Life in the Slow Lane

January 2, 2009

Big East holds its own in football bowls

Filed under: Sports — pauljlane @ 12:44 pm

OK, Bill, you want more posting? Here ya go.

While it’s sort of depressing that my Syracuse Orange can’t earn one of the six bowl bids available in the eight-team Big East, the hard-luck football conference is doing itself proud this bowl season.

Big East teams are 3-2 in the 2008 bowl season, with UConn wrapping up conference action in Saturday’s International Bowl against the University at Buffalo in Toronto.

South Florida’s 41-14 pasting of C-USA’s Memphis might not carry much weight, but two Big East squads have beaten two ACC teams — the conference that supposedly was to lead to the Big East’s demise when it stole Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech a few years ago; West Virginia bested North Carolina 31-30, while Rutgets topped NC State 29-23.

Granted, ACC champ Virginia Tech bested Big East winner Cincinnati 20-7, and Pittsburgh lost what might have been the worst bowl game played in its 3-0 defeat at the hands of Oregon State, but the Big Eas’s 3-2 record is fifth among the 12 conferences (including independents lumped together) that sent teams to bowls (UB’s Mid-American Conference is the worst with an 0-3 record, while the Pac-10 is 5-0).

The Big East might never again reach its pinnacle of a decade ago, when Donovan McNabb-led Orange squads fought tooth and nail with Miami and Va Tech for conference supremacy. But South Florida’s resurgence and Cincinnati’s sudden upswing help solidify the conference’s status amongst its BCS peers.

For the Big East to truly thrive, it needs the Orange – a traditional Big East power since the conference started playing football in the early 1990s – to thrive, as well as mainstays Pitt and West Virginia. I’ll tell you this much, though – I’d take the Big East’s chances against “powers” the Big Ten (1-5 this bowl season) and the ACC (4-6) any day.

And even if football disappoints, no one would dare step up to the Big East on the basketball court.

Conference Bowl Records
By The Associated Press
Through Jan. 1
• Pac-10;5;0;1.000
• Big 12;3;1;.750
• Conference USA;3;1;.750
• Southeastern;3;1;.750
• Big East;3;2;.600
• Mountain West;2;2;.500
• Independents;1;1;.500
• Sun Belt;1;1;.500
• Atlantic Coast;4;6;.400
• Western Athletic;1;4;.200
• Big Ten;1;5;.167
• Mid-American;0;3;.000


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