Wednesday, August 29, 2007



The Big East bragged about having the best out of conference record last year but there might be a reason for that -- an easy schedule. Many in the conference are complaining that they do not get any respect, but they have nobody to blame but themselves.

This season, the Big East has three teams ranked in the polls (Louisville, Rutgers and West Virginia) with a fourth, South Florida, knocking on the door and for the most part, the out of conference schedules for these top teams and the rest of the league is flat out despicable. Instead of trying to prove the doubters wrong and going out there and scheduling top teams, the Big East has packed their out of conference games with cream puffs.

Each school has five games with non-conference opponents, 40 games in total against non Big East foes. Out of those 40 games, there is only one, yes one versus a team that is ranked in the preseason Coach’s Poll (South Florida @ #14 Auburn). Moreover, Big East teams play six games against non Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as DII) schools and 25 games against teams from non-BCS conferences. Every school plays at least one non Football Bowl Subdivision team except Syracuse and West Virginia, with the Orange also the only school to play as many as three games versus BCS teams.

It gets worst!

Not only are the Big East’s main out of conference games not against top BCS schools, but often they are against the worst, such as Duke and Mississippi State. The combined ‘06 record of the Big East opponents is 171-248 and that is excluding the non Football Bowl Subdivision teams, with only nine of those teams making a bowl last year.

Furthermore, not only are the teams playing easy games, but they are playing them all at home. Not one school will play more than two out of conference road games this year and Rutgers will only play one. When you compare their schedules to other conferences, it’s pretty sad.

The SEC is known for playing some soft schools but at least they have the toughest conference games to deal with. West Virginia and Louisville are trying to contend for a National Title, competing against schools like USC, Michigan and Oklahoma, who are actually going out there and playing competitive teams.

Compare West Virginia and Rutgers schedule to some other schools:

Rutgers: Buffalo, Navy, Norfolk State, Maryland, @Army
Florida St.: UAB, @Colorado, Alabama (Neutral), @Florida
West Virginia: Western Michigan, @Marshall, @Maryland, East Carolina, Miss State
Michigan: Appalachian State, Oregon, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan

West Virginia, Louisville and Rutgers are all trying to make statements this season, but it is hard to make a national impression when they have a three-game season. The future looks a little better, next year West Virginia does play Auburn and Colorado but still the schedules should be tougher. Rutgers has only three games scheduled for next year: Army, Navy and North Carolina. Hopefully, they don’t fill the open slot with the little sisters of the poor.

The Big East needs to add tougher opponents if they want to be considered a major conference. Even though they have made major strides and the depth is better with South Florida and Cincinnati making contributions, with the hope that Syracuse will be better than last year -- college football fans must take the records of Louisville, West Virginia and even Rutgers lightly when they look at the rankings.

Here is a full list of all the Big East schools out of conference schedule for 2007:

Cincinnati: SE Missouri State, Oregon State, @Miami (OH), Marshall, @ San Diego State
Connecticut: @Duke, Maine, Temple, Akron, @Virginia
Louisville: Murray State, MTSU, @Kentucky, @NC State, Utah
Pittsburgh: Eastern Michigan, Grambling State, @Michigan State, @Virginia, Navy
Rutgers: Buffalo, Navy, Norfolk State, Maryland, @Army
South Florida: Elon, @Auburn, North Carolina, @FIA, Central Florida
Syracuse: Washington, @Iowa, Illinois, @Miami (OH), Buffalo
West Virginia: Western Michigan, @Marshall, @Maryland, East Carolina, Miss State