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September 5, 2012
The Matchup: Quarterback
No matter how you look at it the matchup Thursday night between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh can go a long way towards finding a Big East champion come December.
Though South Florida and Louisville have been tossed around by most as the front-runners for the championship, Cincinnati and Pitt are two programs that should not be taken lightly.
The quarterback spot usually is the deciding factor. South Florida and Louisville have the likes of B.J. Daniels and Teddy Bridgewater respectively, yet Cincinnati and Pitt have their own upperclassman quarterbacks that with consistency can take their team far.
On Cincinnati's side behind center is Munchie Legaux. The New Orleans native, who recently was paid a visit from his favorite player, Drew Brees, is entering his first full season as the starting quarterback for the Bearcats.
The 6'5" slinger has the size and tools than can enable the Bearcat faithful to get excited about another hot commodity behind center in the 513.
Cincinnati Rivals Analyst, Andrew Force, spoke very highly on Legaux. "He is kind of like a Vince Young. He is 6'5" with a great arm; he might not be as durable, but he can run for several yards and pick up a first down and also make a solid throw. However, he has to be a lot more consistent on his production. It is going to be an adventure!"
Force also pointed out that the Cincinnati staff tried to make the quarterback spot a competition in training camp between the junior and longtime back-up, Brendon Kay. Kay is a Michigan native and entering his senior season, has only attempted eight career passes.
However, the face of the program moving forward seems to be Legaux as he can be seen on many of the various media guides and press pamphlets.
On the Pitt side of the ball, the pigskin has been handed to Tino Sunseri for the third straight year. The Pittsburgh native has never been one to garner much fanfare, but he is now in a more suitable offense. Pitt Rivals analyst, Josh Sickles, gave his thoughts on the position and the outlook for the year.
"Sunseri is serviceable enough to get the job done, but he is not going to be anything spectacular. He has a very strong arm, but he is not nearly accurate enough in this stage of his game."
Sickles went on to speak about the transition back to the pro-style offense.
"The change back to the pro-style offense allows for Sunseri to hide some of his inabilities in passing the ball. He is a solid quarterback, yet not solid enough to put the team on his back."
In the 2010 matchup, Sunseri passed for 158 yards, and during his junior campaign, he allotted for 284 total yards (with 64 of the yards coming on the ground and finding the end zone on two separate occasions).
As much as the Legaux intrigues me, it is still his first season-opening start, compared to Sunseri who has already thrown for over 5,000 yards in his career at Pitt. The fans and media don't seem to like Sunseri as he has caused many headaches throughout the past few years behind center. However, the experience and familiarity that Sunseri has with his teammates, along with already having a game under his belt for the 2012 season gives the end towards Pitt for Thursday's matchup.