While the ACC has earned most of the national attention that has come from conference realignment, the Big East will unveil its new eight-team football league this fall. National expectations are low for the conference as a whole; while Louisville and Pittsburgh look like solid clubs, there's not much to separate the conference's other six teams.
The fact that the Cardinals and Panthers are overwhelming favorites to win the Big East crown is evident in the Rivals.com 2005 Preseason All-Big East team. Louisville placed 12 players on the first or second team, while Pittsburgh was represented by nine players, including eight who made the first team.
As for parity among the rest of the league, each of the other six teams had at least four players chosen, led by Rutgers with eight, and only Cincinnati failed to land a player on the first team. The following is the Rivals.com 2005 Preseason All-Big East team.
2005 Preseason All-Big East First Team
: Tyler Palko
6-2, 220, Pittsburgh (Jr.)
Palko has a strong arm and is accurate. He rebounded from a tough start last season to pass for 3,067 yards, 24 TDs and just seven interceptions.
: James Wyche
6-6, 267, Syracuse (Sr.)
Wyche has great size and speed and ranks as one of the best ends in the nation. Last season, he had 68 tackles, including 15 for losses, and 5.5 sacks.
: Andre Hall
5-10, 205, South Florida (Sr.)
A lot was expected of Hall last season as a highly rated junior college transfer, and he delivered for the Bulls with 1,357 rushing yards and 11 TDs.
: Elvis Dumervil
6-0, 256, Louisville (Sr.)
Opposing coaches wish this Elvis would leave the building. A pass-rushing terror, Dumervil had 52 tackles (11.5 for losses) and 10 sacks last season.
: Cornell Brockington
6-0, 192, Connecticut (Jr.)
Brockington has good speed but also runs well between the tackles. In 2004, he led the Big East with 1,218 yards (5.1 per carry) and added 11 TDs.
: Thomas Smith
6-4, 285, Pittsburgh (Sr.)
Smith, who has good size and is physically strong, will move from end to tackle this fall. He had 47 tackles (5.5 for losses) and three sacks in 2004.
: Greg Lee
6-2, 200, Pittsburgh (Jr.)
With 68 catches for 1,297 yards and 10 TDs, Lee emerged in 2004 as one of the nation's top wideouts and a suitable replacement for Larry Fitzgerald.
: Montavious Stanley
6-2, 321, Louisville (Sr.)
Stanley has great size and is tough to move off the ball. In 2004, he finished with 30 tackles (4.5 for losses), four sacks and two forced fumbles.
: Tres Moses
5-10, 191, Rutgers (Sr.)
The small but tough Moses doesn't get the national recognition he deserves. He caught 81 passes for 1,056 yards and five touchdowns in 2004.
: H.B. Blades
6-0, 245, Pittsburgh (Jr.)
Blades moves to inside linebacker this fall after a huge 2004 season in which he recorded 108 tackles, including 10.5 for losses, and two picks.
: Clark Harris
6-6, 255, Rutgers (Sr.)
Harris is one of the best receiving tight ends in the nation. He used his great hands to catch 53 passes for 725 yards and five TDs last year.
: Brandon Johnson
6-5, 218, Louisville (Sr.)
Johnson is a great athlete and is able to make plays from sideline to sideline. He recorded 84 tackles, including 7.5 for losses, and two picks last season.
: Travis Leffew
6-4, 301, Louisville (Sr.)
Size, strength and great technique make Leffew one of the nation's best and an All-America candidate. He has started 38 consecutive games.
: Stephen Nicholas
6-3, 225, South Florida (Jr.)
The athletic Nicholas is great against the run or in coverage. He recorded 98 tackles, including 11 for losses, and five pass break-ups in 2004.
: Charles Spencer
6-5, 330, Pittsburgh (Sr.)
Few players as big as Spencer, a prep basketball star, share his athleticism. He made a successful move in 2004 to left tackle from the defensive line.
: Darrelle Revis
6-0, 180, Pittsburgh (Soph.)
