Syracuse might not have been bowling this season...again...but many of our Big East brethren represented us in the post-season. How'd they do?
Bowl: The Beef Bowl (St. Petersburg Bowl) vs. Central Florida
Outcome: Rutgers 45, UCF 24
Analysis:Rutgers took care of business in the strictest sense. They were playing a team they should have defeated by 21 and they did. The Scarlet Knights defense held UCF to 35 yards rushing on 30 carries and recording 6 sacks on the night.
Bowl: Meineke Car Care Bowl vs. North Carolina
Outcome: Pitt 19, UNC 17
Analysis: Dion Lewis rushed for 159 yards and a touchdown but it almost wasn't good enough. The Panthers needed a a 33-yard field goal with 52 seconds left to ice the win. Pitt can be forgiven somewhat considering this was an extended home game for the Tar Heels but they probably should have won by a little bit more.
Team: West Virginia
Bowl: Gator Bowl vs. Florida State
Outcome: FSU 33, West Virginia 21
Analysis: REALLY, West Virginia? Seriously? Florida State was 6-6 this year. They didn't even deserve to be in this game, let alone beat you. Jarrett Brown got injured but that's still no excuse. Bad loss against a mediocre team. And an ACC one, no less.
Grade: D -
Bowl: Sugar Bowl vs. Florida
Outcome: Florida 51, Cincy 24
Analysis: Yiiiiiiiikes. And anyone who watched can tell you it wasn't even that close. I mean, I think most people expected Florida to win this game, but, Jesus H. Christ. That was embarrassing. For both Cincy and the Big East. Not only did it reinforce the belief that the Big East is a little kid playing with the big boys, but it also officially created a stigma for Cincinnati as a charlatan. Say what you will about Brian Kelly but it looks like he got out at the right time. Cincy, you're banned from winning the Big East next year. Sorry. Your fault.
Team: South Florida
Bowl: International Bowl vs. Northern Illinois
Outcome: USF 27, Northern Illinois 3
Analysis: Gritty, solid win for the Bulls. They could have easily not shown up for this one or felt like this was beneath them but they came to play. Mike Ford rushed for 207 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown in the win. Would like to have seen a bigger blowout but...a good win nonetheless.
Bowl: Papajohns.com Bowl vs. South Carolina
Outcome: UConn 20, South Carolina 7
Analysis: As much as it pains me to say it, we can thank UConn to keeping the Big East somewhat respectable this bowl season. A dominating win over an SEC opponent, the Huskies also went out winners for fallen teammate Jasper Howard. The win does a lot for UConn as a program and their defense should be commended.
Overall, the Big East gets a C- for this bowl season. The lower tier all took care of business but the two teams in the most high-profile bowl games both laid an egg. No one's going to remember UConn's win a year from now except UConn fans. But everyone will remember that Cincinnati got absolutely man-handled by Florida in the Sugar Bowl in a performance reminiscent of Hawaii's when they got throttled by Georgia. Another season of trying to prove that the Big East really is a viable, national conference begins anew as we basically did nothing to absolve ourselves of that reputation.