Miami Selected To Win BIG EAST Football Championship
Hokies selected to finish second.
July 27, 2000

East Rutherford, N.J. - The University of Miami has been selected to win the BIG EAST Championship in 2000 based on a poll of media representatives who cover the league on a regular basis. It marks the sixth time since round-robin play began in 1993 that the Hurricanes have been the preseason favorite to win the crown.

Miami received 15 of 24 first-place votes. The 'Canes return seven players who earned All-BIG EAST honors a year ago. Eight of 11 starters are back on defense, led by linebacker Dan Morgan. The senior has recorded over 100 tackles each of the last three years, only the second UM player (Micheal Barrow, 1990-92) to accomplish the feat.

Predicted to finish second is Virginia Tech. The defending BIG EAST Champion, the Hokies garnered the other nine first-place votes and were six points behind Miami. Leading the way for Tech is 1999 BIG EAST Offensive Player and Rookie of the Year Michael Vick. The sophomore quarterback is the nation's top returning Heisman Trophy candidate after finishing third in the voting last season. The Hokies led the NCAA in scoring in '99 and return eight of 11 starters from that offense.

Syracuse, fresh off a victory over Kentucky in the Music City Bowl, was picked third. Senior defensive end Duke Pettijohn leads the Orangemen after finishing tied for second in the BIG EAST in sacks with 10.5. Boston College was chosen fourth. The Eagles bring back 13 starters from a team that made its first bowl appearance since 1994.

Pittsburgh was selected fifth. The Panthers feature one of the nation's top wideout combinations in senior Latef Grim and sophomore Antonio Bryant. Grim set a single-season BIG EAST record last year with 75 receptions. West Virginia, picked for sixth, will look to BIG EAST rushing champion Avon Cobourne to lead its return to the postseason after a one-year hiatus. The sophomore running back was 16th nationally last year with 113.9 rushing yards per game.

Temple and Rutgers round out the poll at seventh and eighth. The Owls will be led by a talented trio of linebackers in senior LeVar Talley and juniors Taylor Suman and Chonn Lacey. Suman and Taylor were second and fifth, respectively, in the BIG EAST in tackles in '99. Senior quarterback Mike McMahon is expected to return for the Scarlet Knights after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in the fifth game of last season. The signal-caller is in the top 10 on several RU career passing lists.

(first place votes in parentheses)

Rank Team Points
1. Miami (15) 183
2. Virginia Tech (9) 177
3. Syracuse 134
4. Boston College 109
5. Pittsburgh 100
6. West Virginia 85
7. Temple 48
8. Rutgers 28