SB Nation blog Big East Coast Bias took some time out this week to put together some position rankings for the conference. Up first - running back and quarterback.
1. Pittsburgh – Ray Graham was leading the Big East Conference in rushing yards (958) last year when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in week eight. He still finished atop the yards per carry list with 5.8. Graham has not played since but is scheduled to be back at full health during training camp for his senior season. Zach Brown and Isaac Bennett finished the season with a combined 573 yards. Bennett returns but freshman sensation Rushel Shell will likely receive the most attention and carries behind Graham. If he stays healthy in head coach Paul Chryst’s run-first offense, Graham could contend for the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back.
No surprise there, obviously. Pitt's quarterbacks drew a lesser rating, though, coming in fourth.
4. Pittsburgh - Much like BJ Daniels, Tino Sunseri has seemingly been at Pittsburgh forever. He's taken a ton of criticism (and a ton of hits). Most of the criticism is justified, even for a quarterback that has been forced into different offenses each of the past three seasons. Sunseri is often erratic, holds on to the ball too long, and takes too many sacks. Still, I can't help but think that he's going to enjoy playing for Paul Chryst and Brooks Bollinger. Sunseri will be back in an offense that huddles, puts him mostly under center, and will mostly throw on bootlegs and play-action. All things that Sunseri has done comfortably in this three seasons at quarterback. It also helps Pitt that they signed a blue-chip star in Chad Voytik who will challenge Sunseri this year and likely take over next year. What has been a weakness in past seasons might finally be a strength in 2012.
Hard to argue with the rankings or even much of the analysis. The one thing I would question a bit, though, is how much Chad Voytik will push Sunseri much this season. The more I think about it, the more I just don't see it. I expect Sunseri to be better, and even if he falters, Voytik still would need to beat out Trey Anderson and Mark Myers. Neither has shown much of anything, to be honest, but they still have more experience than Voytik, who enters the fall as a true freshman with no game experience.
There's a chance that Voytik bucks the trend (or that the other options are all so bad) and plays right away, but I think it's probably a bit of a long shot. He'll stand a far better chance of competing in 2013 once Sunseri is gone.