NEWPORT, R.I. - The University of Pittsburgh football team has been chosen as the favorite to win the BIG EAST in the league's annual preseason media poll released Tuesday, as part of the conference's summer kickoff at the Viking Hotel.
Pitt received 22 of a possible 24 first place votes and 190 total points to lead the other seven league schools. Others receiving first place votes were West Virginia with one (142 total points) and Connecticut with one (131 total points). West Virginia and Cincinnati tied for second in projections with 142 total points each.
This season marks the second time in Big East history, and the second consecutive year, that the Panthers have been chosen to win the conference title.
Pitt returns 13 starters from last season's 10-3 team that finished second in the Big East and claimed a 19-17 bowl win at the Meineke Car Care bowl over North Carolina. Highlighting the Panthers' returnees and representing Pitt at the Big East media days are All-America candidates in wide receiver Jon Baldwin (Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa), defensive back Dom DeCicco (Jefferson Hills, Pa./Thomas Jefferson), running back Dion Lewis (Albany, N.Y./Blair Academy (N.J.), offensive lineman Jason Pinkston (Pittsburgh, Pa./Baldwin) and defensive lineman Greg Romeus (Miami, Fla./Coral Glades).
Rank/Team Pts. 1. Pitt (22) 190 2. Cincinnati 142 West Virginia (1) 142 4. Connecticut (1) 131 5. Rutgers 99 6. USF 79 7. Syracuse 41 8. Louisville 40