7/22 Roundtable - 5 Thoughts On The Big East
USF QB Matt Grothe
USF QB Matt Grothe
Posted Jul 21, 2009

7/22 Roundtable - Five thoughts on the upcoming Big East season. It's the Wednesday topic in the CFN Daily Roundtable Discussion.

CFN Daily Roundtables

July 22

5 Thoughts on the Big East.

Over the next several weeks, as part of the CFN 2009 Preview, we'll examine some of the key questions going into the year with a daily discussion of the big topics.

Past Roundtables
7/21 5 Thoughts on the M-West
7/20 5 Thoughts on the SEC

7/16 5 Thoughts on the ACC
7/15 5 Thoughts on the WAC
7/14 5 Thoughts on the Sun Belt

7/13 5 Thoughts on the Big 12
7/10 M-West & the BCS
7/9 Guilty Pleasures
7/8 OU or OSU - Biggest BCS Bust
7/7 5th BCS Game
7/4 Should the SEC get a BCS break?
7/3 There should be a playoff
7/2 There shouldn't be a playoff
7/1 The unbreakable record
6/30 BCS on ESPN
6/29 Best non-BCS program
6/26 Rule changes
6/25 Why does the Big 10 stink?
6/24 Top 3 non-conference games
6/23 Coach on the hot seat
6/22 The No. 5 team is ...
6/19 Most underrated teams
6/18 Most overrated teams
6/17 BCS title sleeper
6/16 Do 40 times matter?
6/15 Is a Rooney Rule needed?
6/12 Should Bama vacate wins?
6/11 Should players be paid?
6/10 Recruiting hype
6/9 Your No. 1 draft pick
6/8 Where would you coach?
6/5 Who does the least with the most?
6/4 Who does the most with the least?
6/3 Sept. star players
6/2 Who'll generate early buzz?
6/1 The one coach you'd want
5/29 Tebow, McCoy, or Bradford?
5/28 Should the Big Ten expand?
5/27 Should the Pac 10 expand?
5/26 Chizik, Kiffin, or Mullen?
5/24 Heisman sleepers
5/22 Most interesting teams
5/21 Is Tebow the best ever?
5/20 When should polls come out?
5/19 The M-West & the BCS, Part 1
5/18 BCS or bust for Weis

Pete Fiutak, CFN

Yes, I'm part of the problem. You can check me out at twitter.com/CFN_Fiu and find out future roundtable topics and other random musings.

Q: 5 Thoughts on the Big East.

In the ongoing discussion of the top conferences, and which BCS conferences are best, the Big East always seems to come in last. Not only is the league No. 6 in the pecking order, but there are some who put it seventh behind the Mountain West. However, it would be cool if the the Big East put the system to the test and made everyone reevaluate the state of the current BCS format.

In 2006, Louisville would've played for the national title if it didn't lose a 28-25 heartbreaker at Rutgers, but instead it was Florida who got to go to Glendale to beat up Ohio State. The Big East had a chance to put the pressure on the BCS and be in the big show, but didn't.

Just two years ago, West Virginia was in. All the Mountaineers had to do was beat a mediocre Pitt team at home and they'd have been in the 2008 BCS Championship against Ohio State, while LSU would've sat at home and watched. A 13-9 Panther win later, and the Big East missed out on a chance to take home a national title. But at least the shot was there, even though West Virginia already had a loss.

The real test for the league will be to see if it can get the nod for the national championship over one of the other BCS leagues when things aren't quite equal. What happens if one spot is available (after a shoo-in like an unbeaten USC or Texas is obviously in) and it comes down to a 12-1 SEC champion Florida and a 12-0 West Virginia? A lot of it would depend on the Florida loss, but if it's a close one at LSU, and the Gators beat the Tigers in a rematch in the SEC title game, then who'll get the benefit of the doubt? Will the Big East get enough love to get a shot at the title? It's up to a Big East team to put the system to the test.

West Virginia should be the league's best team this year, and with non-conference games against Auburn and Colorado, it'll have earned its stripes if it can go unbeaten. And while the rest of the conference will be better than it'll get credit for, even though most of the top contenders are rebuilding, it'll all come down to non-conference play.

