NCAA football betting odds makers have made Pitt the favorite but West Virginia, South Florida, UConn, Rutgers, and Cincinnati are also college football gambling contenders.
The Pitt Panthers enter the 2010 season having blown the Big East title to Cincinnati last year as they led the Bearcats 31-10 at home before suffering a heartbreaking 44-45 setback to ruin their chance for a BCS Bowl.
Pitt returns only 5 starters on offense and 6 on defense but coach Dave Wannstedt has recruited well and replacements are talented. The schedule is tough with road games at Utah, Notre Dame, UConn, South Florida and Cincinnati and home games against Miami-FL and West Virginia.
The West Virginia Mountaineers are an excellent alternative to Pitt as they have 16 starters back but do have to break in sophomore quarterback Geno Smith. Noel Devine ran for 1549 yards and returns as a 1st team Big East performer. Bill Stewart has gone 9-4 in each of his first 2 seasons as coach.
Cincinnati lost head coach Brian Kelly to Notre Dame after he led them to a 12-0 regular season. New coach Butch Jones has 7 starters back on offense and just 5 on defense.
Junior quarterback Zach Collaros saw plenty of critical playing time to gain valuable experience and the Bearcats will again have an explosive offense that will make them appealing with the NCAA odds.
A team to watch as a potential surprise in the Big East is South Florida under new coach Skip Holtz, who replaces the program’s founding father Jim Leavitt, who was accused of player abuse.
Holtz won back to back titles at East Carolina and inherits a talented team that returns 10 starters on offense led by sophomore quarterback BJ Daniels, who ran for 1029 yards and passed for 1983 more. This is a team that reached a plateau under Leavitt and yet has plenty of potential.
Connecticut may have a breakout season under 12 year coach Randy Edsall as 16 starters return to a program that has bowled 3 straight years. UConn finished 8-5 and had 4 excruciating close losses. This is a team that could bring plenty of value with the college football lines.
Rutgers has bowled 5 straight years but has not reached the level of their epic 2006 season when they went 11-2. The Scarlet Knights return 12 starters and a promising sophomore quarterback in Tom Savage who was a freshman starter. A tough schedule may be a NCAA football betting problem for Rutgers.