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



  1. Paul,

    Nothing is more overrated than college football bowl games. These teams are built to win conference championships, not national championships – that becomes an issue.

    The Big Ten won’t ever do well in bowl games again because of the way Big Ten football is played. The Big Ten is all about slow, cold weather, hardnosed football. It can’t stack up against the SEC…especially in 80 degree weather.

    Why is the Pac-10 doing so well? That conference airs it out so much. It takes longer for passing games to get on track. When the “weak” Pac-10 is losing games, it is losing them early, when they havent worked out their kinks yet. Not to mention…the non-conference games post the same West to East issues that the NFL experienced this season. (ie. The Thought Arizona and SD stunk, but then see them play lights out football at home today)

    This is the same reason I argue every year that the SEC is so overrated. They play non conference games in their own conditions…early in the season…and then conference games at home in their own conditions. The Big Ten/Big East etc can’t have these same advantages.

    Taking out the obvious lower conferences (Sun Belt, MAC), I really don’t see how anyone can judge who is better. Ohio State and PEnn State, I argue, would destroy an SEC or Pac10 team in the cold in early December. I think a team from the WAC or MWC or Pac10 team would do MUCH better at a neutral site on the west coast against SEC/ACC than if they played at a neutral site on the east coast.

    You have great teams, this year Florida, Oklahoma St, USC and Texas. The rest of the teams are what I would refer to as teams “designed for specific mathups.”

    As for your point about the Big East coming back. I don’t think it was ever gone. Syracuse got away from playing Big East football…that is…the ability to run, run, run. You can’t win conference games in the Big East if you can’t run. In other words, I think Mike Leach should avoid the Big East.

    Comment by Bill — January 4, 2009 @ 1:49 am | Reply

  2. I think looking at bowl games as a metric for how good a conference is, is a farce. There are 68 bowl teams this upcoming season. 68!! How is that the nation’s elite teams. In my opinion, looking at BCS only is a true measurement of how good a conference is, and the Big East is 6-5 all time in the BCS with ZERO at-large bids won. That sucks.

    I actually just posted an article about the Big East on my website The Sports Debates. We had a debate about whether the Big East should still be eligible to receive an automatic bid to the BCS. I’m curious to get your thoughts on that. Check if out if you’re interested.

    Comment by Sports Geek — July 15, 2009 @ 11:20 am | Reply

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