The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


July 23, 2009

Lack of big names hurting the Big East

Let us first admit that preseason football rankings have as much to do with the future as does knocking on wood or avoiding walking under a ladder does.

Consider last year when Georgia was generally considered the nation’s top team in preseason polls but could not break the Top 10 while Utah, which only cracked the preseason Top 25 in Phil Steele’s magazine, finished No. 2 to Florida.

West Virginia, generally considered a Top 10 team, finished at No. 23 and Clemson, also generally considered a Top 10 team, could not even land among those “also receiving votes” and wound up firing coach Tommy Bowden.

Even admitting this failure of those polls to have any intrinsic value to predicting the future, they do serve one purpose and that is to crystallize the general perception of the strength of a conference in any given season.

And this year the Big East is considered to be something less than a BCS-valued conference.

There are six BCS conferences – the Atlantic Coast, the Big East, the Big 10, the Big 12, the Pac 10 and the Southeastern.

A compilation of this year’s pre-season polls shows the Big East without even one Top 25 selection.

The Big 10 has three teams in the Top 25, the Pac 10 and the ACC four teams, the SEC and the Big 12 five teams while Notre Dame, an independent, is ranked, along with non-BCS conference teams Boise State, TCU and Utah.

This is not something that the Big East can just slough off, considering there is a move afoot to alter the BCS with Sen. Orin Hatch of Utah pushing to include the Mountain West Conference. A weak Big East gives Sen. Hatch ammunition in what could wind up eventually with college football considering cutting back on the BCS power the Big East now wields.

While the Big East did do a solid job of rebuilding itself from the ashes that were left after the ACC raided the conference and stole away Virginia Tech, Miami and Boston College, each considered a valuable football commodity for a conference, things do seem to be changing.

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