Big East Media Day 2011: The LobsterFest Contenders

via blog.syracuse.com

Every season, we set goals.  Most of those goals are on the field of play.  They involve trophies and helmet stickers and Bones and pats on the butt from Doug Marrone.

But we also have off-the-field goals.  Sure, many of them are academic in nature.  But others are about nature itself.  The never-ending battle between man and creature.  Human and crustacean.  Hunger and stomach-wall-lining strength.

Big East Media Day is August 2nd.  But we all know that's just the appetizer for the main course.  Lobster.  Lots and lots of lobster.  And for Syracuse's football players, the goal could not be clearer.  Eat them.  Eat them all.  Eat them all to HELL.

The Orange will trot out four claw-crackers for the event, as well as noted competitive-eater Doug Marrone. Do any of them have what it takes to walk away from the weekend with their names in the record books? Here's what they're up against...

Syracuse School Lobster-Eating Record: 7, Ryan Durand (2008)

Big East Lobster-Eating Record: 9*, Brian Leonard, Rutgers (2008)

*unconfirmed

2008 was the Golden Age of Mass Lobster Consumption, but something tells me we're about to enter a Renaissance.  A greasy, butter-soaked Renaissance.  So who's going to make it happen? Let's take a look at not only the Syracuse players but the Big East foes most likely to get it done as well.

Cincinnati

Honestly, I'm pretty sure Cincy's not even trying. They might as well just sit at the bar and sip Mai Tais all night.

Pretenders: QB Zach Collaros didn't get it done last year, he won't get it done this year. Same with LB JK Schaffer, who disappointed once before.

Contenders: None.

Connecticut

An OL and a DT headline a line-up that could end up stealing the show. And the butter sauce.

Pretenders: CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson and WR Kashif Moore bring a lot of speed but not a lot of stomach-space.

Contenders: DT Kendall Reyes brings speed, power and girth to the table while OL Moe Petrus has to be considered one of the favorites.

Louisville

Wisely, the Cardinals double their line-up from 2 to 4 to increase the odds. But do they have what it takes to crack those shells?

Pretenders:K Chris Philpott is just happy to be here while RB Vic Anderson has breakawayability but not as much claw-breaking ability.

Contenders: TE Josh Chicester isn't bulk but he's extremely tall, providing lots of room for growth. DE Greg Scruggs might have to carry this team on his back, while eating.

Pitt

A year after bringing five stomachs, the Panthers settle on three. But are they the right three for a lobster-eating spree?

Pretenders: DB Jared Holley and WR Mike Shanahan just don't belong in a competition like this.

Contenders: DL Myles Caragein is the Panther to beat. He could store a lobster each in those tree trunks he calls legs.

Rutgers

For the second year in a row, Schiano proves he just doesn't understand how to gameplan for a LobsterFest. Typical Jersey attitude...

Pretenders: Between the two of them, maybe RB Joe Martinek and DB David Rowe will be able to equal one of the big linemen.

Contenders: None.

South Florida

Skip Holtz cuts down his list of attendees and might be putting all his lobster roe in one basket.

Pretenders:Enjoy your side salad, CB Quenton Washington.

Contenders: OL Jeremiah Warren brings size, athleticism and an appetite for destruction. Lobsters steam themselves at the mere mention of his presence.

Syracuse

The Orange are bringing the numbers this year. Again, the question is not how many stomachs but are they the right stomachs?

Pretenders: QB Ryan Nassib has a huge noggin but not a big tummy. RB Antwon Bailey can out-run a lobster (thank God) but he's no power-eating-back.

Contenders: Possibly the best 1-2 punch in the competition is DEs Chandler Jones and Mikhail Marinovich. These two big boys have been eating together for years now, which puts them at an advantage and lobsters at an extreme disadvantage.

West Virginia

The Mountaineers bring a trio of eaters but only one seems likely to crack some claws.

Pretenders: QB Geno Smith and CB Keith Tandy might as well not bother. They should just be ready to help their teammate with anything he needs.

Contenders: DE Bruce Irvin brings athleticism and speed along with a huge frame. He could pack away four lobsters before you even notice.

---------

And so, after careful consideration, here's how I see things playing out. 

2010 LobsterFest Champion: Moe Petrus, UConn (8)

2nd Place: Myles Caragein, Pitt (7)

3rd Place: Chandler Jones, SU (6.5)

4th Place: Bruce Irvin, WVU (6)

5th Place: Jeremiah Warren, USF (6)

You may now place your bets...

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