Revis has great cover skills and was a Rivals.com Freshman All-American in 2004 after piling up 49 tackles, 12 pass break-ups and two picks.
: Dan Mozes
6-4, 280, West Virginia (Jr.)
The Mountaineers love to run the ball and Mozes leads the way on the line. He's extremely strong but also quick enough to get out and pull.
: William Gay
5-11, 182, Louisville (Jr.)
Gay is the only returning starter in the secondary for the Cardinals, but he's a good one. He recorded 21 tackles last season and four pass break-ups.
: John Glass
6-5, 300, Rutgers (Sr.)
Glass earned All-Big East honors a year ago after anchoring an offensive line that helped the Scarlet Knights rank sixth nationally in passing yards.
: Jahmile Addae
6-0, 205, West Virginia (Sr.)
Addae's intelligence rarely leaves him out of position and allows him to make big plays. He had 49 tackles, four pass break-ups and two picks in 2004.
: Jason Spitz
6-4, 308, Louisville (Sr.)
Spitz is very athletic and especially good as a run blocker. He will move to center this fall after starting 24 games in the last two seasons at guard.
: Anthony Smith
6-1, 187, Syracuse (Sr.)
Smith is a physical player who delivers big hits and makes big plays. He had 85 tackles, four pass break-ups, three picks and three blocked kicks in 2004.
: Adam Graessle
6-4, 220, Pittsburgh (Jr.)
Graessle was consistent last season, averaging 43.3 yards per attempt. His long was 79 yards and he had 17 kicks downed inside the 20-yard line.
: Josh Cummings
5-11, 180, Pittsburgh (Sr.)
Cummings tied the Panthers school record with 18 field goals last season, including a long of 47 yards, and was 15 of 18 from inside 40 yards.
: Montrel Jones
6-0, 199, Louisville (Sr.)
Also a solid receiver who caught 37 passes a year ago, Jones is scary on punt returns and averaged 10.4 yards per attempt, including a 74-yard TD.
: Larry Taylor
5-6, 161, Conecticut (Soph.)
It would be a mistake to overlook Taylor because of his size. Last season, he averaged 31.3 yards per kick return, including a 97-yarder for a TD.
: Brian Leonard
6-2, 235, Rutgers (Sr.)
With no designation for a fullback, the versatile Leonard lands here. He rushed for 732 yards and seven TDs and had 61 catches for 518 yards in 2004.
2005 Preseason All-Big East Second Team
: Brian Brohm
6-4, 224, Louisville (Soph.)
One of the top recruits in the class of 2004, Brohm was impressive in spot duty last season, passing for 819 yards, six TDs and just two picks.
: Ryan Neill
6-3, 265, Rutgers (Sr.)
Neill leads the way for an underrated Scarlet Knights defensive line. He recorded 43 tackles last season, including 13 for losses and eight sacks.
: Damien Rhodes
6-0, 217, Syracuse (Sr.)
Rhodes won't have to split carries with Walter Reyes this season, so it's a strong possibility that he'll eclipse last year's totals of 870 yards and 10 TDs.
: Adam Roberts
6-3, 257, Cincinnati (Sr.)
The Bearcats are moving Roberts from tackle to end this season to take advantage of his quickness. He had 32 tackles (5.5 for losses) last season.
: Michael Bush
6-3, 250, Louisville (Jr.)
Bush split time with Eric Shelton in 2004, but still rushed for 734 yards and seven TDs. His numbers will improve as the feature back this fall.
: Deon McPhee
6-2, 284, Connecticut (Sr.)
McPhee's job, one he's great at, is to occupy blockers and let the Huskies' linebackers fill the gaps. Still, he posted 24 tackles (four for losses) in 2004.
: Jason Williams
6-0, 177, Connecticut (Sr.)
Williams isn't the fastest or strongest receiver in the Big East, but he's reliable. He caught 44 passes for 661 yards and four TDs last season.
: Tim Jones
6-3, 275, South Florida (Sr.)
