A capsule look at the teams in predicted order of finish:
1. WEST VIRGINIA — Pat McAfee made 11 of 18 field goals as a freshman. ... Pat White didn't get his first start until the eighth game of the 2005 season. He finished with 952 rushing yards, breaking the school record by a quarterback of 936 yards set by Major Harris in 1989. ... Steve Slaton scored 19 TDs last season and set a single-game school record with six against Louisville.
2. LOUISVILLE — Nine starters return on defense, but all-American Elvis Dumervil is off to the NFL. The Cardinals also lost leading tackler Brandon Johnson at linebacker. ... Sophomore Mario Urrutia and junior Harry Douglas will look for more catches with the departures of Joshua Tinch and Montrell Jones, who combined for 110 receptions and 1,429 yards. ... Brian Brohm is returning from a right knee injury that ended his season in November. ... Michael Bush needs 819 yards and eight rushing TDs to set school records.
3. PITTSBURGH — The Panthers went 5-6 in coach Dave Wannstedt's first season, considered one of the most disappointing in school history. ... Greg Lee, the league's top receiver as a junior, declared for the NFL draft but wasn't selected. ... Junior college transfer Lowell Robinson, who returned three of his seven interceptions for touchdowns in 2005, has been moved to wide receiver.
4. RUTGERS — Sophomore Mike Teel is expected to take over for QB Ryan Hart, the school's career passing leader. The Knights have a solid 1-2 ground game in TB Ray Rice (1,120 yards, 5 TDs) and FB Brian Leonard (740, 11). Leonard needs 19 points to become the leading scorer in school history. ... The Knights' 45-40 loss to Arizona State in the Insight Bowl was their first bowl appearance since 1978.
5. SOUTH FLORIDA — Sophomore Ricky Ponton (373 yards, 2 TDs) is the likely candidate to replace departed Big East rushing leader Andre Hall. ... The Bulls return 15 starters from the team went to the Meineke Car Care Bowl in their ninth season of existence, losing to North Carolina State. ... Along with Louisville and Cincinnati, the Bulls are entering their second year in the league.
6. CONNECTICUT — Junior LB Danny Lansanah heads a defense that was the stingiest in the Big East with 297 yards per game. ... The Huskies had three starting QBs last year and their first losing season since becoming a full Division I-A program.. ... UConn recently opened new practice facilities, replacing a small 50-year-old building and a doublewide trailer that acted as a coaches' meeting room.
7. CINCINNATI — Sophomore Dustin Grutzka was fourth among league quarterbacks last season with 1,799 yards passing but tied with two others with a league-worst 11 interceptions. ... Five freshmen started on defense last year when the Bearcats surrendered a league-worst 31 points per game. ... Cincinnati plays seven teams that went to bowls in 2005.
8. SYRACUSE — Under first-year coach Greg Robinson, the Orange suffered the first 10-loss season in 116 years of football. ... Following two defections, Brian White was hired as offensive coordinator, and Phil Earley as the new quarterbacks coach. ... Must replace three of five starters on the offensive line. ... The defense ranked 21st nationally against the pass last season.