Hokies Selected To Finish Second In BIG EAST Football Championship
The Beat
July 26, 2001

2001 BIG EAST Football
Preseason Media Poll

(first place votes in parentheses)
Rank Team Points
1. Miami (21) 188.5
2. Virginia Tech (3) 170
3. Pittsburgh 127.5
4. Boston College 107
5. Syracuse 104
6. West Virginia 81
7. Temple 58
8. Rutgers 28
East Rutherford, N.J. - The University of Miami has been selected to win the BIG EAST Championship in 2001 based on a poll of media representatives who cover the league on a regular basis. It marks the seventh time in nine years (since round-robin play began in 1993) that the Hurricanes have been the preseason favorite to win the crown.

Miami, the defending BIG EAST Champion, received 21 of 24 first-place votes. The ĪCanes return three All-America selections from 2000, including a consensus choice in senior safety Edward Reed. UM has seven All-BIG EAST First Team honorees back from a year ago and 14 starters overall. Eight of them are on a defensive unit that finished fifth nationally in scoring defense in 2000.

Projected to finish second is Virginia Tech. The Hokies are led on the defensive side of the ball by nine returning starters. Leading the way on offense is the nation's leading scorer from a year ago, running back Lee Suggs. The junior set BIG EAST single-season scoring records with 168 points and 28 touchdowns last season. Tech is coming off back-to-back 11-1 seasons.

Pittsburgh was chosen to finish third. The Panthers will look to the 2000 Biletnikoff Award winner - wideout Antonio Bryant. He led the nation in receiving last season (130.2 ypg), setting a conference record in the process. Pittsburgh also brings back 10 starters on defense. The third-place prediction marks the highest ever for UP in the BIG EAST preseason poll. Boston College was chosen fourth for the second year in a row. Junior running back William Green, an All-BIG EAST First Team choice, will lead the Eagles.

Syracuse was selected fifth. The Orangemen feature senior defensive end Dwight Freeney, the league's sack leader (13.0) from last season. He has recorded at least one sack in eight straight games. West Virginia, picked for sixth, is fresh off its first bowl victory since 1984. The Mountaineers welcome new head coach Rich Rodriguez.

Temple and Rutgers round out the poll at seventh and eighth. The Owls return all but two starters from last season. Senior linebacker Taylor Suman leads the group. He is the BIG EAST's top returning tackler with 110 total stops last year. Rutgers mentor Greg Schiano takes command at Rutgers. The RU defense brings back 13 of its top 15 tacklers from a year ago.