2010 Spring Preview - The Big East Almost ...
Cincinnati QB Zach Collaros
Cincinnati QB Zach Collaros
Posted Mar 17, 2010

The 20 Big Questions Going Into 2010 - No. 18. What conference was THIS close to playing in three of the last four national titles? Yup, and there's a good chance it would've had at least one win in the group. This and much more in the Big East pre-spring overview.

2010 Spring Preview - No. 18
Big East - The BCS Title & The Big East

2010 Spring Preview
- 2010 Big East Spring Preview 
- 2010 Big East Player You Must Know - Connecticut RB Jordan Todman 

- No. 20 Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 1-10) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 11-20) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 21-30) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 31-40) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 41-50)  
- No. 19 2010 Spring Question ... Is this it for the Big 12? 
By Pete Fiutak

For a conference that supposedly doesn't deserve to be among the BCS leagues, at least in the minds of many fans, has sure been close to getting its chance to play for the whole ball of wax.

Want to get the debate started about the BCS and the Big East's place in it? The Big East was three plays away from having three being in three of the last four BCS Championships, and to really bend your noodle, the league probably would've won at least one of the three, probably two.

In 2006, Louisville gave up a big lead and lost to Rutgers on a last-second field goal. Had Jeremy Ito missed, or had the Cardinals not been flagged when he misfired on his first attempt, the game would've gone to overtime. Had the Cardinals won, they would've gone on to join Ohio State as one of two unbeaten teams from a BCS conference and almost certainly would've played for the national championship instead of Florida.

In 2007, West Virginia had the puck on its stick ranked No. 2 in the nation with only a lousy Pitt team to beat. The high-powered Mountaineers gained just 183 yards of total offense and star QB Pat White injured his thumb, but there was still a chance in the final moments to pull off the win. A misfired pass ended the shocker with a 13-9 Pitt win, and instead of going to play Ohio State for the national title, West Virginia went on to beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl and LSU got in the door.

And then there was last year. Few actually believed that Cincinnati was national title-good like Florida, Alabama, and Texas, but after a tremendous comeback to beat Pitt to finish 12-0, the dream was one second away from coming true. Had Colt McCoy's lazy throwaway pass on the final drive of the Big 12 Championship taken one second longer to get out of bounds, of if Hunter Lawrence's 48-yard game-winning field goal attempt gone wide, Cincinnati, who jumped TCU in the final BCS rankings, would've played Alabama for the national title.

Playing in the Big East certainly does help a great team get close to the BCS Championship, but the 2007 West Virginia and 2006 Louisville teams really were good and really would've had an honest shot to beat Ohio State. So is this a case of the league coming close, coming close, coming close, and eventually getting the break it needs to get into the title game, or will the BCS voter types have a bias against the Big East and keep it from happening?

For now, the only thing that matters is to keep cranking out good teams and hope for the best, and while there doesn't appear to be a national title-good team going into this year, Cincinnati wasn't supposed to be 12-0 good last year, either.

The Top Five Big East Players Who Need A Big Spring
1. Geno Smith, QB West Virginia
2. Zach Collaros, QB Cincinnati
3. Ryan Nassib, QB Syracuse
4. B.J. Daniels, QB South Florida
5. Kashif Moore, WR Connecticut

The Top 5 Position Concerns/Battles
1. Pitt quarterback
2. Louisville quarterback
3. Connecticut quarterback
4. South Florida defensive line
5. Rutgers offensive line

The 5 Biggest Big East Spring Storylines
1. How quickly can Charlie Strong bring back Louisville? Bobby Petrino had built the team into an athletic superpower before he left, but the cupboard is bare after the Steve Kragthorpe era. One thing is for sure, the defense will be far better under Strong.
2. Will the Jim Leavitt fiasco be a distraction for USF? Getting Skip Holtz was a coup, and the athletes are there to do big things, but the last thing the new regime needs is for the players to look back in any way considering so many new talents are playing key roles.
3. The emergence of Syracuse as something more than a doormat. The first year under Doug Marrone was about cleaning up the mess, and now he has more of his players in place to go along with the offense that he's going to be running.
4. So many quarterback questions. Six teams (everyone other than Cincinnati and Rutgers) have up-in-the-air situations either with a new starter or a quarterback controversy. No conference in the country has as many key questions at the most important position.
5. Is this the strongest the league has ever been? With Syracuse improving and Charlie Strong at Louisville, there isn't likely to be a true dog in the lot. Cincinnati, Pitt, Rutgers, and West Virginia will all be terrific, while Connecticut and South Florida have just enough going their way to be in the Big East title hunt for the entire season.

The Spring Big East Team Rankings
1. West Virginia
2. Pitt
3. Cincinnati
4. Rutgers
5. Connecticut
6. South Florida
7. Syracuse
8. Louisville

The Pre-Spring Call For Player Of the Year
1. Dion Lewis, RB Pitt
2. Noel Devine, RB West Virginia
3. Zach Collaros, QB Cincinnati
4. Greg Romeus, DE Pitt
5. Jordan Todman, RB Connecticut