Now that the 2012 Big East football schedules have been released, it's time for the yearly look ahead to the most shameful, most embarrassing and most cupcake-y non-conference games that the eight schools were able to load up with.
There's a lot of choices this year, though this time it's not entirely the fault of the school doing the scheduling. Blame TCU and West Virginia for packing up and taking two Big East conference games with them, leaving the rest of us to fill the void with whatever we could find.
This year we actually don't have that many games to be embarrassed about. Which is surprising cause, you know, we're the Big East.
Jeff Sagarin put together an end of the season rating that combined every team from the FBS and FCS levels. Tulane ended the season ranked 171 in those rankings. There are not 171 teams in the FBS level, which means there a lot of FCS schools considered better than the 2-11 Green Wave last year. Of course, they gave Syracuse a run for their money when the Orange visited New Orleans, so, anything's possible.
9. Stony Brook Seawolves at Syracuse Orange (Sept. 15)
Of all the FCS teams on this list, you wouldn't expect Stony Brook to be the best one. And yet, the Seawolves are coming off a 9-4 season that took them to the 2nd round of the playoffs. They played UTEP close (31-24) and Buffalo not so close (31-7) in their FBS forays last year. Not bad for a school that didn't play a FBS opponent until 2010.
8. Youngstown State Penguins at Pittsburgh Panthers (Sept. 1)
Traditionally, this would be a scary FCS team on your schedule. However, this ain't Jim Tressel's YSU. Two years removed from a 3-8 finish, the team is coming off a respectable 6-5 finish last year, which included a 28-6 loss to Michigan State.
7. UMass Minutemen at Connecticut Huskies (Aug. 30)
UMass will join the FBS next season as a member of the MAC Conference. It's a move that UConn remembers making as a former FCS school as well. The Minutemen will need to step it up if they want to be competitive. As-is, they're coming off of 5-6, 6-5 and 5-6 seasons in their last three. Plus, they lost 45-17 to a not-that-good Boston College squad last year.
6. Tennessee-Chattanooga Mocs at South Florida Bulls (Sept 1)
The Moccasins are the model of consistent mediocrity in FCS play. They went 5-6 last year, 6-5 the year before and 6-5 the year before that. They're also consistent at getting beaten up good by FBS squads. Last year it was Nebraska (40-7) and the year before it was Auburn (62-24).
5. Howard Bison at Rutgers Scarlet Knights (Sept. 8)
The Bison are coming off a 5-6 season, which is a marked improvement from a 1-10 2010 campaign and a 2-9 2009 campaign. Their lone FBS game last season was against Eastern Michigan and they lost 41-9.
4. Missouri State Bears at Louisville Cardinals (Sept. 8)
The Bears went 6-5 two years ago but have regressed and finished last year at 2-9. They didn't do themselves any favors by scheduling Arkansas (51-7) and Oregon (56-7). I suppose in that sense Louisville looks like an easy opponent.
3. Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs at Pittsburgh Panthers (Sept. 22)
While they have a fantastic name and nickname, Webb doesn't have a fantastic record in recent years. They've gone 4-7 the last two seasons and lost big to FBS opponents, including Wake Forest (48-5) and Ohio (30-3). However, they did beat a FBS team in 2010, though it's worth noting that Akron was supremely awful.
2. Fordham Rams at Cincinnati Bearcats (Oct. 13)
After three consecutive 5-6 seasons, the Rams changed it up last year. However, that change up landed them at 1-10. That includes a 35-3 loss to a middling UConn team. Not that impressive.
1. Delaware State Hornets at Cincinnati Bearcats (Sept. 15)
Remember those Sagarin Rankings I mentioned at the beginning? There's 246 teams in there and Delaware State is ranked 240th. They've gone 3-8 the last two seasons and haven't played a FBS team since Michigan decimated them 63-6 in 2009. When Cincinnati goes cupcake, they sure do make sure to get the tastiest ones.