The Big East in the BCS Debate – What Have You Done For Me Lately? A Lot, Actually…

Read the debate intro and Loyal Homer’s argument that the Big East is not good enough to warrant an automatic BCS bowl big.



Let me clear the air right now with a very definitive statement – The Big East is one of the six best conferences in college football.

First, a note to Loyal Homer: One team does not a conference make! As an SEC fan, you should have known better than to argue otherwise. The SEC is not considered a conference favorite because of just one team. Instead, the success of LSU, Florida, and a cheating Alabama have propelled the SEC into the recent limelight.

To place the worth of the entire Big East on the shoulders of their preseason favorite, who just didn’t live up to expectations last season, is a misguided argument (although West Virginia still finished the season at 9-4 and ranked in the top 25 – not exactly a disappointment).

By your standards, I guess you would also argue that the SEC should not be allowed an automatic BCS bid. Their top preseason team last year, the Georgia Bulldogs, was ranked number one in the nation, but did not live up to expectations. Instead, they finished outside of the top 10 with a meager 10-3 record, only one game better than the “pitiful” Mountaineers (who, by the way, had a new head coach and lost star running back Steve Slaton).

The question today is not about the preseason favorite within the Big East. It is about whether or not the Big East is still one of college football’s top SIX conferences, and whether or not it still deserves an automatic BCS bid every year.

Sports Geek, in raising the question, brings up several interesting points, and claims they point to a “fall from grace” for the Big East. Those points include the departures of Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College to the ACC, only to be replaced by the University of South Florida, Cincinnati, and Louisville.

With all due respect to our esteemed judge for this debate… Sports Geek could not be more wrong.

To begin, it is laughable to say that the Big East misses Miami right now! Consider that ‘The U’ (since leaving the Big East) has not finished better than 7-6 since 2005, actually posted a losing record in 2007, and lost to the only top 25 team they played last year (a blow-out against the Florida Gators). That is not exactly a boast-worthy performance, and I’m sure the ACC isn’t hanging any Hurricane performances on their refrigerator right now.

As for the Big East’s replacements, let’s consider what they’ve done which actually ADDS to the Big East’s credibility:

  • South Florida – In 2008, they defeated #13 Kansas, and were undefeated in inter-conference play. They finished the season at 8-5, which is a better record than Miami and is just slightly less impressive than the results of Boston College (9-5) and Virginia Tech (10-4).
  • Louisville – In 2006, Louisville finished the season ranked in the top 10 with a record of 12-1, their only loss coming by way of a then-undefeated Rutgers, also a Big East team.
  • Cincinnati – Finished in the top 25 in 2007 AND 2008, posting records of 10-3 and 11-3 respectively.

I would consider each of those performances upgrades over Miami!

As for the rest of the Big East, here are some other points to consider:

  • Bowl Eligibility – Out of the eight teams in the conference, six of them were bowl eligible in 2008! That’s 75% of the conference! No other BCS-conference can make that statement, as the Pac-10 (50% made bowl appearances), Big XII (58%), Big Ten (63%), SEC (67%), and ACC (67%) all had much lower participation rates!
  • Bowl Performances – The Big East turned in a very impressive bowl record of 4-2 last year! That’s a greater win percentage than the ACC (2-6), the Big Ten (1-6), and the Big XII (4-3). In fact, only the Pac-10 (5-0) and SEC (6-2) turned in better bowl performances than the Big East last year.

The fact remains that the Big East produced a greater percentage of winning records than any other conference in college football, and performed better than all but two conferences in bowl play.

Based on those statements, a non-BCS conference in college football cannot argue they are more deserving of an automatic BCS bid than the Big East.

On the other hand, perhaps the ACC should be a little worried!!!

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4 Responses to The Big East in the BCS Debate – What Have You Done For Me Lately? A Lot, Actually…

  1. seezy says:

    The fact that WVA lost steve slaton was supposed to be a moot point since they had Noel Devine. Plus, Steve Slaton peaked early in his WVA career. However, Bill Stewart is a huge dropoff from Rich Rodriguez. WVA allowed a bowl win to blind them from making a good hire.

    South Florida is the #2 program in the state of Florida. Miami, Florida State, and Notre Dame are the poster children of big programs gone bad following the increased parody of college football. If you’re not the only game on tv each week, no one cares about you anymore.

    Louisville has a reputation of scooping up talented skill players from the south, whose academic problems led to them not being highly recruited by SEC schools. Steve Kragthorpe is on that hot seat.

    Dave Wannstedt is also continuously on that hot seat. Heck, he played Tyler Palko over Joe Flacco. Pitt can thank Larry Fitzgerald and Mark May’s exposure for allowing them to be relevant. Plus they have good looking jerseys.

    I don’t mind seeing the Big East in the BCS, but it’s hard to argue an undefeated Big East team is better than a 1 loss team in other conferences.

  2. seezy says:

    I don’t think it’s what they have done. But who else would you give it too?

    Would you go 3 at-large bids? Odds are the conference winner gets one anyway.

    • Sports Geek says:

      Good point, but not necessarily. Last year, for example, three Big 12 teams (Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Texas) would have earned a trip to the BCS, two of them at large. That would leave only Utah as the third and final at-large team (according to this system). I think it is reasonable to conclude that it is very possible that the Big East will not even be included in the BCS some years.

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