Predicted order of finish according to the Big East preseason media poll:

1. West Virginia

A league-high 17 starters, including two-year starting quarterback Rasheed Marshall, return to defend last season's conference championship, which was the second in school history.

2. Boston College

The Eagles have appeared in a school-record five straight bowl games, but sophomore Jeff Ross is the only running back on the team who has carried the ball in a college game.

3. Pittsburgh

Sure, the Panthers lost Heisman Trophy runner-up Larry Fitzgerald to the NFL, but look for senior wideout Princell Brockenbrough (35 catches for 616 yards last season) to emerge as a star at the same position.

4. Syracuse

Walter Reyes may have to exceed his 1,347-yard rushing total from last season, because the Orange will start a quarterback -- Xzavier Gaines or Perry Patterson -- with minimal college experience.

5. Connecticut

Senior quarterback Dan Orlovsky (3,485 yards and 33 touchdowns last year) gives the Huskies some much-needed experience entering their first season as a full member of the Big East.

6. Rutgers

Finally, there's hope for a long-awaited turnaround: Junior quarterback Ryan Hart returns after breaking the school record for passing yards (2,714) and completions (234) last season.

7. Temple

Walter Washington, a speedy, run-oriented quarterback, has the Owls optimistic they can improve on last season, when they failed to win a conference game.