AP: A capsule look at the Big East in predicted order of finish:
CONNECTICUT — Key players: QB Zach Frazer, RB Jordan Todman, LB Scott Lutrus, LB Lawrence Wilson. Returning starters: 8 offense, 8 defense.
Notes: Coach Randy Edsall is in his 12th season at UConn, somewhat of a surprise considering his name often is mentioned as a candidate for other jobs, such Kansas and Notre Dame last year. …. Schedule sets up nicely even though Huskies play four league road games. Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Cincinnati all come to Rentschler Field. … Frazer, a Notre Dame transfer, gives Huskies their best QB since Dan Orlovsky left Storrs.
PITTSBURGH — Key players: RB Dion Lewis, DE Greg Romeus, WR Jon Baldwin, S Dom DeCicco. Returning starters: 5 offense, 6 defense.
Notes: Lewis was the league’s offensive player of the year as a freshman, running for 1,799 yards and 17 scores. … Romeus was the defensive player of the year, and passed up a chance to enter the NFL draft and be an early round pick … QB Tino Sunseri entered preseason practice atop the depth chart. … Last four games, in consecutive weeks, are at UConn, at USF, home for West Virginia and at Cincinnati.
CINCINNATI — Key players: QB Zach Collaros, WR Armon Binns, LB Jake Schaffer. Returning starters: 7 offense, 5 defense.
Notes: While the offense will have a very similar look under Jones, the Bearcats’ defense goes from a 3-4 to a 4-3 scheme. The defense relied heavily on making big plays last year and when the sacks and turnovers didn’t come the unit gave up yards and points in bunches late in the season … WR Vidal Hazelton, a USC transfer, should help make up for loss of star Mardy Gilyard.
WEST VIRGINIA — Key players: RB Noel Devine, WR Jock Sanders, S Robert Sands. Returning starters: 7 offense, 9 defense.
Notes: QB Geno Smith, a sophomore, is a first-year starter but a touted prospect with some game experience after backing up Jarrett Brown last year … Devine averages a touchdown every 17 times he touches the ball … Sept. 25 game at LSU is getting plenty of hype around Morgantown this offseason.
RUTGERS — Key players: QB Tom Savage, WR Mohamed Sanu, S Joe Lefeged. Returning starters: 6 offense, 6 defense.
Notes: Among the three offensive line starters to be replaced are OT Anthony Davis, a first-round NFL draft pick … Savage completed 52 percent of his passes with 14 TDs and seven interceptions as a freshman. He has the potential to develop into the finest passer in school history. … Soft nonconference schedule includes Norfolk State, FIU, Tulane and Army.
USF — Key players: QB B.J. Daniels, RB Moise Plancher, DT Keith McCaskill. Returning starters: 10 offense, 5 defense.
Notes: Daniels was pressed into service as a freshman when Matt Grothe was injured early last season. He responded with an up and down season, but showed that he’s got plenty of talent, running for 772 yards and passing for 1,983. … Daniels expects less designed quarterback running plays under Holtz. …. Six of the Bulls’ top seven tacklers from last season are gone.
SYRACUSE — Key players: RB Delone Carter, LB Derrell Smith, LB Doug Hogue. Returning starters: 5 offense, 6 defense.
Notes: Orange made good strides in Doug Marrone’s first season as coach, even though they won only four games, but still much work to do … Sophomore Ryan Nassib takes over at quarterback. … Orange good news to start preseason. Carter, who was suspended last semester and did not participate in spring practice after being charged with misdemeanor assault, will be returning to school and the team.
LOUISVILLE — Key players: RB Victor Anderson, WR Doug Beaumont, KB Brandon Heath. Returning starters: 7 offense, 6 defense.
Notes: Adam Froman and Justin Burke vie for quarterback job though neither looked particularly promising last season. … Anderson missed spring practice with a shoulder injury but is expected to be the main ball carrier for the Cardinals. … Cardinals recorded only 21 sacks last year. Expect Strong to figure out a way to up that total. (read the entire preview below)