Bulls picked to finish second in Big East
USF, which rose to No. 2 in the nation last season before finishing 4-3 in conference play, even picked up a first-place vote, though West Virginia is a nearly unanimous favorite, chosen first on 22 of 24 ballots. Pittsburgh, hoping to build on last season's upset of the Mountaineers, is third, with a single first-place vote.
It's the third consecutive year USF has moved up in the preseason poll, having been picked seventh in Newport in 2005, fifth in 2006 and fourth last season. USF has finished 4-3 in each of its three Big East seasons, tieing for either third or fourth place in the final standings.
The poll sets up USF's biggest conference games as its first and last of the season -- the Bulls open league play at home against Pittsburgh on Thursday, Oct. 2, and finish at West Virginia on Dec. 6. Rutgers was picked fourth, with Cincinnati edging Connecticut for fifth place.
The Huskies, who certainly got some breaks in sharing the league crown in 2007, got little respect in sixth place. Louisville, after being picked second a year ago and struggling under first-year coach Steve Kragthorpe, is seventh, while Syracuse was picked last on all 24 ballots.
Again, for full disclosure, here's a link to my own ballot in this poll. Comparing it to the poll itself, I put Connecticut third, but otherwise had the teams in their projected order of finish. Remember, last year's standings included four teams who went either 5-2 or 4-3, putting half the league within a single win of a share of first place.
Thoughts about the Bulls being picked second? Comments? Expectations? What team will finish farthest from their projected finish here?
(pic is courtesy of the Big East; just trying to prove I was there)