed among fans and whether Coach Greg Schiano can turn these prognostications into a motivational tool for a program that finished 4-8 last season after five straight bowl appearances.
Last night as the Big East Media Poll leaked out on the internet and twitter, Rutgers fans on the nj.com Rutgers Fan Zone were asked what place they would have put Rutgers in the 2011 Big East preseason poll. As of 11 PM Tuesday evening 215 votes were cast and the results were as follows:
Third Place 21%
Fourth Place 17%
Eighth Place 16%
First Place 15%
Fifth Place 12%
Second Place 9%
Sixth Place 5%
Seventh Place 4%
With first and eighth place pretty even and with a combined 31% of the vote, you can tell there is a wide spread between feelings among even Rutgers followers. I must caution though, that Rutgers fan forums and message boards at times seem to be populated by fans that are anything but. However, with the top two vote getters equaling 38% of fans who are essentially saying the team will finish either third or fourth, the poll seems to have yielded somewhat reasonable results.
If you want to get your vote in click here.
Beyondthebets.com took a look at four online sports books: 5Dimes, TheGreek, Bodog, and BetOnline.
They came out with the following observations:
Notice that Syracuse, picked to finish fourth by Big East writers, is listed sixth by three sportsbooks — Bodog, BetOnline and 5Dimes — and seventh by TheGreek. You can get Syracuse at +800 at BetOnline or at +1700 at 5Dimes.
Though the writers picked Pitt to finish second in the league, three sportsbooks have USF listed second and another has them in a tie for first at +250 with West Virginia.
Other notable differences?
• BetOnline lists Rutgers at +1000, while 5Dimes (+2400) and Bodog (+2000) offer a payoff that’s at least twice as high.
• Cincinnati, which is picked to finish fourth at three of four books, can be had from anywhere between +500 (TheGreek) and +950 (5Dimes).
• Louisville is priced anywhere between +500 and +1100 at the four books, and one book, BetOnline, has given them the fourth-best odds to win the conference.
For the full results of this research go here.
One observations that I must add:
• Connecticut was picked LAST in three of the four sportsbooks and a very close second to last in the fourth.
Phil In The Blanks
So let’s take this one step further for another competing point of view. Phil Steele – who puts together one of the better preview magazines out there and with its information laden pages is undoublelty geared toward bettors – put his preseason rankings as follows:
3. West Virginia
Wild Wild East
So what does this all mean? Well this is going to be another whacky and unpredictable season in the Big East. The only consensus is that West Virginia, Pittsburgh and USF are going to be good and the rest a crap shoot. Now remember before you mistake parity for mediocrity and start beating up on the conference, it is a young conference. There are a lot of young players, young teams and new coaches. Those who like to point to Oklahoma’s blowout of Connecticut in last season’s Fiesta Bowl, surely weren’t talking the opposite in 2007 when West Virginia did the same to the Sooners then. The Big East lost the coaching talents of Brian Kelly, Rich Rodriguez, Bobby Petrino and Mark Dantonio in a short period of time. Staffs and recruiting classes were jolted and reset. Now there are some new and talented blood in the coaching ranks with the likes of Skip Holtz, Charlie Strong, Butch Jones and Gary Patterson starting in 2012. You are seeing the beginning of another upward cycle for the league.
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