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Conference Preview: The Big East

crystalballIn an effort to address all the teams and conferences that make the fall so exciting, OTP’s All-Star Editorial staff is putting on their prognosticatin’ hats and taking a stab at each of the conferences and all of the teams in FBS. Alan and Edge are giving you the conference’s order of finish, the records, the superlatives for offense and defense, and the biggest surprise for each conference. At the conclusion of our series, we’ll have the Bowl Projections for all 34 Bowl Games.

OTP Conference Preview: The Big East

bigeastfbcIt’s been an interesting half decade for the Big East Conference. They’ve endured movement, transition, compression, expansion, potentially losing their BCS bid, and the slings and arrows from any midmajor conference that wants a place at the BCS automatic qualifying table. Suffice to say the Big East is usually under a microscope, but fans point to the newly brought in teams and their growing success as one of the best things about the conference.

In 2004, Virginia Tech and Miami bid the Big East adieu with Boston College to follow in 2005. That cleared the way for Louisville, USF, Cincinnati and Connecticut, whom all have had their share of ups in the Big East. No one has exhibited the sort of dominance Miami did (9 championships in 13 seasons and 2 national titles) and conference parity has certainly made conference games late in the season ridiculously important. This year is certainly a down year for the Big East, as there is no real dominant teams, no real dominant players, and no one in the hunt for a national championship. That may not make for a national eye on the conference, but it will make for an exceptionally exciting fall.

Last 5 Conference Champions:
2008: Cincinnati
2007: West Virginia/Connecticut
2006: Louisville
2005: West Virginia
2004: BC/Pitt/Syracuse/WVU

Bowl Tie Ins:
The Big East Conference has seven bowl tie ins, up to six of which will choose a Big East school in any given year.[3]
#1- Bowl Championship Series. The Big East champion receives an automatic berth to a BCS bowl game. Unlike other conferences with automatic BCS qualifiers, the Big East champion is not tied to any specific BCS bowl, but is available to be selected by any BCS bowl game as the top-ranked “at-large” selection.
#2- The Gator Bowl and the Sun Bowl each have the right to the second selection from the Big East. The Gator Bowl has first choice between the second Big East selection and the fourth Big 12 selection. Should the Gator Bowl choose a Big 12 team, the second selection from the Big East falls to the Sun Bowl. The Gator and Sun Bowls also have the option of selecting Notre Dame, as long as Notre Dame is bowl eligible and not playing in a BCS bowl.
#3- The Meineke Car Care Bowl receives the third choice of Big East teams.
#4- The International Bowl receives the fourth choice of Big East teams.
#5- The PapaJohns.com Bowl receives the fifth choice of Big East teams. In years where the Big East does not have five bowl eligible teams, the Papajohns.com Bowl will select from the Sun Belt Conference instead.
#6- The St. Petersburg Bowl receives the sixth choice of Big East teams. In years where the Big East does not have six bowl eligible teams, the St. Petersburg Bowl will select from the Sun Belt Conference instead.

Alan’s Big East Predictions
Order of Finish:
Cincinnati: 9-3 (6-1) – League Champion, BCS Representative
Pittsburgh: 8-4 (5-2)
West Virginia: 8-4 (5-2)
South Florida: 8-4 (5-2)
Connecticut: 6-6 (3-4)
Rutgers: 6-6 (2-5)
Syracuse: 3-9 (1-6)
Louisville: 3-9 (1-6)

League MVP: Tony Pike, QB, Cincinnati
Offensive MVP: Matt Grothe, QB, South Florida
Defensive MVP: Greg Romeus, DE, Pittsburgh

Biggest Surprise This Season: The biggest surprise in the Big East this season will be the resurgence of Tony Pike as a great option at QB for the Bearcats. He’ll need to be for the Bearcats to win another BCS title… as the UC defense and their lack of experience may very well cause Pike and the offense to have to simply outscore everyone.

Edge’s Big East Predictions
Order of Finish:
Pittsburgh: 10-2 (6-1) – League Champion, BCS Representative
West Virginia: 10-2 (6-1)
Rutgers: 9-3 (5-2)
Cincinnati: 8-4 (5-2)
South Florida: 5-7 (2-5)
Louisville: 4-8 (2-5)
Connecticut: 4-8 (2-5)
Syracuse: 2-10 (0-7)

League MVP: Mardy Gilyard, Cincinnati
Offensive MVP: Noel Devine, WVU
Defensive MVP: George Selvie, USF

Biggest Surprise This Season: West Virginia has it locked up until week 13 when Pittsburgh takes away their conference champion hopes and their top 25 ranking. And the Wannstache does not call the next day like he promises.

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5 Responses

  1. I think Rutgers goes 11-1; WVU 10-2, and Cincinnati and Pitt both 9-3.

  2. Cinny loses their entire defense, all of it. They will finish middle, lower to the pack in the BE.

    Rutgers won’t beat a team with a winning record all year.

  3. I agree with palatine. Cincy ain’t gonna win the BE title with the defense that they have this year. Also don’t look for Pitt to beat WV 3 in a row without a great running back. WVU defense will shut down their running game with Reed Williams healthy. WVU wins BE title this year.

  4. Uconn will have a losing record in conference and overall.

    RU & WVU & Pitt: If RU is able to get average QB and WR play they have a shot at the league title. If WVU can answer questions about the new line, then they have a shot too. Pitt has to replace the running game and the QB has to step up. Without it Pitt is still never the top becuase of their defense.

    USF: too many questions for the line that has gotten thinner with some non-qualifiers able to make it to school. Lack of a running will continue to hurt them. Still they have more than enough talent to stay above the bottome half of the league.

    UC: 10 starters MUST be replace and I don’t care how much experience they have coming back it’s different as starters and chemistry will be an issue. Their offense is good, but not out of this world

    Uconn: 112th ranked passing game that loss the QB, TE, and top receiver (RB) who happened to be the entire running game too. The defense has to replace 4 starters (a replacement starter for a departed starter has been dismissed-so it’s 5 now) who accounted for 75% of the Sacks/TFL & INT.

    ‘Ville & SU: repeat of last year… enough said.

  5. How can anyone pick Pitt to win the BE with Stull as the starting QB, and LeSean McCoy and Howlings gone? Great defense but you still have to score points 3-0 bowl game ring a bell. I’d rather be WVU or RU with a brand new QB and and quality running backs.

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