Jones utilized a redshirt year in 2004 after recording 48 tackles, including 13 for losses, and 2.5 sacks in 2003. He'll be the leader on the Bulls' D-line.
: Joshua Tinch
6-3, 223, Louisville (Sr.)
Big, fast and physical, Tinch knows how to use his size to get open. Last season, he finished with 36 catches for 510 yards and a touchdown.
: James Hargrave
5-11, 224, Connecticut (Sr.)
A disruptive force, the high-energy Hargrave is always around the ball. Last season, he recorded 88 tackles, including 15 for losses and four sacks.
: Brent Celek
6-4, 255, Cincinnati (Jr.)
Celek is a solid blocker and opportunistic receiver. He only caught 22 passes for 254 yards last season, but eight of the receptions were for TDs.
: Kellen Pruitt
6-4, 226, Syracuse (Sr.)
Pruitt is a sure tackler who is especially good in pass coverage. He recorded 80 tackles, including three for losses, and four pass break-ups last season.
: Grant Preston
6-4, 307, Connecticut (Sr.)
Preston is extremely versatile and has been a starter since his freshman year when he played right guard. This fall, he moves from right to left tackle.
: Nate Harris
6-1, 220, Louisville (Jr.)
A highly touted recruit and former Miami commit, Harris is expected to start after a stellar JUCO career. He has great speed and is a big hitter.
: Steve Eastlake
6-6, 305, Cincinnati (Sr.)
Eastlake is the Bearcats' only returning starter on the line, but he was the team's best last season and has now started 24 consecutive games.
: Bernard "Josh" Lay
6-2, 195, Pittsburgh (Sr.)
Lay joins Revis to create on of the best corner tandems in the nation. He finished last season with 22 tackles, 12 pass break-ups and three interceptions.
: Chris Carothers
6-3, 290, South Florida (Sr.)
The Bulls return their entire starting offensive line, and Carothers is the best of that group, having started at right guard since his freshman year.
: Joe Porter
6-0, 198, Rutgers (Jr.)
Porter has good size and speed, and he has a knack for making big plays. He had 55 tackles last season, and added six pass break-ups and five picks.
: Jeremy Sheffey
6-3, 290, West Virginia (Jr.)
Sheffey moved to guard from defensive end before last season and emerged as a starter by mid-season. His biggest strength is his superior athleticism.
: Mike Lorello
6-1, 200, West Virginia (Sr.)
Viewed as a team leader because of his tremendous work ethic, Lorello recorded 66 tackles, including nine for losses, and two interceptions in 2004.
: Steve Franklin
6-5, 321, Syracuse (Sr.)
Powerful and mobile, Franklin will move to center this season after starting at guard in each of the last two years. He anchors the Orange line.
: Dominic Ross
6-0, 200, Cincinnati (Jr.)
Ross was impressive a year ago while sharing time in the secondary. He should improve on his 37 tackles and three pass break-ups from 2004.
: Brendan Carney
6-5, 202, Syracuse (Jr.)
Carney has a big leg and gets good hang time on his punts. He averaged 42.8 yards per attempt in 2004, with a long of 65 and 11 downed inside the 20.
: Jeremy Ito
5-11, 180, Rutgers (Soph.)
Ito was a pleasant surprise for the Scarlet Knight as a freshman. He made 15 of 24 field goal tries, including six kicks from longer than 40 yards.
: Mike Daniels
5-7, 185, Cincinnati (Jr.)
Daniels is small, but he's tough and hard to tackle in the open field. He averaged 11.8 yards per punt return last season with a long of 34 yards.
: Broderick Clark
6-0, 185, Louisville (Sr.)
Clark doubles as a wide receiver and provides the Cardinals with a good deep threat. But he also averaged more than 21 yards per kick return last season.
: Willie Foster
5-10, 170, Rutgers (Jr.)
Foster is small but extremely quick. He was his team's leader on punt returns and kick returns last season, while also providing depth at receiver.