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Big East Football 2010: Stay East Or Stay Home

If the Big East Conference has learned anything in this young football season, it's that parity might be great for a wide-open conference race but that means crap-all when it comes to competing nationally. As a whole, the conference has done nothing but reinforce its reputation as a BCS bottom-feeder, the worst part of which has been watching the allegedly top-tier teams lose to non-BCS programs as part of this. 

Yes, Utah is a tough place to play but watching the conference's "best" team lose to a MWC program sends a horrible statement.  Cincinnati's loss to the WAC's Fresno State wasn't much better.

As for Syracuse traveling to Washington, that outcome might have been expected but on the heels of their conference brethern's lack of success it just adds to the pile.

The Big East has yet to beat a team from a BCS conference.  The Big East is 3-6 against FBS teams and those wins are over Akron, Marshall and FIU.  And two of those wins were nail-biters.  We're heading into Week 3 and Syracuse has the most impressive win so far this season for the Big East...that's ridiculous.

As Brian Bennett explains, the conference is in tough spot trying to avoid these kinds of situations:

In general, Big East schools don't have large stadiums or deep pockets. They can't always afford to write big checks for the so-called guarantee games, which are getting more and more expensive. Cincinnati would have loved to buy out of the Fresno State game and allow Butch Jones a better way to begin his coaching tenure than traveling all the way across the country. But the strapped athletic department couldn't afford it.

What does it say of the state of the Big East when our two-time defending champion, who has played in two-straight BCS games, is cash-strapped?

You want to know why the Big East wants Villanova so bad?  So it can cut it's non-conference schedule from five games to four.  It doesn't sound like much but it makes a difference. If you can limit your non-conference opponents to one big program, two middle-of-the-roads and a local cupcake, you cut down on the chance of having to travel 2,000 miles to get your butt kicked. 

There's a lot more to it than just adding a ninth member but the Big East is in rough shape. The good news for Syracuse fans is that there isn't a team in this conference that we're afraid of. SU couldn't ask for a better short-term situation as it tries to climb from the basement back to respectability. Unfortunately, what's great for SU is terrible for the reputation of the conference as a whole. Then again, maybe we won't have to worry about that for too much longer.