Athlon continues its expansive off-season college football countdown and their latest piece is a ranking of every offensive line in the 6 BCS conferences. Last night they released their Big East predictions and Louisville checks in at #2, behind only South Florida. Last year the offensive line was an inconsistent weakness for much of the first half of the season as the team had to overcome numerous injuries, the incorporation of young and inexperienced players, all while learning to gel and form chemistry and timing on the fly. By the middle part of the season, things quickly began to turn around and the previously undisciplined and penalty-plagued unit began to come together to form one of the best lines in the Big East. This year, with an experienced blend of veterans like Mario Benavides and Alex Kupper along with younger guys like Jamon Brown and John Miller that have also been through through the wars, the offensive line looks to build upon its late season success from last year and form one of the best units in the conference.
2. Louisville – This group struggled to match its 2010 performance last year, but there’s plenty to like about the Cardinals going into 2012. Senior Mario Benavides missed the first three games of last year due to injury and the line never seemed to jell as a result. With Benavides at full strength and another spring practice under its belt, Louisville’s offensive line is poised to to rank among the conference’s best. Alex Kupper started all 13 games last season and will anchor the left side of the line at tackle. John Miller started 10 games as a freshman in 2011 and could contend for All-Big East honors this year. Sophomores Jake Smith (right guard) and Jamon Brown (tackle) will hold down the right side. The Cardinals allowed 41 sacks last season, but that number should be cut in half in 2012.