Few conferences play as many decent non-conference games against the Big East, with South Florida facing Miami and Florida State, Cincinnati playing North Carolina, Cincinnati playing Illinois and Oregon State, Pitt facing Notre Dame, and it goes on and on. The best way to generate a conference buzz is by winning games like those, and to have at least one team that captures the national attention. Two would be even better, like South Florida and West Virginia were able to do two years ago.

Richard Cirminiello, CFN

Q: 5 Thoughts on the Big East.

Rutgers might be a retooled passing game away from its first league title and BCS bowl appearance.

As West Virginia continues to settle back to the pack in a post-Pat White, post-Rich Rod world, everyone, save for Louisville and Syracuse, has a legitimate shot to finish the season in the Orange Bowl. That’ll include the Scarlet Knights, provided they can find suitable replacements for QB Mike Teel and his top two targets, Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood. The big question is at quarterback, where a pair of seniors, Domenic Natale and Jabu Lovelace, is trying to become more than just footnotes in the school history books.

The passing game aside, Rutgers has few serious holes and a schedule that’s tailor-made for 10 wins. The offensive line, led by future pros Anthony Davis and Kevin Haslam, will be opening holes for a ground game that welcomes back last year’s top four rushers and has come a long way since the Ray Rice left for Baltimore.  The defense has an all-star at each level, meaning it’ll once again be plenty stout enough, especially in a league that’s painfully short on playmakers. And, oh, that schedule. Howard, Florida International, Texas Southern, and Army comprise four-fifths of the non-conference slate, and Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, South Florida, and West Virginia must all travel to Piscataway. The only rugged Big East road game takes place at Connecticut on Halloween. That means there’ll be plenty of time to gain confidence and build some rhythm in that passing attack.

Is Rutgers a budding top 15 team? Nope. Do the Knights have a legitimate shot to cop one of this year’s 10 marquee bowl bids? In this system, you bet.

Matthew Zemek, CFN

Q: 5 Thoughts on the Big East.

: Matt Grothe, you have one final shot at a Big East title. Can you and your team remain focused and on-task throughout the second half of a season for once? Ball’s in your court down there in Tampa.

Hunter Ansley, Publisher, DraftZoo.com

Q: 5 Thoughts on the Big East.

A: Here’s a surprise:  The conference is wide open yet again.  Perhaps even more so than years past.

Cincinnati took the league crown last season, and they return a steady quarterback with the ability to put points on the board.  But they’ve also got only one defensive starter returning, and a complete lack of a running game.  South Florida has been on the cusp of greatness for a few years now, but hasn’t been able to take the next step.  Matt Grothe is back at QB, where he’ll have to cut down on the turnovers, and George Selvie is back at defensive end, but he’s coming off of a dismal season and must get better at beating the double teams he’ll face.

Pittsburgh has been recruiting like crazy lately, but they just lost pretty much their entire offense when LeSean McCoy and Larod Stephens-Howling left the campus.  Bill Stull has shown no signs of carrying this team on his own.  West Virginia just lost the only QB in the history of the game to win four bowl games.  Louisville hasn’t been nearly the same since Bobby Petrino left, and there are questions at quarterback; not a good thing in Steve Kragthorpe’s offense. 

Connecticut’s in the same boat as Pitt.  Donald Brown left and so did marginally productive quarterback Tyler Lorenzen.  Not to mention the fact that Randy Edsall’s defense lost Cody Brown.  Rutgers is a serious contender because of a great defense led by the highly underrated Ryan D’Imperio at linebacker, but again the offense took some major hits now that Kenny Britt, Tiquan Underwood and Mike Teel are all in the NFL.  And finally, Syracuse is nowhere close to being ready to move up in the Big East world.  I know, it’s surprising considering they signed a backup basketball player to play QB.

So, who’s going to win the league in 2009?  Pretty much anyone, outside of the Orange, can become the next team to face the ACC in a bowl.  There’s just no clear favorite.

Jon Miller, Publisher, HawkeyeNation.com

Q: 5 Thoughts on the Big East.