Of the "Power 6" conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-10, and SEC), the Big East as of late has brought up the rear. West Virginia spent a few seasons in the national spotlight, when they were led by Pat White, and Steve Slaton. They are gone. Rutgers made a magical run the past couple years with Mike Teel, Ray Rice, and Tiquan Underwood. All gone.
Last year, Cincinnati surprised many by capturing the Big East title. West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Rutgers finished a game out. This year, in an incredibly close preseason media poll, Pittsburgh was selected to top the conference. That is more of a product of the lack of any elite team in the conference. The difference between first place Pitt and fifth place Rutgers was only 35 points, and the top four teams all received multiple first place votes. Third place Cincinnati received three more first place votes than second place West Virginia. If you like parity, check out the Big East this season.
Big East Football Preseason Media Poll
- Pittsburgh (8)
- West Virginia (5)
- Cincinnati (8)
- USF (3)
Find a TV for these games:
West Virginia at Auburn - Sept. 19: The BIg East could earn some national cred if the Mountaineers travel to Auburn and steal a game from War Eagle. I said they could.
- South Florida at Florida State - Sept. 26: Big non-conference game in Tallahassee.
- South Florida vs. West Virginia - Oct. 30: It seems like everyone is sleeping on South Florida. And doesn't it seem like their quarterback Matt Grothe has been there for seven years? How many years of eligibility are they giving out in Tampa?
- Rutgers vs. South Florida - Nov. 12: Big game on the road for USF. Rutgers coach Greg Schiano gets the Scarlet Knights ready to play in Jersey.
West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh - Nov. 27: The Backyard Brawl. If the preseason media poll holds true, this game will decide the Big East title.
Rutgers vs. West Virginia - Dec. 5: If West Virginia trips up this season (say, against South Florida?), this may have some huge conference implications.
The Big East has seven bowl tie ins, and up to six will choose a Big East team to participate. The Gator Bowl and the Sun Bowl both have the right to the second Big East team. The Gator Bowl, however, gets to select first between the Big East #2 and the Big 12 #4.
- Gator Bowl
- Sun Bowl
- Meineke Car Care Bowl
- International Bowl
- PapaJohns.com Bowl
- St. Petersburg Bowl
The Big East is down. Anyone who follows college football knows this. They desperately need a big year, from one of their teams, any of their teams. Pitt was #1 in the preseason, but they have to replace LaSean McCoy. West Virginia has Noel Devine, but no Pat White. Cincinnati won last year, but they have to replace 10 starters on defense. Thanks for playing, Cincinnati. Look for South Florida to climb the Big East this year, especially with defensive end George Selvie returning, as well as quarterback Matt Grothe (seriously, that guy is still there?).
Come back tomorrow for the Big Ten preview.