The Big East has gotten creative in the absence of a conference championship game. With only eight teams (need 12), there can be no Big East Championship Game on a weekend the ACC, SEC and Big 12 are holding theirs. The Pac-10 scheduled the Oregon-Oregon State “Civil War” Saturday for the same reason six Big East teams tangled: relevance.
The human polls still count and in college football, out of sight, out of mind. With every league seeking higher BCS ratings going into the final decisions for bowl games, the Big East is at a serious disadvantage without a title game.
So instead, the league has in recent years scheduled match-ups against power teams on the final week of the season in hopes it will turn into de facto Big East Championship Games. The networks can then decide the timing to insure the greatest drama.
So… Pitt played in Cincinnati early, West Virginia hosted Rutgers mid-afternoon and then with a chance to clinch the league, UConn took on USF late.
Notice the two teams missing. The dregs of last year’s Big East: Syracuse and Louisville. Rutgers flopped all season (despite Craig James insistence to the contrary in the middle of WVU’s whitewash, “Greg Schiano is a terrific, smart football coach. He’s a great defensive mind“) and Cincy was no longer a league power, yet both were slated for action today because before the season they were deemed favorites.
For the Orange and Cardinals, there is no slap in the face quite like sitting on the sideline the final week of the season because the worst AQ conference in the nation deemed you not worthy. Because of the Orange resurgence this season, you can pencil SU into a game against Pitt, UConn, WVU or USF on the first Saturday in December, 2011.
But until then, use it as motivation ‘Cuse. The schedulers for the worst BCS conference in America thought you weren’t good enough to play on the final weekend. They were wrong.