Big East to Rest of Football: “Sorry…We’re Not Dead Yet”

Posted on Oct 2 2012 - 12:03pm by Nick Burch

Teddy Bridgewater Teddy Bridgewater #5 of the Louisville Cardinals celebrates a touchdown during the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on October 21, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Andrea Adelson, the Big East Blogger for ESPN.com, wrote a spot-on piece today on the misconceptions about the Big East. The league is supposed to be “dead.” West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck called the conference a “sinking ship.” Four teams (if you include TCU) have decided to leave the conference, and the Big East was completely tossed aside when discussions began for the future postseason of college football. All of this indicates the Big East is supposed to be flat-out awful. The only thing is…it isn’t.

Conference commissioners began to drop the term “big six” in favor of “power five” when discussing the leagues that should have a seat at the big boy table. Former Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas spoke for them all when he said the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten and SEC had separated themselves from the pack.

Well, how is this for separation?

Conference commissioners began to drop the term “big six” in favor of “power five” when discussing the leagues that should have a seat at the big boy table. Former Big 12 interim commissioner Chuck Neinas spoke for them all when he said the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12, Big Ten and SEC had separated themselves from the pack.

Well, how is this for separation?

The Big East has three undefeated teams through the first month of the season: No. 19 Louisville (5-0), No. 22 Rutgers (4-0) and Cincinnati (3-0 and ranked No. 23 in the coaches poll). Let us take a look around the country for a brief moment.

Do you know how many undefeated teams there are in the ACC?

One.

How about in the Big Ten?

Two, and one is ineligible for postseason play.
Next up, the Pac-12.

Two.

That is separation, all right. Big East separation.

The Big East has three teams ranked in the USA Today Top 25 poll. The Big 10 has two (although, Ohio State is excluded). The ACC has two. Which league is the terrible one again? Oh, right…the one ESPN and fellow critics says is terrible. Because everything they say is completely said without bias or any kind of ulterior motive.

The season could not have started off any better for the Big East. Not only are teams producing on the field, but new commissioner Mike Aresco has completely knocked it out of the park in a very short time. Due in part to his efforts, the Big East will be able to competet for a spot in a new playoff bowl (assuming the deal goes through) for the new playoff format in 2014. It does not have an automatic bid (the team will be chosen from the five non-BCS conferences, including the Big East, and the opponent, as suggested by CBS’ Dennis Dodd, will likely be a third or fourth place team from a power conference) and according to reports, the bowl game will be worth about a quarter of what the Rose Bowl and proposed Champions Bowl will be worth. Still, it is still something that gives the conference a chance in the postseason, and he has done more in his first month than previous Big East commissioner John Marinatto did in his entire tenure.

The league is not filled with no-name Cinderella types, either. There is some serious talent in this league, still. Teddy Bridgewater, as we all know, has been one of the best QBs in the nation thus far and has even generated a little Heisman buzz for himself (but died down a bit after the last two games). Munchie Legaux, the junior QB for Cincinnati, made a huge splash last weekend when he threw for 376 yards and 3 touchdowns against a strong Virginia Tech defense, one of which was a clutch 39-yard go-ahead TD with 13 seconds left to win the game. He is also capable of taking the ball himself, rushing for over 100 yards against Pittsburgh in week 1. Rutgers sophomore starting QB Gary Nova put a hurting on an embarrassing Arkansas team when he completed 71% of his passes for 397 yards and 5 touchdowns in a winning effort, and his teammate, undersized running back Jawan Jamison, has rushed for at least 110 yards in each game this season. These are just a few names who have stood out this season. It should not take anyone too much time to find more.

Adelson also touches on the idea that everyone assumes the Big East should be considered terrible due to the exodus of teams, but fails to look at the actual facts.

Nobody pointed to the bowl record. The Big East has the best postseason mark of any conference during the BCS era (43-27 for a .614 winning percentage).

Nobody pointed to the nonconference record? The Big East has won at least 60 percent of its nonleague games in each of the past six years.

Instead, they pointed to the teams leaving, and made irresponsible assertions that have tainted the perception surrounding the Big East. In the future playoff system, automatic qualifying designation has been dropped for all leagues. But that was really a clever way of stripping the Big East from its AQ status.

Why? The ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC have all secured themselves tie-ins to the elite level bowl games (Orange, Rose, and the Champions Bowl between Big 12 and SEC representatives). The Big East has nothing as we sit here today.

The early part of this season reveals the flaws in that logic. A conference like the Big Ten can feel secure knowing it will still be able to reward its champion even in a down season. The ACC is currently 3-4 against the Big East in real games this year, but that league gets a guaranteed spot in the Orange Bowl every year.

So, what does all this mean? Does it mean we are set and therefore should abandon aspirations to join the Big 12? No. The Big 12 still has the sex appeal that the Big East does not. It is already a given that the conference situation Louisville is in is affecting recruits’ decisions. Talking heads everywhere are suggesting it will affect Strong’s future at Louisville. The best move for Louisville is still the Big 12, and as Kirk Herbstreit said last week when he was in Louisville, we need to get out NOW. Unfortunately, and Kirk should know this, it is not as simple as packing up your bags and waving good bye. It is up to the Big 12 when and if it will expand, and if it does, it likely will not be any time soon. Therefore, there is a strong possibility Louisville will be in the Big East for the forseeable future. The good news is that it is not the football cemetary everyone in the media and their brother made it out to be.

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Big East to Rest of Football: “Sorry…We’re Not Dead Yet”, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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  1. FLCardsFan October 2, 2012 at 9:54 pm - Reply

    I’m curious to know if there’s any way that the Big East can still be included in the post season, and not this BS that has been proposed. I mean the 3 teams would have to finish strong with bowl wins included, but why would they exclude a conference that’s better than possibly 2 of the others that are included? Man I hope we win the conference and then go on to beat whomever in the Orange Bowl. I still think we can go undefeated because we’re going to get better as the year goes but its going to be tough to get that last W of the season. Can’t wait to hear the podcast!! Wish I was able to listen live from my smart phone!!!!

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  2. Heisenberg October 3, 2012 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    Is it fair? Not at all, not if you look at overall performance on the field. But the Big East is running low on tv "sex appeal" when it comes to teams that drawl in big tv viewers. The only hope the Big East has is bringing in a new tv contract that's at least close to the ACC deal. Hopefully Boise St and maybe BYU could do that? Reports have not been very favorable for the Big East.

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